Professional Foundation
Professional Foundation
Professional Foundation

How to Become a Motion Designer | 5 Essential Tips

Stephanie Garville & Zoe Weldon, Created

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. No, not literally. No elephants were harmed in the writing of this blog.

The fact is, it’s actually pretty hard to sum up what a motion designer is or does. And no wonder, when motion is more vibrant and in demand than ever!

But, right here and now, you can learn: 5 ways to become a motion designer. Which is a damn good way to start.

1. Ramp up the research

As any builder will tell you, to be successful you’ve got to start with a good foundation. We’re not talking cosmetics here though.

Motion is a thriving, fast-paced area of design, remember? So you need to keep your finger firmly on the pulse. Get a head start by following studios doing work you love and designers with dynamic portfolios to learn from.

Not sure where to start?. Check out our pick of top motion design studios and motion designers working in the industry now.

Once you’ve seen what’s out there, you can also start thinking about which bits of motion float your boat. Are you a gaming geek? An advertising aficionado? A TV devotee? You won’t need to specialise when you’re starting out, but knowing where you want to go is always a good plan.

2. Hit the books 

If academia is your vibe, you can totally do a design course at college or uni. You’ll get a lot of info, structure and lectures on the theory of motion and its place in design as a whole.

However…Call us biased if you like: this isn’t our favourite option. Uni courses tend to be heavy on the lectures and essays, but not so great on the practical, professional and personal development stuff. You might even need to do extra training afterwards, as uni courses can’t keep up with how fast design tech evolves.

Plus, all the eye-watering debt and those loooong years to get qualified leave us shuddering.

3. Get obsessed 

Lots of the top motion designers out there have taught themselves the tricks of the trade. Fuelled by passion and Red Bull, they’ve spent hours poring over YouTube tutorials and experimenting with animation, racking up some serious skills in the process.

There’s masses of info out there to help you understand the ins and outs of After Effects and C4D (the top motion design software) in the form of video walkthroughs, communities, subscriptions and events. Our favourites? Try and to get you started.

It’s not an option for the undisciplined though. To take this DIY route, you’ve got to be super proactive and self-motivated.

4. Learn on the job

Applying for running roles is a sure-fire ticket to the fastlane of industry design work. You can gain experience, connections and get to know motion from the inside.

If you’re still studying, or want to get your foot in the door of your first ever role, don’t rule out an internship. These roles are great if you’re interested in getting into the world of film and VFX.

They can be hard to come by though, so jump on them when you can, as they often lead to junior design roles.

5. Fastrack it

Let’s face it. Uni is slow, entry-level jobs don’t pay well and YouTube tutorials can’t develop your professional or personal development skills.

What you need is a shortcut to a real career in motion design. That’s where we come in.

Our courses are tailor-made for wannabe industry-ready designers. Pick the route that fits you with Motion Design Foundation (3 months) or Motion Design Professional (9 months). Faster and cheaper than university, packed full of industry advice and professional practise: it’s the perfect way to get your portfolio and skills up to scratch in a flash.

Both courses are designed to get you ahead. Why does it work? Because we’ve asked studios like Framestore (if you’ve not heard of them, think the VFX wizzes behind Marvel, Harry Potter and Disney) to tell us what they’re looking for.

Who knows? It could be you one day.

Related resources

How I Got Here: George Dyson

In episode 3 of our How I Got Here podcast series, we chat to Motion Designer George Dyson about his career journey.