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)

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