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6 Tips to Design an Animated Logo

Animating a logo is no walk in the park, you have to go a long way, research a lot and then make the strategies accordingly to ensure the animated logo design aligns with your business properly. Logo animation is all common for the business logo design. The advanced technology along with smartphones, today logos are much more seen in the digital spaces apart from the other direct visuals. The increased interest in logo animation indicates that more and more brands are needed to stay vigilant and competitive in the market. Not many people are aware of the technicalities and strategies that can help them create an animated logo for the brand. The proper teaching and guidelines are pretty important in this case and come in pretty handy as well.

Animation software is something that has taken the lead and made the job of regular people easier than it is already. The animated software has further become more streamlined, intuitive, and ubiquitous which highly supports the constantly growing customer base. Despite how difficult and daunting the overall process of logo animation may sound. The software has given the power to everyone to develop simple and creative animations.

When I wanted someone to make a logo for me which is animated too, I initially faced some problems since I did not have much experience in this case. Now that I have gotten myself an animated logo, I believe I am in the position to explain how one can create their own animated logo and give tricks and tips about it.

1) Prepare a File for your Logo

Start your logo animation tutorial with Adobe Illustrator, or any kind of logo design software that you have and you can own. The purpose is to make sure our logo is all set for the animation process. The animation software itself is based on the raster while keeping the files of the logo sources in vector formats. It allows them to alter the logo without compromising on the image quality. It becomes pretty useful when they are used later while you are working on the layers of the shape.

Apart from this, you can further make sure the logo is all layered rather than keeping them stacked into one single object. It allows a person to create complex and difficult animations simply by animating various parts of the logo. The logo maker can create different layers while using the button of ADD NEW LAYER at the bottom of the panel of the layers. Later you can copy and paste all the pieces of logos on them.

Now at this stage, now all the animations are in the digital phase, it’s time the designer works with the RGB colors. In case the file of illustrator is ready to set to your CMYK, it is up to you to change the setting by choosing the logo and navigating it to Edit> Edit Colors > Convert to RGB.

Once you think you are ready at this stage, you need to export your logo as a file that is a fully layered vector.

2) Take the Logo to After Effects

It’s time you open the new After Effects section of Adobe Illustrator. The interface of the application often appears complex at first look and looks intimidating to the users. Therefore, breaking it down for you to make the overall process easier.

a) Tool Panel

This is the point where you have the access to the basics of the building tools of graphics which includes type tool, pen tool and other basics.

b) Project Panel

At this point, you manage and organize all the files of media for your whole project.

c) Composition Window

People are allowed to view their window at this stage in which you see the animated view and can watch the overall content and composition for everything that you are working on. Comps are particular scenes that have their own timelines for the animation.

d) Timeline

This is the stage where you can build your animation. It comprises all the literal timeline which is on the right along with the area of comp which is on the left area.

e) Control Panel

At the control panel, you can access all the functions of support which include paragraphs, options for alignment, media information along with the libraries of visual effects that work into the After Effects.
In order to import the file of your logo, all you have to do is drag the logo simply and drop it in the panel of the project or navigate to File> Import> File. Below the dialogue box, you would see the media that can be imported as the Footage along with the Merged Layers.

3) Composition Setting Up

This is one tricky step where you have to set up the whole composition for the logo. It is generally explained as the container that lets the designer layer, edit, and use the animations to the media files.

A bigger production which includes the movie contains different comps that are used in the whole panel of the project. You can further take the comp as the individual scene in the movie and every comp must have its own timeline that they can follow forever. However, when the logo animation is as short as 5 seconds then you do not need many comps in this case.

Nevertheless, you must begin with a simple background. Tap on the right side of the panel and choose New>Sold. If your logo is white you can go with the black solid, however, the choice of colors is all up to the person working on it. Moreover, in the window, you have to name the solid as BG or whatever title you wish to give and click on the Make Comp Size and choose OK. It’s time you now drag the file of your logo from the whole panel of the project and you would see the logo all previewed in the window of the comp. If you do not see anything like that you have to rearrange all the layers by simply dragging all the background right below its file.

4) KeyFrames Animation

KeyFrames are the main aspects that work when you design through After Effects. They are the essential markers that are set along the timeline that recognizes the start of the state and the end of the state for the animation that must occur. For instance, begin with the simple kinds of animation, something that is a fade-in. there are various kinds of characters that are linked with the object and these attributes change constantly with the set amount of time. That is what exactly the animation is. In order to look at these attributes, you have to click on the expand icon that is placed right next to the logo comp and is a subsequent property of transformation.

In order to work on the fading animation, you should work with the attributes that clearly measure the object visibility which is known as Opacity. It is supposed to be 100% because the logo is completely seen by default. When you click on the stopwatch icon which is placed right next to the opacity, a diamond element would appear wherever you would take the play head market. It is one keyframe that is actually a snapshot of the recent value of the particular characteristic.

After Effects

At this stage, you should move the whole keyframe by clicking or directly dragging it out constantly to the timeline’s second mark. Drag the play head and take it back to the second mark and create another set of keyframes and take it to 0% Opacity. In order to preview your animation, press the spacebar.

You would come across a gradual and slow fade-in animation if you change the Opacity from 0% to 100%, throughout the time of 2 seconds within just the 2 keyframes. This is the only way to get all the animations done effectively particularly in After Effects. You should start with creating a keyframe and end it at various intervals throughout the timeline. The After Effects will automatically calculate the important transitions of the frame to get from one point to another.

Under the Transform Property, you can work with the different attributes which we are going to explain here briefly. Experiment with the keyframing and other characters to see the change in the animation.

a) Position

This is the place where you explain the logo position in either the X or Y space on the comp screen. It later allows you to design the linear movement as well.

b) Scale

At this stage, the logo size is described and you can further create the shrinking and growing animations.

c) Rotation

Here, you will see the degrees orientation described and will create the different animation of spinning if you wish to.

Pro Tip

When you are working on the animated logo, you can work in reverse since you have to finish the animation on the complete and finished logo. It means you have to create the keyframe before you make any changes so that you have to have the perfect snapshots of the different values in the default state. Later you can shift these keyframes to the end point right on the timeline and devise the new keyframes to make the changes at the timeline start.

5) Logo Animation with Shape Layers

It’s time you learn some tricky animation techniques with the use of shape layers. These layers are the objects that have some pathing information which includes anchor points along with the connecting lines. When you manipulate these, they open the door to a complete host of all the possibilities of the animation that goes beyond the Transform property.

Start with going to the logo conversion and change it into the shape layer. In the comp panel of the layers, you have to select all the layers, right-click on the go to Choose then Create Shapes from Vector Layer. All the layers of the vector will be duplicated with the star that appeared next to it. It is a shape layer. Further, under the shape layer, look for the Content Property which is in the addition to the Transform Property. On the right of the Content Property, look for the Add button and it will let you select even more characters that you can animate.

Once you start with the process of analyzing all your newfound knowledge of the animation of the logo is based on some shapes manipulation and transformation. When you have found a few of the ones you can start working backward in the After Effects, in order to reverse all the engineers that the animations practiced on.

6) Animation Timing Adjustment

It’s time we take the moment to discuss timing that describes the animation frames pace throughout the animation. Further, you can see the visual representation of timing through the navigation of Graph Editor. In order to do that make sure you click on the Graph icon which is on the top of the panel of the timeline and it will change the timeline that goes into the linear graph.

When you click on the attributes of Keyframe you will come across the straight line from one keyframe to another. Since you have only been developing starting and ending stages of the keyframes, it is time you should leave it all up to After Effects in order to calculate all the timings. Without any direction, the paces of every After Effects animation frame evenly results in the perfect straight line.

Nevertheless, when you vary all the timings in a definite way it gives the animation a realism sense. Such as, in an animation of the bouncing ball, the ball goes slower to its height and runs faster when it is close to the ground. This is mainly because of the gravity and momentum of the ball. It can also be said that the ball does not really move at the same speed all over the animation and even if it does, it comes out as a robot.


Myself Nicole Botello, I have been working in the field of web design since 2005. I am currently working as an independent designer.

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