Writing an animation creative brief
Whether you’re working with an agency for the first time or have a long-term relationship, every project requires a concise animation creative brief. Investing time at this stage will pay off – you’ll get the most out of your animation project and avoid wasting time and budget.
How do I write a creative brief for an animation?
Start with the basics. It might sound obvious, but exploring these elements will help you focus; it will also make the briefing process run smoothly by adding clarity for the creative team. Tell us about your business or organisation so we can get a feel for what you do and the services or products you offer.
- What is the core purpose of the animation? Is it training or education-related? Will it be used to illustrate and describe a detailed procedure? Perhaps it’s to raise the profile of an organisation or form part of a broader marketing campaign, or maybe it’s to supplement an evaluation or annual report. Think about what you want viewers to take away after watching, how should they feel, and are there specific calls to action you want them to take?
- Who is the target audience? It’s important to think about who will be watching this animation and consider their level of knowledge of the subject. A professional audience with in-depth knowledge will require a different approach from something aimed at the general public posted on social media; similarly, an educational animation aimed at primary school children will have a different tone from an annual report animation used at a conference. Will it need subtitles or multiple language voiceovers if global audiences are watching?
- Where will your animation be used, and will it serve multiple purposes? For example, you may take parts and create bite-size clips or gifs for social media or use some of the illustrations in print. It’s good to know this before the creative process begins.
- How long do you envisage your animation to last? Depending on the message and its purpose, the length will vary. We can advise you if you’re not sure, but generally speaking, we recommend a maximum of three minutes for an explainer animation. Education or training-based content may require longer, and in some cases, it might be an option to create a series of short animations that work as a suite.
- When is the deadline? The process of creating a three-minute animation usually takes around four to six weeks – depending on the scale of the project, so include the date you need your finished project when you share your brief.
With the essential points covered, let’s look at some of the details that make up the creative elements.
The script is the most important part of your animation. Even if it’s a work in progress and still needs some work, if you have a base script, it’s helpful to share it with us as part of your brief because it can help us get an overall feel for the narrative. Don’t worry if you have an idea but no script; we’re always happy to offer our script writing services to help grow and develop the idea.
Applying subtitles and using speech bubbles can effectively deliver information, but we tend to recommend the use of voiceovers for greater impact. If you decide to use a voiceover, tell us if they need to represent a regional accent? Do you have a preference on age or gender? Do you need multiple voiceovers in different languages? These will have an impact on the overall budget and also the creative process.
If you have an idea of the illustration style you’d like your animation to use – and conversely, what you don’t like, let us know (you might want to look at some of the examples in our portfolio for inspiration).
How many characters will feature in your animation? Do they need to be specific – perhaps representing a particular demographic, culture or diversity?
Will your animation be used to demonstrate a physical procedure? Good choice – animations are effective at doing this, but if possible, provide us with as much information about the procedure, so we understand it well enough to translate into visual content for your audience. If you have still (static) images as examples, they can help, but if not, sometimes a Google image search can be helpful. If you have corporate brand guidelines – colours, fonts and logos – don’t forget to share them.
How much will my animation cost? We’re often asked this question at the briefing stage, and many factors impact how much an animation will cost. If you have a budget, let us know. If not, we will work through the details of the brief and provide you with a quotation. That’s why it’s essential to get the brief right so we can provide an accurate – to avoid awkward and potentially costly conversations later in the process.
So now we’ve explained the animation creative brief process, you might be wondering what happens next? Read our blog ‘How do we bring your animations to life?
Want to find out more?
We’ve been doing this for 20 years, working with international clients including BBC, Cambridge University Press, News UK, Medical Aid Films and Friend. Your creative projects will be in good hands with Alternative View Studios.