Why Audio Is the Unsung Hero of Motion Graphics

How to tell a compelling visual story through voice, music, and sound design

Josh Miles
Modus
Published in
4 min readOct 25, 2019

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Motion Graphic Audio Creation
Illustration courtesy of the author.

MMotion graphics are all about, well, motion. They comprise the digital manipulation of rasterized and vector elements to create the illusion of animation. But when we think about the final output of a motion graphic project — the rendered video file — we think, more than anything, about the three-act narrative we have created. Beyond simply pushing images around the screen, our goal is to tell a story so compelling that the audience is moved to take some sort of action.

One of the most powerful tools for this type of storytelling is audio. I believe audio is the unsung hero of any successful motion graphic. While it’s easy to focus on the most immediately apparent element in a motion graphic (the visuals), crafting the right audioscape for your motion graphic is a critical component in achieving the video’s goals.

Our goal is to tell a story so compelling that the audience is moved to take some sort of action.

When thinking about the composite elements of a motion graphic audioscape, we look at three core components:

  • Voice-over
  • Music
  • Sound design

Voice-over provides an opportunity to build a relationship with the viewer. Music establishes mood and provides swells and dips to complement the narrative. Sound design unites all elements of narrative with ambient location sounds and direct-action sound effects to create a robust, immersive experience.

Here’s how to successfully weave these three elements together.

Voice-over

Before putting out a casting call for voice talent, you need to really understand your audience. Ask yourself:

  • What type of narrator will they best respond to — male or female, old or young…

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Josh Miles
Modus
Writer for

President & Chief Creative Officer at Killer Visual Strategies | Contributor to The Visual Marketer | killervisualstrategies.com