Remember those websites with repetitive patterned backgrounds, bright coloured clashing text and the animated GIF flaming logo, fluttering flag or under construction signs? This has been the dark legacy of the humble animated GIF. Only in recent years has it been able to shake its stigma and started to poise its revival.
The animated GIFs of this generation are clean, simple and tasteful. They are used for everything from directing the user experience to informative infographics, and the results are spectacular! Adding video to a website can often be over the top. This is where the GIF really shines. Animated GIFs are considerably smaller while adding just a bit of eye catching movement. By adding movement to a website, that is naturally very content heavy, you help to break up the abundance of text while being able to offer the reader animated elements to support your message, making it easier to comprehend.
Now with the discussion of animated GIFs I can’t ignore to mention cinemagraphs. They are similar, but there are some small, but important, differences. Cinemagraphs are neither still images nor video, but they retain both stillness and movement as if they were a hybrid of the two. Generally the movement is isolated to a portion of the image while the majority is stationary. A good cinemagraph falls subject to the same rules that define a good photograph and the isolated motion loop should not feel like a loop at all and just give extra life to the image. For example: steam rising from a coffee cup, wind blowing someone’s hair or a light flickering. The general rule is an action or sequence that seems natural when repeated.
Why is all this important? As much as we all enjoy seeing GIFs used for memes and looping cat videos, from a marketing perspective the GIF and close cousin the cinemagraph hold a lot more potential. HD cinemagraphs and GIFs may very well be the next big ad format across social media sites in the coming years. To this point we’ve seen them on platforms that support animated GIFs like Tumblr, but now they are making their way onto Facebook as autoplaying videos and also on Instagram as looping videos. Now that some of the largest players are adopting this format, it will only be a matter of time before the rest will follow suit.
I’ve selected a collection of outstanding GIFs and Cinemagraphs to illustrate the differences and show how they can be used as graphic elements, support imagery and animated logos.
So are animated GIFs & Cinemagraphs something you should consider adding to your business?
The answer is, quite possibly!