Book Review: Design for Motion

Staff Writer By: Nick Sorbin (nickcharles)


Title: Design for Motion
Paperback: 356 pages
Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (December 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1138812093
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.9 x 0.8 inches

I love motion graphics. From well-designed commercial ads to movie title sequences, and even wildly experimental pieces found on the web. The term motion graphics is usually confused in what exactly it encompasses. It is animation, yet it is not strictly character-driven. It tells a visual story with graphic imagery, but even traditional practices can be incorporated, such as stop-motion, or even manipulation of materials such as paint and sand. The best example of motion graphics is the movie title sequence, which can briefly tell the story of what lies ahead in the feature, or it can set the mood for what you are about to see.

And this brings me to a truly outstanding book I recently came across - Design for Motion, by Austin Shaw. Unlike most books concerning motion graphics, this book doesn't merely focus on driving imagery with motion, but it focuses on the design aspect. And, it is in recent years that the term motion graphics has evolved into motion design.

Design for Motion is a comprehensive text that covers everything from the pre-visualization stages to the finished deliverables to the client. From finding an initial idea or concept through word lists and mind-mapping, to creating style frames and design boards. From there, it covers different design aspects and practices to help in taking on any type of motion design work.

The final chapters are designed to get you creating specific projects: text based, illustration based, character based, etc. However, it must be noted that this is not a tutorial book. There are no completed projects to follow along with. But, the project exercises give you the framework from which to practice the techniques described using your own ideas. The aim is to get you thinking like a designer when approaching motion design work.

The layout of the book is excellent and the information is logically presented. Each chapter builds on the previous. The book is also filled with plenty of sample work from industry professionals, as well as student work.

The author, Austin Shaw, has been involved in motion design since the early 2000's and is currently a full-time professor of motion media design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. This book originates from his class on the subject. His writing clearly explains the concepts and he keeps the reader engaged. It's every bit like being in class.

Another great thing about this book is the Professional Perspectives sections throughout, which are short interviews with professionals in the field. Here you get a great look at samples of their work and processes, as well as tips to consider.

Design for Motion has quickly become a favorite book in my collection, and one I will get the most use out of. If you have an interest in motion design, or if you are just looking for inspiration and help in kickstarting any design project, I think this book is well worth your time.

You can get the book here through Routledge, or through Amazon (Amazon is currently cheaper).