Explainer Video

The Unique Powers of Whiteboard Animation

Claude Harrington 09.06.2016

A couple years ago, a psychologist by the name of Richard Wiseman conducted an interesting experiment. Curious about the impact of whiteboard animation, he arranged a test of memory in which participants (there were about 1,000 total) were shown one of two video clips:

  • A live-action explainer of a complex subject
  • A whiteboard animation explainer of the same complex subject

The audio in both instances was exactly the same; so the only difference here, really, was the video format. Yet that single difference accounted for a major change. Among those who saw the whiteboard animation, there was a 15% rise in recall.  The reason for this, Wiseman believes, is “because people are simply more engaged; in order to remember something, you must attend to it in the first place.”

This ability to improve the transfer of information is remarkable, yet it’s only one of the unique powers of whiteboard animation. So today we’ll look at a few more…

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Facts and Figures (Whiteboard Animation)

In general, explainer videos of any form (be they 3D animation, motion graphics, etc.) lend themselves to the inclusion of graphs, charts, facts and figures. But unlike those other formats, in which you’ll often need to discretely toggle between “narrative’ sections and “visual information” sections, whiteboard animation enables you to do both seamlessly.

For example, let’s look at some work we recently did for KNOW Better Bread:

Because this client is offering a disruptive product (one whose origins come from science) there were a lot of facts and figures that were important to get across. At the same time (and especially because this is a new brand) it was important to retain engagement every second of the way. Which was something we all felt was a reasonable risk had we ever meandered from the narrative to highlight a graph or chart. So, instead, we employed whiteboard animation’s power to seamlessly move through narrative and visual information at the same time.

Below are a few examples from the whiteboard animation:

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Stands Out in a Crowded Field (Whiteboard Animation)

Standing out in a crowded field is a challenge for any business. But especially now, with the rapid growth of video (think Facebook, YouTube, etc.), it’s becoming even harder to truly catch a stranger’s eye. Luckily, this is where whiteboard animation can help.

Over the past few years, whiteboard animation has quickly become a very popular explainer video format. Even so, it’s still not something that most people see on an everyday basis. And until that day becomes, we can use that scarcity to our advantage.

In a sense, therein lies the beauty of whiteboard animation. It is, as of the time of this writing, a rare enough technique to typically warrant a pause of intrigue. Yet, unlike most video techniques that stand out for their rarity, whiteboard animation is familiar enough that it doesn’t feel like a foreign technique.

Brand Flexibility (Whiteboard Animation)

Every corporate explainer video should adhere to brand guidelines and properly position that company’s brand in the most memorable way. The problem, though, is that the visual components of a brand might clash with visual components of a video style. Luckily, this is something that the client and animation studio can address ahead of time. But in doing so, what they may realize is that one aesthetic motif (either brand or video) inhibits what is possible with the other. Again, through discussion and collaboration, this is a solvable situation; but notably, with whiteboard animation, it is no situation at all.

Because the whiteboard technique is set against a white background, there is a unique degree of flexibility when it comes to depiction of colors, shapes and fonts.

This means that the branding can be as subtle as you like…

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Or as explicit…

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Product Placement (Whiteboard Animation)

Technically, this last section probably falls under the banner of “brand flexibility,” but it’s such a unique property of whiteboard animation that it deserves a section of it’s own. Because of all the animation techniques, whiteboard is the only one that can realistically include photographic imagery.

Although photo images are only included in a small percentage of whiteboard videos (probably around 10-15%), the significance here is that it can be done. Which can be particularly important for product-oriented videos.

Below are a couple examples:

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Questions? Comments? Contact IdeaBlog@idearocketanimation.com

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