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6 things we learned about animation

about animation

Animation became a thing since Walt’s Disney very beginning. We use it as a tool to create delight and wonder in audiences. But, recently, animations developed into a critical tool for the digital area, meant not only to amaze, but also to engage the user, helping him navigate fortuitously. Good animation makes your product more memorable and intuitive with the mimic of our real world experiences.

We’ve learned a lot about motion from our virtual friends, Inside Design, and from their freshly released book, Animation Handbook, a new addition to the Design Better library. You will find insights to help you create exceptional customer experiences.

A summary of the book:

  • a tested framework that helps us understand why motion is important and how to implement it
  • real life examples of motion design
  • relevant principles to keep animation helpful
  • best practices adding motion design into your daily workflow

Watch the book trailer for Animation Handbook

Before diving into the Animation Handbook, here are some key principles to read on your way to the office.


Principle no. 1: The classic “show, don’t tell”

about animation

Animations capture emotions, whether is the swipe left/right gestural animation of Tinder or the Headspace’s interface. Motion also catches the eye, focusing the attention where it’s needed, in a way that shows you what you can buy, rather than telling.

“Transforming technical tools into
extensions of our minds.” 

Read more about this in Handbook’s chapter 1.


Principle no. 2: The 7 basics

There are always some basics, so you better keep those in mind before creating a motion. You need timing, pacing, staging, follow-through, secondary action, overlapping action and appeal. Those stand up since the very first animation because they represent the key to a successful interaction.

about animation

Same principles are applied to motion in digital products. Even though users are not aware of them, their lack of presence is going to be unusual.


Principle no. 3: Human is engaging

about animation

We already mentioned that appealing is a core principle. Remember cartoons you used to watch on TV? From Mickey Mouse to Sponge Bob, they all share human characteristics. Of course, they are all exaggerated: geometrical bodies, giant eyes, long noses or floppy ears.

“The more polish and personality we infuse, the more we see people responding on those qualitative metrics.” Vicki Tan, Headspace

Read all about it on chapter 2.


Principle no. 4: Include animations early in the project

It’s really important to include motion right from the start. Otherwise, as an afterthought, it will become tough to include it.

“A lot of the time in animation is spent getting the story right – that’s something you can’t rush.” – Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Including animation early in the process has the advantage of crafting it to perfection. It is also easier to understand changes of the project and adapting to them.


Principle no. 5: Scale with design systems

about animation

Luckily, you don’t have to duplicate your work now, there are so many design systems meant to help you and to reduce your effort, that it’s becoming more appealing also for you to create something amazing.

“What I love most about animation is, it’s a team sport, and everything we do is about pure imagination.” – Jeffrey Katzenberg

You’ll find more about how using motion can help you scale the power of animation in the Handbook.


Principle no. 6: Trust and consistency

Consistency of a product is the key to a better user experience. Being consistent with animations helps your target understand and stick to the principles of your interface.

Use all those principles and you’ll make your interactive experience more natural and catchy. Once you’ve read this article, you’re ready to rock the motion world. One final quote to help you build strong and reliable brands:

“Animation is imagination.”

Read about Muzli’s cool inspiration search.

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