Motion Design: 6 career-building tips
Issue: September/October 2021

Motion Design: 6 career-building tips

Victoria Nece, product manager for Adobe After Effects, recently put together a number of tips that can help graphic designers, illustrators and creatives build on their existing skills and level up to a career in motion design. The motion design market is expected to grow 11 percent between 2019 to 2025, which may lead to a meaningful increase in career opportunities. Here are Victoria’s top six tips:
1 - Start simple 
Working in professional programs like After Effects can seem like they require a steep learning curve, but each individual coming from design or video backgrounds will already have a unique and valuable set of applicable skills to build from (and, if you’re already using Photoshop, Premiere or Illustrator, you’re already halfway there with After Effects!). As you start your journey into motion design, focus your first ventures on simple projects that you can master, such as a moving poster for a film or band. Creating opportunities for success in the app early on will help build up your confidence, which is an incredibly important “secret weapon” to have when beginning a new creative venture.
2 -  Fortify your artistic foundation  
Motion design is governed by principles of animation. Rather than sticking to traditions, these foundational elements can help guide and inform new and novel applications of motion design. There are robust online resources from places like School of Motion that are invaluable to our industry. 
3 - Center creativity and inspiration
Successful motion designers strike a balance between technical mastery and creative ingenuity, so don’t downplay the need to take time and seek out inspiration. So much motion design work begins as a blank canvas. Clients may not have a clear vision, and you will need to establish the creative viewpoint. The real world is a treasure trove of different modes of natural motion - the different ways that people walk, how the leaves move on a windy day, or a squirrel bounding across a busy street can all provide easy-to-access inspiration. 
4 - Misuse your tools
Think past what something is used for and find new techniques to experiment with to create new and novel applications. This curiosity and desire to experiment is a necessary skill in a fast-moving artistic industry like motion design. 
5 - Expect fluidity
A career in motion design typically doesn’t lie on a linear path. Most motion designers start as illustrators, editors, animators, UX designers and other disciplines, with opportunities at agencies, in-house, as a freelancer or starting your own studio. 
6 - Grow your network
Connect with artists across disciplines and cement a few solid contacts. Motion design is still somewhat small scale, and networking will bring the benefit of potential jobs and to expand your creative perspectives. 
Victoria Nece was a motion designer for 10 years in New York, where she worked on prestigious documentaries, after coming from a hybrid discipline of animation and journalism, which she studied at NYU).