What Styles of Animation are Out there?


If you’ve ever watched an animated movie or kid’s cartoon, chances are good that you have a basic understanding of what animation is, and how it can be used to create anything from a 6-second Vine video to a full-length feature film.

But did you know that along with being a popular medium for movies and TV shows, animation can serve as a powerful tool for small businesses and marketers who want to create entertaining, engaging content that speaks directly to their target audience?

Animation can be used for everything from explainer videos to product promotions, transforming complex, technical information into high-quality animated videos that capture and communicate your message in ways that simply aren’t possible with live footage.

Of course, when producing an animation video for your organization, it’s important to match the right style of animation with both your branding and your intended market.

Here’s a quick rundown of the top four animation styles that we produce here at Lumeo

Photography/Video Based

Also referred to as a cinemagraph, this style of animation brings static images like photographs, slides and infographics to life by blending them with live-action clips, music and voice-overs.

The result is an engaging, seamless video that can be jam-packed with highly technical information, making this type of animation video ideal for delivering a lot of visual material in a compact, sharable package.

Ideal applications for this type of animated video include annual reports that blend graphs and pie charts with live-action explanations, and presentations that involve lots of still images, such as timeline-based content.

The drawback of photography-based animated video production is that the quality of the finished product is dependent upon the quality of the still images – if you don’t have great pics and graphics, you won’t wind up with a great video.


Whiteboard animation combines simple, hand-drawn animation on a traditional office ‘whiteboard’ with a descriptive voice-over to create an engaging, unique style of animated video.

This style of animation is perfect for use in explainer videos, making it popular among organisations and businesses that need to communicate complex ideas and information in a concise, easily-digested video.

Whiteboard animation needs a few things to be truly successful – a skilled whiteboard animation video team, a professional voice-over actor, and a strong, compelling script that reads like a story, making this type of video best suited for situations where you’d like to present a lot of information at once.


If you’ve ever struggled to navigate a new smartphone app, website or software package, you’ll appreciate the value of a professionally-produced animated demonstration video. This style of explainer video lets you show your audience how to use a product or service, effectively replacing reams of technical manuals and how-to guides.

Demonstration videos can showcase unique features and benefits of anything from an e-commerce site to a automobile, making this type of animation great for use in both sales and customer support applications.

Common uses for demonstration videos include screenings at investor meetings, posting online for end-user troubleshooting, and for use on crowdfunding sites to promote a start-up company.

Producing an effective demonstration video can be labour-intensive; it requires a significant investment in both design and development, since it’s important to create a video that clearly answers the most common questions and concerns that your audience might have.

Character Animation

This type of video is what most folks think of when they hear the word ‘animation’ – a colorful, upbeat video featuring cartoon characters!

great character animation video is tough for your audience to resist. It’s fun, simple and highly entertaining to watch, making viewing it a great distraction during a stressful work day or on a long commute home.

Cartoon-based videos can be used for branding, explainer videos, product demonstrations and animated software tutorials. This type of video is particularly effective in situations where you’d like to boost conversion rates, since the ‘thumbnail’ preview provides potential viewers with an inviting snapshot of your content that’s tough to resist.

While animated characters can be used to explain, promote and communicate everything from a simple one-day sales promotion to a complex business concept, it’s important to recognise that most viewers associate cartoons with light-hearted, fun content, so if you have a dead-serious message to convey, you might want to steer clear of this animation style.

Want to know more about how you can use animated explainer videos to build your brand, promote your business and drive conversion rates? Drop us a line here at Lumeo – our consultations are always confidential and completely free.

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