Graphic Design

A Peek into Storyboarding and Visual Concept Creation


Developing a visual concept is one of the most important stages in the creation of any animation. It is time consuming and challenging, requiring a detailed assessment of key messaging, audience, tone and brand

As we prepare to begin work on a new project, we immerse ourselves in our client’s visual brand guidelines and existing materials. The client’s desired level of innovation will determine how strictly we are guided by existing designs and concepts and we get to the bottom of these variables during an initial production call.

Concept Formulation, Tailoring to Client Needs:

Every client is unique, and so is our approach to visual concept formulation. Initial discussions lay the groundwork, where we gauge the client’s preferences and align our creative direction accordingly to ensure the final product reflects their vision.

After the production call, we develop bespoke style mood boards. These mood boards typically comprise about 16-20 images, allowing clients to cherry-pick elements they like (and also the ones they definitely don’t), swiftly narrowing down their preferences. From selecting character style to choosing typography, we cover every detail to capture the client’s vision accurately. 

Following the initial meeting, as you will know from last week’s blog post, the script begins to take shape. Working with the draft script, we begin to form a storyboard outline that visualises each scene. A thorough understanding of the script and its key messages is essential to allow the graphic designer to develop a visual narrative, so the team works together to make sure no nuance is overlooked. 
Weaving together graphics, characters, animated text, and thematic elements, a cohesive story begins to take shape.

Each project will require a different approach – we may choose to include a graphic element that flows through a narrative and leads the viewers from scene to scene. For example, in our animation for Mental Health Europe on the importance of fostering mentally healthy communities, a ribbon weaves through the animation leading the viewer through the narrative, and symbolising interconnectedness between people. In other instances, symbolism can help break down ideas and render them more poignant. As can be seen in an animation we developed for the Campaign to End Loneliness, where a plain bouncy ball is used to depict solitude in a way that is accessible and inclusive. 

Character Creation:

Whilst not all animations require characters, for human centred themes and public facing campaigns, characters can be a great way to engage audiences. The choice of character style is central to setting the tone and style of an animation – whether they be minimalist icons, detailed, realistic characters, or anything in between! 

From facial expressions to body language, every character element is thoughtfully considered to convey the intended messaging, and ensure relatability for the target audience. Skin tone, body shape, gender, age and mobility are all considered, with inclusivity at the forefront of this process.

Once the team is happy with our proposed visual concept, we package up the materials to share with our client ready for review. The script and storyboard are accompanied by static concept frames that show our suggested look and feel for the project. These offer a snapshot of the envisioned animation, allowing clients to visualise the end product and provide valuable feedback. Every project is a collaboration between our team and our client, which is why we offer unlimited feedback rounds during this stage of production, allowing us to take full advantage of our client’s input and invaluable sector expertise.

Artwork Creation:

Once the visual style and storyboard have been adjusted in line with client feedback, the process of artwork creation can begin. With the storyboard in hand, the graphic designer begins the process of creating the artwork (known in house as assets) for each scene. This entails meticulous considerations of every element, including characters, backgrounds, objects, text and special effects. 

Attention to detail is paramount, ensuring uniformity in style, colour palette and overall aesthetic throughout the animation. Asset creation is a skill that requires a blend of innate artistic talent and years of dedicated practice to master the craft effectively. 

Don’t miss out on next week’s exploration of the animation process, where we unveil the animation stage that breathes life into our creative vision.