Frame by Frame: 6 Tips for Designing GIF Animations from Penji

GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) have become a crucial form of digital communication in recent years due to their ability to convey emotions and ideas succinctly. Their importance lies in their expressiveness, as they enable users to communicate complex feelings and reactions in a concise visual format. Whether it’s a hilarious reaction, a heartfelt wish, or an advertisement, GIFs have the power to engage and entertain audiences across various digital platforms.

Our previous blog on Marketing GIFs extensively covered, why you need GIFs and where to use them. So today we’re excited to bring to you 6 tips for “designing” GIF animations. But that’s not all! We’re going to look at these tips with the use of some awesome GIF animations by Penji.

Without further ado, let’s get started with the first tip. 

Tip No. 1: Use Eye-catching Visuals

This GIF by Penji definitely makes the cut for having eye-catching visuals. Everything from the colors to the cool heavy-breathing robot, the moving shadows, and the stripe textures all make for a wholesome GIF. It also gives out a retro-style vibe.  

Having eye-catching visuals in GIFs is super important because when you’re scrolling through your social media feed or chatting with friends online, there’s so much stuff competing for your attention. So, it’s visuals like this that make you stop and look.

With GIFs being super short, they need to convey their message quickly, and those eye-catching visuals do the trick. When the visuals are eye-catching you’re more likely to remember and share that GIF with others. And this GIF by Penji certainly packs a visual punch.

So, in a nutshell, eye-catching visuals make GIF animations stand out and get people excited to share them around.

Tip No. 2: Make it a Continuous Loop

This particular GIF by Penji checks so many boxes when it comes to design and quality. But what we want to highlight in particular under this tip is the loop effect. The only animation here is the continuous movement of the vinyl record on the phonograph and we can’t help but stare at it mesmerized. 

Can you see how seamless the loop is? That’s because it has no visible start or end point. Having no visible start or end point allows a GIF to look much more professional and high-quality.

And the designer has really understood the assignment of showcasing this record of Jay T by applying the animation to only the vinyl. Overall, it’s an amazing concept that’s executed to perfection. 

These kinds of  GIF animations are also great when you want to showcase processes or if you want to create a cool hypnotizing effect. 

Bonus Tip: Accessibility

Be sure to be mindful of the kind of animations you employ on a loop. Keep light sensitivity in mind and avoid too much flashing. Especially on text. Since it can affect those with epilepsy and light sensitivity issues.

Tip No. 3: Keep it simple

This GIF animation by Penji is as simple as it gets. The main part of the text remains static and in the same color while the animation is applied to the words “Nitro”. A bit of context into this ad campaign will provide some clarity on why this makes sense. 

Acres Edge introduced a nitro version to their Toast Oatmeal Stout which was made available on St.Patrick’s Day in 2021. Thus, the emphasis on the word “Nitro” in green color. The concept is brought to life by animating only the most important part of the ad copy, while using the right colors. It’s so simple yet it accomplishes the purpose. 

Simplicity in GIF animations is important for 2 reasons. Firstly, due to their limited duration and visual space, GIFs must convey their message quickly and effectively. Simplicity helps ensure that viewers can grasp the content at a glance. 

Secondly, it enhances clarity as complex animations can be visually overwhelming and confusing. 

Bottomline, People don’t need to see everything animated in a GIF. GIFs are used for concise communication, and simplicity helps convey the intended message. Just like in the above GIF animation by Penji. 

Tip No. 4: Understand the Context

This GIF animation as you can see, gives out a good sense of professionalism and finesse. All owing to the fact that the designers at Penji have understood the context in which the design should appear. 

Certain GIF animations don’t work well for certain industries. And because this ad is for a law firm, the design, the layout, and the animations are all done to exude that feel of professionalism often associated with this kind of industry. 

Animating the landing page within a laptop is genius and it makes so much sense for a law firm advertisement. 

Customizing GIF animations to suit specific industries is essential for effective communication. Industries have unique characteristics, audiences, and messaging needs, and tailoring GIFs accordingly offers several benefits. 

Firstly, it ensures relevance by incorporating industry-specific terminology, symbols, and visual elements, aligning the content with the industry’s standards and culture.

Secondly, it helps maintain brand consistency by adhering to the company’s brand guidelines, and overall visual identity, reinforcing brand recognition and trust.

Thirdly, you don’t want to come off cheesy and attract the wrong clientele. 

Ultimately, industry-specific GIFs enhance engagement by making the content more relatable and shareable within that professional context.

Tip No. 5: Be Innovative

Community chats are very important when it comes to tracking and sharing your progress in lifestyle activities. So Penji’s designers have done some great work here for this fitness brand to showcase their community chat using a unique GIF animation.

The static image of a woman holding and checking her phone with an animated view of apparently what she’s looking at is a creative and innovative idea. And then the chat zooming in for a closer look along with an animated typing text effect makes this a very engaging GIF. It certainly gives you a better idea about the UI of the app as well as the level of interaction. 

Innovative design is always what helps brands stand out. It’s even more true when it comes to GIF animations. The same old boring text animations like fade in and fade out are overused. They’re so overused that you may even miss the chance of grabbing your audience’s attention with them. 

The competition is fierce and there are probably other brands vying for the same audience’s attention. At that time you certainly don’t want to appear obsolete. So be strategic about your marketing and design goals and make sure they extend well into your advertising. 

All in all Penji’s designers have clearly helped accomplish those goals for this brand with this innovative GIF animation.  

But what if you can’t come up with an innovative idea? What if you’re a startup and you don’t have a brand strategist and a team of creatives at your disposal who can come up with new concepts? Does that mean you shouldn’t work with GIFs?

Find out in the next tip. 

Tip No. 6: Animate the Ordinary

This GIF above is an ordinary flat illustration that has been animated by Penji and turned into an excellent GIF. From the head-bob to the swinging legs, it’s such a fun way to show someone who’s working. 

You may think that you need complex illustrations, professionally shot product images, or sophisticated design concepts if you want to design a GIF. On the contrary, you can always animate flat illustrations like this. As long as the animation is spot on like this one here by Penji, then you’re good to go. 

So, if you don’t have an elaborate idea, pick any flat illustration that you like and have a designer animate it for you. And something like this GIF animation done by Penji should be a piece of cake in Photoshop.

Let’s Recap

Using GIFs in your marketing is a vital strategy because they help you stand out as different in a competitive digital space. And there are statistics that show increased click rates, higher conversion rates, and increase in revenue when incorporating GIFs into your marketing strategies. 

And “design” plays an important role in how well your GIFs perform. 

Let’s recap what we learned so far:

Keeping these tips from Penji’s collection in mind when designing GIF animations will definitely help you catapult your brand successfully to your target audience. No matter what industry you’re in or what level of recognition you have in said industry you can always benefit from using GIF animations. 

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