Creative Strategy in Animation: Part 3 – Using a Strategy

August 29, 2017

Strategy can be used as a great framework for all kinds of production, including animation. This framework acts as a guide to answer questions about how you should make any 1 thing look or feel throughout the process.

So, In the final part of this series on using strategy for animation, I’m going to talk about how exactly to use a strategy to create meaningful and effective results for your client.

After watching the first 2 parts of this series, you know WHY strategy is important, how to create a strategy and now we’re going to talk about HOW to use it.

All decisions, no matter how big or small should reflect the strategy. Remember, the strategy is like a guide to answer all your questions. The best part about this is that is sort of eliminates the scary “blank page” that artists commonly fear, and it gives a framework to create within.

Going through each step of the process, I’ll explain how you can use strategy to make your work not only better, but more effective for your clients.


When creating a story or script for your animation, you can use your strategy in a lot of different ways. By first using the information collected about the audience you can understand who you’re speaking to. You shouldn’t talk to a 21 year old guy from California the same way you’d to a 65 year old woman living in Florida. They think differently, they have different needs, wants, inspirations and aspirations. The more focused an audience is, the better the message can really connect with them.

The project should start with a single goal that’s included in your strategy, so make sure whatever the story is about, it relates to getting that target audience to take an action that matches that goal.

Art Direction

Styles, tastes and visual preferences are completely different based on all audiences. While you want to make sure you’re always staying on brand, you also want to make sure you’re using the strategy to determine the best choices for all visual components. Let’s think again about the 21 year old and the 65 year old. The 21 year old may prefer trendy colors and cool type while the 65 year old may prefer simple colors with font big enough for them to read. That’s not actual research, but just an example of how your art direction can be created with the help of your strategy.

You can even go as far as character proportions in your design here. The 3 head tall character will be more playful and childlike while a 8 head tall character would feel much more grown up and more relatable to an older audience.


Think of each animation principle as a slider. On one end of the spectrum is funny or silly, while the other side is serious or mechanical. It’s a good idea figure out where the brand, the audience and the goal fit on this spectrum for each principle before doing any animation. When animation begins, you’d then just constantly look at those sliders for reference.


Now, where does the animation go when it’s all done? The answer to that is in the strategy. A lot of people simply hand over a video file and say “good luck”, however if you use a strategy to make all your decisions, you’ll be able to help your client find the best place to show it off. Again, using the 21 and 65 year old. You have to ask the question of how to best reach them, is it Facebook? A digital billboard? Television? Email? Or some other way?

There’s a number of great side effects to using strategy with animation, but here’s 3 of my favorites.

  1. You’ll have a purpose for all your decisions, client’s will rarely suggest unnecessary changes. If they do, you can provide a reason for making a specific decision and they’ll likely see you’ve put much more thought into the details than they would have.
  2. You’ll find that you’re doing some of the best work you’ve ever done visually and can do it faster than normal since you’re using framework that gets you farther along in your creative process.
  3. You’re clients will love you even more because you’re work will be more effective in reaching their goals and they’ll ask you to create more work for them in the future.

So, there it is, I hope you enjoyed this series on strategy. Check back next week for the next episode of The Zwelly Show.

Watch Part 1 – Watch Part 2

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