You can be whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it - that’s the bottomline. But to become a motion designer, like any other role, you will need to understand what the role entails so you can work towards having the right skills.

Motion designers are definitely in demand now. In fact, it’s among the top 10 most in-demand job titles of 2023, and it was also listed as one of the top five in-demand and high-paying design roles of 2022. So, we don’t blame you on wanting to get in on the action.

But becoming a motion designer is definitely rewarding outside of just the monetary gain because it also gives you plenty of space to explore creatively. With motion design, you get to play with techniques that incorporate visual effects, animation, and watch your design come to life (literally - because it moves).

How much money does a motion designer make?

Motion designers earn up to an average of up to $77,025. More tech-specific roles tend to earn more than motion designers. In fact, UI or UX designers can earn up to 30% more than a motion designer, while product designers earn 60% more.

However, motion designers do earn more than graphic designers - upwards of roughly 40%. But of course, your salary could depend on more than just the market rate. There are other factors such as experience or qualifications that can fetch a higher pay. We’ve covered everything about motion designer salaries in our guide, How Much Does a Motion Designer Make, if you’d like to find out more.

What does a motion designer do?

A motion designer - like its name - turns static designs to life with motion. Motion designers often work with many different teams in a company from product designing, to brand and marketing. This is because the use of motion design spans throughout different digital platforms such as websites and apps, as well as marketing touchpoints like social media and digital advertising.

Motion designers must be versatile and understand the needs of various digital platforms as their work will span from creating fun posts for Instagram, right up to creating product animation for an app. This means motion designers end up working with product managers, UI and UX designers, marketers and many other team members across the board.

Assets that motion designers work on include social media posts, videos, infographics, email marketing, website landing pages and user interfaces - among many others. To learn more about motion design and its use, read our Guide to Motion Design.

Is motion design a good career path?

Overall, yes. This is because motion designers work on various assets making them very versatile in skillset. Motion designers are in demand at almost every company because their work touches upon various needs for businesses, especially tech-related companies.

Because motion designers work with different teams, they tend to pick up skills such as UI and UX design that can be added in their skillset and make them very valuable; and the more value you have, the more marketable you are. Hence, motion designers can find work in different industries, from media companies to tech firms.

As we mentioned above, motion designers are very much in demand. In the United States alone, there are over 16,000 open positions as listed by CareerFoundry. The report also mentions that motion designers are most in-demand at AI companies, the entertainment industry, startups, marketing firms, creative agencies, digital journalism organizations, e-commerce platforms, and the automotive industry.

Is motion design hard?

Nothing is hard if you’re good at it! Generally, to become a motion designer, you will need to have a strong background in graphic design, digital animation, and video production.

However, if you are just starting out, here are some basic key things to learn:

  • Graphic design

This might seem a bit obvious but you will need graphic design knowledge to become a motion designer. After all, motion design is making these designs move. Understanding the basic graphic design principles is imperative. These include alignment, balance, color, contrast, hierarchy, proximity, rhythm, and space.

  • The 12 principles of animation

Disney animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, listed down 12 basic principles of animation. Although it was originally meant for character animation, it is very much in use by motion designers today. The principles include squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, straight-ahead action and pose-to-pose, follow through and overlapping action, slow in and slow out, arc, secondary action, timing, exaggeration, solid drawing, and appeal.

  • 2D animation

Knowing the fundamentals of 2D animation, such as which elements to exaggerate or the most ideal timings to reach your audience, is important to a successful motion design.

  • 3D animation

3D elements give designs more realism and you will likely need to design 3D animation at some point as a motion designer.

  • Digital design

Motion designers design for all types of digital platforms. However, the key to a successful digital design is understanding what works on the platform itself. This is why understanding the fundamentals or concepts of digital design is crucial to ensure the motion design works.

Thus, learning about designing for platforms such as social media, website, paid ads, and email marketing span beyond just understanding what works for these platforms, but also to take note of the different guidelines motion design needs to abide by. We also suggest reading Issara Willenskomer’s manifesto on UX in motion which outlines 12 principles for UI and UX motion design.

  • Get to know motion design tools

Practice using tools such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere Pro, Cinema 4D, and Blender. These are common softwares motion designers use. You could also check out Lottie animations where you can ship animations on any platform easily - we have plugins including Adobe After Effects and Figma - this is great once you've created your first motion design and would like to try it out!

  • Practice creative thinking

Being creative is the key to standing out, but you will also need to take into account factors such as your audience. Also, make sure you’re aware of the current trends in motion design.

Create your portfolio and get hired

The best way to get hired, even if you are new to the field, is to show them what you are capable of. To do that, is to create a portfolio of your motion design work.

For new motion designers, it’s a good way to showcase your skills and capabilities. Even though you do not come from a motion designing background, you can still create motion designs as practice and show them off in your portfolio to convince potential employers that you’re pretty awesome at what you do.

Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Use the power of social media

Social media is a space to express many things - thoughts, food posts and more. But as a designer, you could also use it to showcase your work. Plus, it also supports motion design assets and is the easiest choice to go with - just upload and post.

  • Find a portfolio website

There are many portfolio websites such as Dribbble which acts like a social network for creatives - they even have a job board! But there are many others like Behance and Coroflot you can check out too.  

  • Make your own website

It’s not as daunting as it sounds. There are websites that have pre-made templates which you can edit with zero to little coding. These include Dunked, Carbonmade, and Adobe Portfolio. Check out this list on 12 Best Portfolio Websites to Showcase Their Work.

Remember, make sure to add in a link to your portfolio, or your social media handle (if that’s where your portfolio is) in your resume or curriculum vitae. This gives potential employers an insight into your capabilities and skills before they even meet you.

If you’re stuck on what to include in your portfolio, we have rounded up 12 Examples of Animated Portfolios that Use Lottie Animations that are perfect for inspiration.

Boost your credibility

While having a portfolio is one way to get your foot in the door, having your skills backed up by certifications and qualifications can be a big career boost. This shows your drive in becoming a motion designer, while also giving your potential employer an extra boost of confidence in your skills.

It doesn’t mean that you will have to head back to a university campus - thanks to the world wide web, we now have online access to learning platforms that offer certifications after taking a short course. Here are some platforms to check out:

The name says it all - it’s all about motion design! You can learn everything about motion design here including design, 2D animation, and 3D animation. You can connect with other students, while also practicing with exercises and project files for every lesson.

Plus, you get a verified credential once you complete at least 70% of your work in a course - something that you can add to your resume. However, this is a paid platform with long-term courses as long as 12 weeks.

Udemy has plenty of motion design courses that are short and affordable. You will receive a certificate of completion with each course, which you can add onto your portfolio or resume.

LinkedIn also has motion design courses for beginners to intermediate learners. At the end of it, you will earn a certificate of completion that will be added into your LinkedIn profile.

Get noticed and share your work with LottieFiles

To become a great motion designer is to learn and practice, practice, practice!

So, if you are making your own assets, why not share them with us? If you have at least five public animations in your LottieFiles account, you can start selling them on the LottieFiles Marketplace.

Plus, we have a “Hire Me” option where people can get in touch with you for paid projects or roles. You could also contribute to IconScout and enjoy some of the highest payouts in the industry.

Now, go on and start making your way to a career in motion design!