How to Hire a Motion Graphics Company: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover tips for hiring a motion graphics company in our guide! From vetting portfolios to pricing, we've got you covered. 🎨

How to Hire a Motion Graphics Company: A Comprehensive Guide

Our success in the motion graphics industry as a leading company comes from consistently keeping an eye on our competitors.

What's our secret?

It's our comprehensive research questionnaire, and today, we're sharing it with you.

This guide will help you assess companies and find the best fit for your goals.

1. Know Why You Should Hire a Professional Motion Graphics Company

Benefits of professional motion graphics.

With new AI technologies and numerous online creators, it's tempting to rely on those tools. However, simply having moving images doesn't guarantee results.

Here's why:

  • Professionals will understand your goals and suggest customized solutions.
  • They will create a bespoke style that perfectly matches your brand.
  • The quality of animations will be significantly higher.

More importantly, a professional company won't just create a video. They'll understand the challenges you face and offer real solutions for your content. Motion graphics or any video is primarily about communication—the right message for a specific stage of your customer journey, then the moving images.

That's why successful brands prefer working with professional companies.

Impact on branding, engagement, and communication.

Research indicates that customers begin to trust a brand after over 20 interactions. If your visual identity is inconsistent, they may not recognize you. This underscores the importance of working with professional motion graphics companies to ensure everything is aligned. In the long run, this investment will save you money.

Over the last 4 years, we have been dedicated to crafting animated videos for DoorDash, targeting various stages of the customer funnel. With over 30 videos under our belt, we ensured a consistent style and recurring characters throughout. This cohesive approach has significantly boosted conversion rates at every stage of the funnel.

2. Identify key qualities to look for in a motion graphics company

Experience and industry knowledge.

This isn't something I would focus on heavily since business is highly segmented today. Instead, seek out experience in achieving specific goals.

For instance, consider how their expertise in creating top-of-funnel explainer videos can align with your objectives.

A professional agency, even with limited knowledge of your industry, can swiftly understand your challenges and deliver tailored solutions.

Specialization in different motion graphics styles and techniques.

Motion graphics come in dozens of styles, and not all companies can handle them all. For instance, if your brand identity includes characters and the company lacks experience in character animation, that’s a problem.

Make sure their skills align with your needs, allowing them to create content that matches your brand.

Team composition and expertise.

This is perhaps one of the most underrated yet crucial aspects to consider when hiring a motion graphics company. The common misconception is that animations are solely created by animators. However, that is just one stage out of seven.

Ensure the company has creative directors, professional illustrators, content writers, and sound designers dedicated to your project. Avoid freelancers or generalists who claim they can do it all. That's not professional.

Technical skills and software proficiency

motion graphics skills

I've heard this dozens of times: "Software is not important; the result is what matters." While there's some truth to that, adhering to standards is crucial.

Why is this important?

When your creative team uses industry-standard tools, you enhance flexibility in delivering content across various formats and dimensions. Plus, it'll be easy and cost-effective to switch production teams in the future.

3. Evaluate the Company’s Portfolio Thoroughly

Importance of reviewing past work

I bet you've heard a story where someone recommended their cousin, and after months of struggle, the results were unsatisfying or, even worse, the project failed.

This is why it's crucial to always review portfolios. Don't just take anyone's word for it, even if it's your boss.

Don't know where to start? Don't worry. I will provide you with a step-by-step outline on what questions to ask and how to assess their level of professionalism, even if you have no knowledge in motion graphics.

What to look for in their portfolio (diversity, quality, relevance).

First, ensure the quality level is high enough to represent your company. Check if they create 100% custom artwork and guarantee that they won't use any stock website assets, even in modified form.

Additionally, pay attention to the styles they offer to match your branding.

Questions to ask about specific projects

Ask how they come up with specific solutions. What are the reasons behind their decisions regarding the project's length, style, and script concept?

Determine the platforms they are designed for and whether dimensions can be adjusted for social media and other mediums like expos. Explore how to make these adjustments and the timelines involved.

Related reading and insights
What’s the ideal length for an explainer video?

Case studies demonstrating the results

At some point, take a moment to ask yourself: "This all looks beautiful, but what about the results?" Inquire about the kind of results their videos have helped their customers achieve. Ask if they can provide case studies for you to read and whether you can contact their customers for feedback.

Ensuring they truly created the showcased projects.

If you see big names in their portfolio, don't take it at face value. Instead, ask which parts of those projects were actually created by them. If a project was indeed their work, they should have the project files. Inquire whether they can demonstrate these files to you.

Additionally, ensure that the same team is still with the company and confirm if you can have that same team working on your project.

4. Understand the Company’s Creative Process

Detailed breakdown of each stage

At first glance, any company may appear to have similar processes. However, as someone not familiar with the industry, you'll find there are crucial nuances to consider.

First, ensure that the process is transparent. You should receive updates at each stage of production and have the ability to provide feedback and request changes.

Next, check whether everything is custom-made and hand-crafted, with no use of templates or stock assets.

Lastly, it's important to have a single point of contact. This way, you won't have to deal with multiple team members, which can create confusion and chaos.

How they handle creative briefs and client input.

How to hire a motion graphics company

Some agencies suggest starting with a kick-off call to understand the product and project goals, which is obviously a great idea. However, documenting everything is even better.

Ask if they have a project brief questionnaire and ensure you provide all the necessary information. This should include details about the product and company, but also crucial insights into how you differentiate from competitors, your market entry strategy, and the main concerns your customers have about making a purchase.

Additionally, this document will serve as part of the contract. You can always refer back to it if any main points are not communicated or if the brief is not followed.

How they incorporate feedback and revisions

The importance of revisions in any project cannot be overstated. However, there are often misconceptions surrounding them.

To begin with, some companies promise unlimited revisions. While this may sound appealing, it's often too good to be true. Unlimited revisions essentially mean unlimited labor, which isn't feasible. Therefore, you can expect either some form of time restrictions or the use of templates.

To navigate this, make sure you are entitled to at least two free revisions at each production stage, not just at the final stage. This approach ensures that your project develops correctly at every step.

Additionally, it's important to clearly understand what counts as a revision request. Are there time limits for providing feedback? How long do changes usually take? Knowing these details is essential for meeting project deadlines.

In an upcoming article, we will delve deeper into this subject and share more tips. For now, here's a crucial piece of advice: ensure that all stakeholders provide their feedback promptly. This helps avoid exhausting your free revisions or going over budget.

Availability and project timeline flexibility.

When discussing timelines, it's important to understand several key points.

First, how long does a typical production take?

Next, establish the start and end dates clearly. For example, you might agree to a 4-week timeline, and then discover that they can only start in a week after the agreement is signed.

Additionally, if your deadline is tight or there are specific dates involved, ensure you clearly understand how much time you'll have for providing feedback.

Lastly, make sure there are no other factors that could affect the timeline and disrupt your plans.

Communication tools and frequency of updates.

It's not crucial, but if you have preferred channels or corporate policies, it's worth checking the communication channels and file-sharing systems. Ask if the agency is okay with using your preferred tools.

Regarding the frequency of updates, make sure you are informed at each production and revision stage. However, requesting daily updates can turn you into a nightmare for your contributor and may demotivate them.

5. Understand Cost Considerations

Factors that influence pricing (e.g., project complexity, duration, deadlines).

The main factors influencing motion graphics pricing include style, project complexity, duration, deadlines, and the geographical location of the motion studio.

While most factors seem clear, unfortunately, there's no single formula to determine your project's cost.

To get an accurate quote, you'll need to reach out to various companies and compare their estimates. Simply provide each company with the same references and ensure they understand exactly what you love about those projects. This approach will help you find the best fit for your needs.

How to get a detailed and transparent quote

When requesting a quote, ask them to include reference examples in their proposal to gauge the quality level. Additionally, you can specify details such as:

  • Definition of the style
  • Length of the video
  • Number of revisions
  • Number of deliverables
  • Exact scope of work, including production stages
  • Number of characters
  • License type for video, voice over and music track
  • Whether the source files of the project are included
  • Any other deliverables that have been discussed

By including these points, you ensure clarity and set expectations, leading to a smoother and more engaging collaboration.

Balancing cost with quality and value

balancing cost

This can be quite challenging. Sure, big industry names have proven their quality, but they charge a premium with no guaranteed results.

On the other hand, you might see Google ads with extremely low offers.

Based on our experience, it's best to go with companies that have US-based creative writers and a production team in Europe. We've tried many approaches, and this combination achieves the best quality and value.

Let me break it down.

You need local writers who are native speakers and understand the corporate and lifestyle culture. This ensures the content resonates well.

Meanwhile, you can save significantly by working with animators from Eastern Europe, who offer the same quality at a much lower cost.

Reach out to us, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by our quotes.

Payment milestones and schedules

For a single project, standard payment milestones are 50% down payment and 50% upon project completion. For larger projects, alternative methods such as payments at each major milestone or upon the completion of each video may be used.

Alternatively, we offer monthly plans, providing the opportunity for unlimited tasks with a monthly subscription.

Potential hidden costs (e.g., licensing, revisions)

One of the biggest complaints we hear from our customers about other motion graphics companies is hidden costs.

These often stem from unclear revision policies, license agreements, and deadlines.

To avoid this, clearly agree on how revisions will work and how many you'll get at each stage.

Understand the license type—whether it is perpetual and whether it covers the specific media where you’ll use your videos.

Lastly, discuss any additional costs upfront, especially if you need rush delivery.

Clarifying charges for small tasks and minor adjustments

Trust me, small tasks like loop animations from video, illustrations, or other similar tasks can arise during a project. You might find that they end up costing more than you expected. To avoid unexpected expenses, it's wise to agree on an hourly rate for small tasks in advance. A fair hourly price typically ranges between $50-$150.

For example, a short loop animation should cost around $200, while illustrations, if no extra designs are required, are about $30 each. An alternative ending for a video should be approximately $250.

6. Ensure quality and timely delivery

My biggest advice here is to stick to the timeline advised by the company. If you ask for more, they might miss the deadline or compromise on quality.

Another crucial factor is ensuring that all stakeholders provide their feedback within the agreed timeline. If there's a delay, the project not only gets extended, but the company also needs extra time to reassemble the team, which can take a couple of days.

So, agree on the quality level for the specified timeline and make sure your agreement includes not just the production timeline but also the time you will take for providing feedback and the time the agency will need for revisions.

7. Avoid common pitfalls

Mistakes to avoid during the selection process

First, shortlist no more than 5 companies. Why? When you speak with too many vendors and lack expertise in motion graphics production, you might choose based on who has the most charismatic sales representative rather than the best fit.

Additionally, be wary of companies that promise to handle all your tasks without understanding every detail and including them in the agreement. These companies often lack current projects and are willing to take on anything, which can lead to compromised quality.

How to handle potential issues and challenges

To be completely transparent, if you make the payment but aren't satisfied with the progress, there isn't much that can be done. It's best to make the most of the situation.

To avoid these scenarios, ensure the company has a solid history, verified testimonials, and case studies showcasing results. Additionally, don't finalize the payment until you've received everything that was promised.

Importance of not compromising quality for cost

There's a lot written about the costs of motion graphics, but this shouldn't be your main focus.

Let me explain.

Is your goal to spend less, or to get more from your video project?

It's obvious, right?

So, why focus on saving only to get a low ROI (return on investment)?

Of course, overspending is another mistake. You don't need to invest in flawless 3D or expensive actors without reason.

Instead, if your partner studio truly cares about you, they will advise you on how to spend your budget wisely.

8. Clarify Contracts and Agreements

Just to clarify, I'm not a lawyer, so I can only advise from a production perspective on what must be included in a contract. Here's what you should consider.

motion graphics contract

Key elements to include in your contract (scope of work, timelines, payment terms).

  • A detailed scope of work
  • Timelines
  • Quality standards for the product, including possible characteristics
  • Video dimensions
  • Number of deliverables
  • Revision policy
  • Usage license and any applicable time constraints
  • Intellectual property rights and ownership.
  • Payment terms and milestones
  • Ensuring provision of source files and associated costs
  • Terms for termination and project cancellation
  • Any other factors discussed

These elements will help ensure clarity and smooth execution.

Final words

Hiring the right motion graphics company is crucial for ensuring your brand's visual content is impactful, consistent, and aligned with your goals. By understanding the benefits of professional motion graphics, identifying key qualities to look for, thoroughly evaluating portfolios, and clearly defining your project's scope and costs, you can make an informed decision.

Remember, investing in quality and expertise will pay off in the long run, helping you stand out in a crowded media landscape. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect partner for your motion graphics needs.

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