Have you ever watched a slickly edited video, noticed some animation that made the video pop, and thought, "I want to be able to do that?"

Do you have an interest in graphic design and want to take it to the next level? 

If you answered yes to those questions, then motion graphics could be for you!

A slick motion graphic animation made up of triangles and multiple colored stripes.

What do motion graphics designers do?

The task of a motion graphics designer is almost explained in the job title itself: it's taking still images, or graphics, and adding motion to them. However, motion graphics is a broad field with many different applications.

For example, motion graphics is used for:

  • Lower-third graphics on TV broadcasts

A humorous news broadcast where a civilian attempts to kiss reporter Brian Mullahy. The lower third graphics set the scene.

  • Animating graphics for all sorts of media content and platforms including movies, television show, YouTube videos, advertisements and more.

  • Compositing shots for television shows or movies, such as removing backgrounds and placing characters in new environments, like you may have seen in Star Wars and Marvel movies.

A behind the scenes Superman shoot. Superman flies in front of a green screen.

How much do motion graphics designers make?

Motion graphics designers make a wide range of salaries in different countries.

Pay fluctuates based on available work, whether you're working freelance or in-house at a company, your years of experience, and the software you're proficient with.

For example, the average salary for a motion graphics designer in San Francisco is higher than most other cities in the U.S. because of the demand for motion graphics in the tech space but also because the cost of living is higher than in most other cities.

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  • In the United States, the median pay as of 2024 is $65,529.

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  • In Canada, the median pay as of 2024 is $57,429.

How do you become a motion graphics designer?

To become a motion graphics designer, first you need to develop a portfolio of your best work, then apply for a job.

You can do this in three ways:

  1. Obtain a college degree or diploma in motion graphics. Check out some of the top-regarded motion graphics and animation courses in the United States and Canada.

  2. Enroll in an online course. Two well-known course providers are School of Motion and Motion Design School.

  3. Teach yourself with resources available on YouTube (VideoCopilot and Ben Marriott are well known and respected for their free resources)

Remember, at the end of the day, a good portfolio will get you more work than a certification. Work on your craft.

Woman sitting by computer drawing on tablet.


What would a employer be looking for in hiring a motion graphics designer?

Is it a good fit for you?

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You'll love this role if...

  • You're a self-driven learner.

  • Good design inspires you.

  • You like to build relationships with other artists.

Look for another career if you...

  • The thought of animating something frame-by-frame bores you.

  • You are not prepared for a steep learning curve.

  • Working as a freelancer scares you.

Pick the future motion graphics designers

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Pete isn't quite sure what he wants to do out of high school. He has never really been interested in drawing or art but he thinks it could be cool to learn how to make some special effects for videos but he's uneasy about the time commitment involved.

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Grace has always been interested in art and got fantastic grades doing graphic design as an elective in high school. She is thinking of enrolling in a motion graphics course either at a college or online. Through her existing art experience, she knows and accepts that the process of creating work can be iterative andtime-consuming.

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Darren loves the outdoors. He needs to be constantly moving and socializing with his colleagues or fellow students. The thought of sitting in an office for long periods scares him.

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Jestika hasn't taken an art class since junior high school but has recently taken an interestin the animation she's seen in the content she watches. She knows it will be challenging and potentially take years but she is prepared to learn from scratch. She is ready to dive into the fundamentals of design, animation, and working using 2D and 3D editing software.


Pick the future motion graphic designers:

Take Action

Ready to dive into the world of motion graphics? Here are some things you could do right away:

Motion Graphics designer leisurely working at computer using tablet


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