Q&A: Designer Ryan Rumbolt on the Future of Motion Graphics

Ryan Rumbolt, founder of Wonderlust Media, is a motion designer who is an expert at the explainer video. We recently picked his brain to find out how he works, where the motion graphic industry is headed, and what he just can’t stand. (Spoiler: Put your whiteboards away.)


But first, a look at his work:

Are You Wondering?


How did you get into motion graphics? 

In 2005, I completed a 2-year program in Computer Animation at The International Academy of Art and Design in Toronto. Within weeks of graduating, I managed to land to a full-time position as a 3D compositor for a variety of children’s programming at DHX Media in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (That’s on the beautiful east coast of Canada for those not familiar with Halifax.) After 5 years working that position, I became quite bored working with children’s television. It was around the same time that I discovered motion design. Everything about motion graphics catered to my design sensibilities, and, because I’d already spent years working in Adobe After Effects, the shift to motion designer came quite easy. I learned the ins and outs of Adobe Illustrator,and spent hundreds of hours learning Cinema 4D. Eventually, some videos I posted on Vimeo started getting attention, which lead to some small freelance gigs. Working a full-time job and freelancing was a bit much to take on, so I quite my full-time job and opened my own studio, Wonderlust Media. Now I work with a small team of some of the best in the design world, creating stories for startups, nonprofits, and established businesses.

Why do you like motion graphics in particular?

The storytelling aspect of motion graphics excites me most. From a young age, I have always loved telling stories. Finally, with motion graphics and explainer videos, I can translate those stories into fun and compelling video. Meeting with a client, searching for their story, finding it, and sharing it with the world really excites me.

What are your biggest pet peeves in motion graphics/explainer videos?

My biggest pet peeve in the world of motion graphics is the whiteboard video. They do absolutely nothing to showcase a brand’s personality, but they are seemingly everywhere. While they may be cheap to produce, I feel a company should invest a little more in creating something very unique and original to their brand. An explainer video is often used as an introduction to the world; using whiteboard video is equivalent to wearing sweatpants to a business meeting.

Is there anything you do that might not be considered industry standard?

After creating an explainer video, I usually follow up within weeks after client delivery to ensure their video is getting the results they hoped for. If it isn’t, I help implement a strategy that will attract more viewers. That strategy might be as simple as placement on a landing page, or creating a marketing campaign based on the video.

What do you see as upcoming future trends?

I think flat design will continue to be a trend. Isometric design is also popping up a lot in videos lately. We will begin to see a shift in the motion graphics pipeline as Photoshop becomes a great tool for both vector design and animation (with the ease of adding texture). Abstract shape animation will eventually fade out to be replaced by more character-driven stories. Magazine covers will eventually be replaced by animated digital covers. Video aspect ratios will change to fit smartphones. Animated content will be everywhere, hopefully. The future does look incredibly bright for a motion graphics artist.

What’s the best piece of creative advice you’ve received?

Learn what you love. When I first started, I thought it was necessary to learn every tool and technique in motion design. But, that just isn’t true. Focus on a style you love (flat illustration, cel animation, 3D, or texture) and master it.

What are your favorite motion graphics?

My favorite motion graphics are pieces that can change the world for the better, or animations for a cause, as they are sometimes referred to. Planet Under Pressure by Moth Collective is just incredible:

Also Costa Sunglasses // Kick Plastic by Giant Ant:

We can use animation as a tool to change how people think, and the pieces that do accomplish that are incredibly inspiring.

How do you wish motion graphic designers would push the industry? 

We can push the industry by educating clients on what exactly it is that makes a video stand out and be compelling. Design, story, voiceover, animation, sound design – these are all very important factors in quality. By being firm on our rates, we as a collective can demand better budgets and, ultimately, have the freedom to create better content. On the other hand, because of the popularity of online video, we will unfortunately be subjected to more content that some may consider as noise (whiteboard videos).

Check out more of Ryan’s videos below, and follow him on Vimeo, Dribble, Behance, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook

Scripted Explainer


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