If you’re looking for the best way to market products and teach people about services, then business animation is the solution. In this article we’ll consider the reasons why explainer videos are so effective. We’ll highlight winning features of the top 10 hand drawn explainer videos in 2020, after first taking a close look at how they reach viewers and sell products.
In any crowded marketplace, getting attention is the key to getting sales
There’s something powerful about watching a hand while it’s drawing, writing, or doing anything else by itself, especially when it’s close to the eye.
In his 1948 litho “Drawing Hands,” the well-known graphic artist M.C. Escher anticipated today’s social media-fueled trend toward hand drawn explainer videos as a way to grip viewers’ attention and deliver a clear message.
Animated explainer videos are stronger marketing vehicles than traditional live-action videos. That’s because the combination of audio plus video content boosts memory retention, and animated characters are more engaging than human actors.
How does a hand drawn explainer video work?
Marketers rely on hand drawn videos to stir viewers’ emotions and keep them engaged long enough to explain complex topics.
But what exactly is an animated video, and why are they so effective at converting prospects into buyers?
The basics of whiteboard animation
By definition, animation videos start with a whiteboard or similar blank background. In the classic style, there’s a hand (or writing tool) that sketches out the topic using a storyline.
Sometimes there’s a narrator voice-over to accompany the on-screen drawing, or music to fit the topic. Usually, there’s on-screen text or other graphic elements to help flesh out the story and call viewers into action.
Let’s go back to the drawing board – or rather – we’ll return to the time when business animation first became popular.
In the early days, whiteboard videos were physically drawn by hand. They were recorded by an actual video camera, generally using over-the-shoulder techniques.
As time went by, technologies improved and the demand for high-quality whiteboard videos led to the development of better 2D images. Of course, today our talented artists produce winning results using a variety of powerful 3D animation tools and special effects.
The old classic style of manual animation recorded by video was extremely time-intensive. Any small mistake in drawing a storyline would ruin the entire sequence.
Just like when filming a Hollywood movie, the more “takes” an artist needed to get good results, the longer and more costly the project became.
Artists were frustrated, business owners were disappointed, and viewers were bored.
But nowadays everything is digital, and the technology is so powerful that it gives any true artist a godlike power to create compelling content.
Marketers are constantly developing new ways to use animated whiteboard videos and hand drawn videos for education, advertising, marketing, and customer service.
How is a hand drawn explainer video different from other types of animated videos?
Business animation is such a flexible creative medium that the boundaries between various techniques are constantly evolving. Animated whiteboard videos and hand drawn explainer videos share many similarities, but there are a few differences between them.
Here are the classic characteristics of a hand drawn animation video:
A clear background
It’s usually a white background, i.e. a whiteboard, but sometimes it’s represented as a piece of lined or blank paper, a blank wall, or any other “flat” surface suitable for writing.
The creative key to marketing success is to make sure the writing surface highlights your narrative or otherwise promotes your theme somehow.
The storyline is usually illustrated with a continuous drawing, in which the screen is quickly filled in with hand-drawn figures that lead viewers through a well-written script.
Among the best hand drawn explainer videos in 2020 are several types which rely on the classic method of using only a single black marker onscreen.
Others use a more liberal approach by adding in a few more colors beyond black, and perhaps inserting icons or other graphic elements.
Our team often uses the client’s logo color or some other relevant shade into the process, in order to weave their brand deeper into the content.
A hand that draws the lines
What’s the distinction between a standard animated video and a hand-drawn video? It’s all in the “hand.”
The defining difference is how the lines are drawn. The choice of drawing method is very important for strategic marketing purposes, as we’ll describe later.
If a video doesn’t use a representation of a human hand, or even just a “magic pen” that draws by itself, then it’s not truly a hand-drawn explainer video. It’s considered some other type of business animation, of which there are several.
Now let’s walk through some valuable tips gleaned from animated video explainer experts who created the best animated explainer videos in 2020.
Use the right format for your storyline
A traditional storyboard for live-action video approach would first introduce the product, then list its benefits, and close by asking for the sale.
However, that old outdated marketing approach doesn’t work for whiteboard animation. With animated videos, the only way to be successful is to use a character-centered, problem-solving model like this –
- Introduce an animated character as the “hero” of your video
- Describe a problem that confronts your hero
- Highlight the frustration and pain your hero feels because of their problem
- Present a product or service that can resolve the hero’s problem, and help your viewers too
- Highlight the benefits – not features – of your product
- Show your hero enjoying the benefits of a better life
- Close the story by calling viewers into action (CTA) to buy your products to solve their own problems
Write a killer script
Just like blockbuster movies, the highest-converting hand drawn explainer videos in 2020 all rely on effective scripts. Most explainer videos are only a minute or two in length, so they need to grip viewers’ attention and deliver a message quickly.
The character-centered storyline gives you a fast, natural way to show benefits and solutions. That’s all viewers are interested in learning about.
Most people can’t remember big numbers and complex technical details in a 90-second video.
But they’ll always recognize and remember your name (or your hero’s name) once you’ve shown them a good solution for their problems!
Tell a clear, simple story
The storyline in your script is the foundation for success. The next step is to create an effective storyboard based on it.
The storyboard is your sequence of visual scenes and events for the video. It describes how the story plays out on screen. A storyboard is especially important because it also determines how and where voice-overs and special effects will be used.
The storyboard uses sketches or graphic cues to show each scene. Along with each scene there’s a description of the action, as well as the narrator’s script and other production instructions.
The animator’s work is to create drawings and animations to connect each scene into a complete, moving work.
That way, the visual scenery will flow smoothly through the steps of introducing your hero and solving their problem, and finally closing for the viewer’s commitment.
Focus on the product’s problem-solving benefits, not its features
As suggested earlier, the best animated explainer videos in 2020 all focus on presenting a problem-solving benefit as their central theme. Lists of features and technical details won’t help you in a whiteboard video.
Call viewers into action
Once your animated hero has solved their problems using the benefits of your product, it’s time to ask viewers to take the next step. Usually, the call-to-action means asking viewers to buy your products, yet it could also mean asking them to make any other type of commitment.
For example, one of our recent projects is a public-service announcement regarding COVID-19. Of course, that explainer video’s CTA urges viewers to take health and safety precautions, not to buy products.
Use the best voice-over & post-production tools
Making an effective animated explainer video requires more input than just whiteboard animation alone. That’s because audio + visual = increased memory retention in viewers.
To grip viewers and spread the message with authority, we usually add a recorded voice-over narration to “tell the story.”
Music and special effects also help imprint the message into viewers’ minds. Of course, there’s also a bit of written text on the screen.
The right voices for animated characters
The same as with all other types of successful whiteboard animation videos, the best whiteboard explainer videos in 2020 each have a combination of voice-over and post-production effects.
Remember that people buy the most from other people who are most similar to themselves. When it’s time to deliver your message, choose only native speakers who can effectively deliver that message in the target language.
The best talents for voice-over are versatile artists who can provoke a positive emotional response with a broad range of tones and inflections. Those are the winning characteristics of skilled narrators such as our own team members.
A showcase of the best hand drawn explainer videos
There are many good whiteboard explainer videos to watch. Of course, any judgment is subjective. Still, it’s important to recognize and highlight certain winning elements they all have in common.
According to our own team of animated video explainer experts, below are the top 10 hand drawn explainer videos of 2020.
We’ll look at the highlights of why they’re so successful at engaging viewers and driving clickthrough rates.
This animated video turns a ho-hum topic (recycling) into a fresh, compelling reminder about the importance of reducing, recycling, and reusing household trash and waste. It grips the eye with simple yet fast-moving animation.
The story told by this recycling-instruction video is certainly not dramatic – Recycling seems like a topic fit for the bone pile.
Yet, the artistic team still managed to breathe new life into a tired subject during this highly engaging public-service project. Another expert touch is the use of plenty of green and blue colors to signify Earth-friendliness.
To produce this attention-getting video, the team combined animated characters and graphic elements together with on-screen text and theme music. Overall, this production succeeds in making an easily-forgettable topic much more memorable.
Data anonymization is an important industry, yet difficult to describe. This highly effective whiteboard explainer video uses a combination of on-screen graphic elements, text, and crisp audio voice-over to achieve excellent results.
This explainer video quickly describes the problem to be solved, which is the need to anonymize data in order to comply with privacy laws.
After explaining the problem, this video highlights the benefits of the Truata system – An opportunity to gather valuable marketing insights from de-identified data, while complying with applicable privacy requirements.
Although its run-time is about a minute longer than most animated explainer videos, the Truata explainer does a perfect job of using that time to present a complete view of their data de-identification and analysis process.
This simple-yet-brilliant animated video explainer describes gene therapy development services. Its combination of animated whiteboard video and hand drawn video techniques clearly illustrates the process of teaching complex concepts to viewers.
This brief explainer video about computer services is packed full of animated characters, moving graphic elements, and written text. The audio voice-over perfectly stitches together a coherent service proposal for viewers, and the video overall delivers a very convincing message to buyers.
This animated explainer video is a work of marketing artistry because it presents its utility switch-and-save service offer in record time – Fewer than 30 seconds of run-time.
It packs a powerful punch into a small package by using caveman-simple graphic elements with animated characters to instantly illustrate the benefits.
This Irish-Canadian travel promotion video is at the top of its class. Sponsored by corporate giant Guinness, this brilliant animated video gives essential cultural information to travelers while subtly promoting responsible drinking while on holiday.
This video focuses on teaching viewers about the importance of having industry standards to protect us in our daily lives. It’s exceptionally successful at highlighting a ho-hum topic, then showing why it’s so important.
This award-winning animated explainer video was created for Isle of Man Meats. Within a run-time less than 2 minutes, this elegant promotional video manages to capture the essence of an entire industry if not the entire culture of the island.
This highly effective video explainer presents a perennial personnel problem – How to find and hire the right workers – and then shows a simple solution.
Animated characters and graphic elements work smoothly with a crisp voice-over, and just enough on-screen text to ensure that the message is clear. This is a great example of how business animation can help illustrate solutions for workplace needs.
Crafted as an in-house promotional video, this attention-grabbing production features a cast of engaging characters and confident voice-overs. Graphic elements complement the animation, and all is explained by expert narrators.
The winning format of this production often leads viewers to choose our services. That’s why we’re so proud to highlight the creative successes of our team as represented by these top 10 hand drawn explainer videos in 2020,
Would you like to harness the power of hand drawn explainer videos?