Motion Design: Beyond The Screen

When people hear the term “Motion Design,” they usually equate it with “Motion Graphics Design,” which Wikipedia defines as “a subset of graphic design that uses graphic design principles in a filmmaking or video production context through the use of animation or filmic techniques”. This definition is very specific and confines the medium of motion to graphic design and film production. Motion Design, rather, is a broader context that includes the design of any object or system that changes over time. It includes different design types such as industrial design, user experience design, and even service design.

This post will dig into the broader context of motion, and break it down into how motion is used in interaction design across many forms of media.

The Medium


Motion Design occurs everywhere and through all sorts of media. A medium by definition is a particular form or system of communication. Examples include the software and apps we interact with, the physical products that we use, and the services we experience. In order to understand motion in context, let’s look at an implementation of each of these media.


Let’s start with the screen. The screen is a medium of the digital age from televisions, to car dashboards. The screen itself for the most part doesn’t move, but the information presented on the screen does, in order to interact the state of the screen changes. Within software, motion is created through animation on a screen, the successive images that create the illusion of motion. As you can see above, software utilizes animation to create seamless transitions between states.


In the physical product realm, movement is seen through changing components. For example, the user experiences variety, movement, and timing through the opening and closing of the elevator doors. (see above)

Continue Reading Motion Design: Beyond The Screen.

Designing Motion Experiences

Over the next three blog posts I will be writing about motion design within interaction through: understanding, designing, and creating animations. Interaction design is about creating the experience behind a product. Motion Design is about communication through storytelling and aesthetics. So where do they overlap and how do they interact?



Interaction design and motion design converse through thinking in “time” to benefit the overall user experience. Motion Design helps enhance communication throughout the design thinking process from the rapid prototyping of scenarios and interfaces to final coded interface animations. Motion is a fundamental element of user experience design because its the emotional reaction and vitality of the product. It gives non verbal communication to the user; it is the body language of a product.


These 3 products have the same layout, visual style, and are starting and ending on the same states, but they all feel different. Motion design is making the difference. Its through motion where you can influence the overall brand experience of a product, to set it apart from the market. Motion can make complex interactions simple and turn good designs into memorable user experiences. I believe its important to prototype motion as soon as possible, whether it be through the storytelling of a service or the interactions on screens. By prototyping motion through coding, after effects, service role play, however; you can add to the quality of experience by thinking within time and not static materials. Overall interactions aren’t static so why are we designing through static mediums?

See Designing Motion Experiences on Medium