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What Makes Good Work… Good?

Thoughts from a motionographer.


During the Inspire 07 conference, some friends, who are also motion graphics artists, and I were drooling (as usual) over the great work being shown. But we were differing in our opinions on what factors helped make them so good. Obviously it’s a combination of several conditions, but which ones do you feel are more important than others? Some of the ones we discussed were:

Geography: There were exclusively NY and LA studios presenting at the conference and quite frankly we weren’t surprised. Since I’ve gotten bitten by the mogra bug, I’ve heard that in order to go anywhere in this industry I had to go to one of two places. Does the concentration of the HQ talent pool in larger markets (particularly NY and LA) increase the stakes, allowing competition to drive the standard of work up exponentially more than in smaller markets? I’m of the opinion that location doesn’t matter but I couldn’t deny the challenge it’s been getting the kind of projects we would like here. Is it any easier in places where high quality work is the norm?

Time/ budget – Having weeks (like the ipod nano spot) or maybe months (Psyop’s “Crows”) to work on a project allows more visual research and playtime with a particular concept. Time = money and sometimes quality. There wasn’t much disagreement on this point, but I asked if it were possible to just put everything into a project for the reel, even if the client’s not paying for it?

Ability: (duh!) Individual talent is always a factor albeit hard to measure, but does working as a team multiply the talent quotient? And what about the ability to be a communicator apart from being able to create pretty pictures?

Client Trust: By that I mean, having a client that trusts you (as Psyop and PCMDesign exemplified) and your ability to turn over a project that’ll accomplish their goals without them having to step in and… make the logo bigger.

Coolness of the project:Quite honestly, a commercial for Scion or MTV HD allows for more creative lattitude than one for a local used car lot.

The conversation/ debate/ argument still continues within our little group, but I’m curious to hear what the wider population of motion graphics designers think. Are there any other factors we’re not figuring in?

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Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.

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2 thoughts on “What Makes Good Work… Good?

  1. Avatar MiniMUM says:

    OK, OK, I’m no motion graphics person, but you hit on some great issues/challenges facing people not working in, for want of a better term, “major” markets.

    One would have thought that reach of the Web would have eliminated the Geography factor, but no, not yet.

    As someone who has worked in an industry where market size is both measurable and critical, having a smaller market on your resume is often seen as an admission of mediocrity.

    The “If you’re not running with the big dogs, with their big property prices and gridlock, it’s probably because you can’t keep up,” type of thinking is still predominant, I would say. More’s the pity.

    Savannah is lucky in that there it has a great “quirk” factor, you know, I’m here because even the French agree that it’s one of America’s loveliets cities. I’d hate to be living in Marshall, TX and be trying to convice someone to let me take on, oh, their mogra project.

  2. I agree Savannah has a bit of a novelty factor going for it and hopefully it’ll continue to grow in stature to rival places like Atlanta as a design mecca for the south. But is the traffic an automatic byproduct of that kind of growth? IF so, then do I really want it? hmmmmm.

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