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Game of Tones: How to Choose the Right Style for your Explainer Video

How to Choose the Right Style for your Explainer Video, Set the Mood for Success, and Vanquish the Night King


When choosing a style for your explainer video, you’re up against some unique challenges:

  • There probably aren’t brand standards for animation, so you’re basically writing the book.
  • Every colleague has an opinion… and they’re all different.
  • It’s difficult to visualize the final project when you haven’t even written the script yet.
  • You want to use this video for approximately a millennia, and you’re not sure what style will stand the test of time.
  • An army undead snow-zombies, some of which look like your family and friends, is trying to climb over your cubicle wall. Just kidding. But now that we’re mentioning it, is your pen on fire??


So what do you do?

  1. Check out what explainer video styles are out there. (See video below.)
  2. Take our quiz to find out what style fits your purposes.


What’s My Explainer Video Style? A Quiz

What are your goals?

  1. Communicate complex ideas quickly
  2. Save the day… and look good doing it
  3. Explain the nuts and bolts of the machine that will change everything
  4. Inspire the masses with your message
  5. Make some heartfelt human connection


Which of these best describes your brand?

  1. Classic, empathetic
  2. Sleek, cutting-edge
  3. Technical, innovative
  4. Articulate, necessary
  5. Imaginative, resourceful


Which house?

  1. House Stark
  2. House Lannister
  3. Smart House
  4. Speaker of the House
  5. House Targaryen


You picked mostly A:

Whiteboard Animation

With their charming, classic style, whiteboard animations are great for communicating complex ideas quickly, making them ideal for trainings, startups, pharmaceuticals, tech, and academic lectures. The simple visuals help reinforce key concepts. And it’s easy to inject a little humor. Check out the neuroscience of whiteboard animation for more details about why this style works so well.


You picked mostly B:

2D Character and Motion Graphics

Ideal for marketing as well as internal communications, 2D animation offers some particular advantages. It makes data come alive. It creates characters that can become icons. And it takes full advantage of the power of color. Bandwave’s marketing video is one of our favorite examples of these principles in practice.


You picked mostly C:


You’ve got something technical to share with the world. Maybe it’s your plot to sit on the big metal knife chair, but more likely it’s your plans for fancy new toothbrush. 3D animation, popularized by Pixar and Dreamworks, is increasingly used to model software and products with many intricate parts.


You picked mostly D:

Kinetic Text

You know what every power-hungry, vaguely-medieval diplomat knows: Words matter. This style emphasizes what you have to say, making it perfect for PSAs, speeches, marketing, and communications with an urgent message or quick turnaround time. Check out a Next Day Animations classic bike safety explainer video.


You picked mostly E:

Stop Motion Animation

Enchantingly nostalgic and deeply imaginative, stop motion animation works well for whatever message needs a human touch. We’ve used it in everything from construction company logos to pharmaceutical how-tos. Similar to whiteboard animation, the power of human touch comes through, making it great for connecting viewers to content that might seem distant, boring, or technical.


Still wondering what style is best for you? Give us a call at 202-747-0404.


Remember, this process is a little like hatching un-hatchable dragons. Messy and wildly creative. At the end, you have a marvelous new creature that will make you look really cool. And maybe help save the world.