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The Explainer Animation…explained

The Explainer Animation…explained

Ah, the Explainer Animation. It’s one of those useful internet tools that almost everyone has experienced at some point. 

Whether you’re purchasing a product, exploring a new hobby or trying to make sense of Cryptocurrency/Brexit/Covid (delete as appropriate), there’ll always be an explainer video to help make the decision simple. 

In essence, explainer animations must educate the viewer, and empower them to make an informed decision about the subject. Our job as an animation agency is to utilise the power of simple animation to explain complex information. 

But, at the heart of a good explainer video is not just the animation style, but the science of consumer psychology! Let’s take a look…


To keep viewers interested, we have to take them on a journey. The best way to do that is through a story

Most explainer videos build a strong narrative with the help of a relatable character, or a voice over that invites the viewer along. The story tends to follow the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action). 

Awareness: The video makes the viewer aware of a problematic, and relatable situation. 

Interest: This piques the interest of the viewer; the content is relevant to them. 

Desire: The animation then poses a solution to the problem, along with some additional benefits. The viewer now wants to experience this for themselves. 

Action: Finally, the animation gives the viewer the opportunity to obtain the solution with a call to action, and relevant sales information. 

Explainer Animation Design

Are you an astronaut? I’m guessing not, but will you watch 4 minutes of animation explaining Space Sex? I think you will…

A narrative is a great tool when trying to sell something, but sometimes, it’s just about explaining complex information. The visual design and style of a good animation is key to engaging those viewers who may have less stake in what is being demonstrated. 

This is where a great animation agency is key. Ideally, you want to work with an agency that can propose a creative concept behind the narrative, and couple that with original design. 

Scripting Your Explainer Animation

You could completely nail the two points above, but if the viewer is left without understanding the topic – then you’ve still failed. 

Scripting is perhaps the most important element of the animation. In this instance, I use scripting to refer to both the narration, and the visual storyboard. 

The narration itself must use clear and simple language, and be able to define complex terminology or jargon. The visuals can also support the narration by providing a visual representation of what is being described.

As a rule, we calculate the readability of our scripts using the Flesch Reading Ease Calculator. This calculator can tell you how understandable your script is for the average reader, and you want to aim for a score of 70+.

Finally, As an experienced animation agency, we highly recommend the use of metaphors to make abstract information relatable. An effective metaphor with some simple supporting visuals is a powerful tool for reducing complex concepts to understandable, everyday examples. 

Final Thoughts

At its core, the craft of an effective explainer animation is the use of psychological cues and clear language. As an animation agency, we ensure our explainers have a story at their heart, scripted around the consumer and cognitive psychology we discussed above. Every animation is different, and our designers work hand in hand with brands to develop an original style that matches the tone and personality of the company.