Buffer is a best-in-class social media management platform made for modern, online brands, providing them with the tools they need for visual marketing, audience engagement, and analytics. The goal was to increase awareness that Buffer is more than a scheduling tool. We wanted to show smooth transitions between the functions of 3 products – Publish, Analyze, and Engagement.
We ended with 77 seconds long video that shows the value of three Buffer experiences clearly. Simplified design and neat animations were key to create a catchy video. This promotional animation was used in the pre-launch campaign on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram ads. After the Engage feature was published, it was also embedded on the Buffer’s homepage.
After the initial launch for Australia and New Zealand, people played 73,8% of the media on average.
- Storyboard development
- Motion Graphics
I received the task from Buffer, a product company, to make their first explainer video. This is always a big challenge because my role isn’t just to make an animation but also to educate my new partner. I helped them understand how animated video production looks, and I explained what will be needed in the next stages. I was involved in a storyboard review and overall shaping of the final look of the project.
Buffer’s illustrations communicate the message that reflects the Buffer personality of human relations, friendships, and diversity. Following that thought, Julia, the art director, and designer of this project prepared illustrations that fit this idea.
After a few iterations and discussions on the overall look, we agreed on our future video’s final form. The general idea was to show in a minimalistic and friendly way the problem of lack of time. Julia created a simplified look of the Buffer application in Figma software. Illustrations and characters have been drawn in Affinity Designer and then exported to Adobe Illustrator. She used colors from Buffer’s Design System. The yellow background represents general parts of the animation. Pink, blue, and green stands for specific products – Analyze, Publish, and Engagement.
The first idea of people from Buffer was to record a voiceover by themself. It seemed a great idea to make a voiceover by someone from the company. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the sound quality right. To not lose the quality of the whole animation, I decided we need to hire a professional voice actor. Sometimes you need to take a step back and find a different solution.
The opening scene was the most time-consuming and the most difficult. We wanted to show how the social media process is complicated and how many roles one person have to play. I received a frame showing the main character and other people among a maze of lines and arrows. Based on that one frame, I had to prepare 20 seconds of animation.
I wanted to show that the list of duties grows. I split the first scene into intermediate shots in which the main character feels more and more overwhelmed. Such a move required me to animate a lot of lines and synchronized everything with a voiceover.
Details make perfection. All characters follow the people appearing on the screen with their eyes. The moment I like the most is when a camera takes a photo. The main character instinctively closes her eyes and tilts her head back.
Support the narration
The story is the most important in animation. You cannot be too attached to the illustration. That’s why we changed few things to support the narration. The main character was split from the Facebook logo. Together with Julia, we also changed the look of the designer. In the first version, he looked similar to an angry customer later in the animation. We also recolor the t-shirt to black because apparently, designers wear black.
Buffer never had an animated version of the logo. I decided to add life to the letters and make them more impactful but playful. The most challenging part was to be pixel perfect and create an invisible transition to the final logo. Half pixels are the nightmare when you split a shape into few pieces and then try to connect them. But everything can be worked out.
The story of the animation is based on building a loop referring to One Buffer product strategy. We wanted to show how easy to use Buffer is and how much product value for customers it brings. Publishing creates engagement, analyzing improves publishing. We presented this single connected experience inside the Buffer application.
I was super excited about this part. Product animation is always fun. Julia simplified the design of Buffer’s tools, and I could make smooth animations focusing on the video’s main message. I also used an animated icon from the logo as a detail.
If you want to dig deeper, you can watch me in the creative process from start to finish. While working on this project, I recorded my screen to show you all the important steps. There were several dozen hours of work in Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, Figma, and Audition. Fortunately, I compressed it to less than an hour. You can see how I organize a project and what is my approach to animation. You can peek at my techniques and how I solve problems.
|Art Direction||Julia Jaskólska|
|Graphic Design||Julia Jaskólska|
|Motion Design||Bartłomiej Otłowski|
|Advice||Ash Read, Sophie Gil|