Top 14 explainer video styles in 2017

"The explainer video style you choose tells a lot about your business goals and your message."

On average, a user stays on a website for 10 to 20 seconds only. It is extremely difficult to convince your potential customer or the visitor, even if you are relying on videos. With the scope of animations expanding rapidly, animators and creative directors are experimenting with various styles of explainer videos today. Understanding the available options for your business is essential while making one. So we gathered a list of top explainer video styles that have been used by brands and businesses around the world, which have proven to be effective, if executed properly indeed!

1) Isometric

Isometric is common in the gaming world. Animators use this display technique for 2D imagery to create a 3D illusion. In this style of video, characters usually look much like block images. To make it simpler, 2D graphics are prepared to represent a 3D environment. There’s a human touch to these cool and playful videos.

2) Minimalistic Vector

This technique is used to create cleaner and smoother animations. Technically speaking, the motion is controlled not by pixels, but by vectors in this method. Hence, the graphic appearance of videos created by minimalistic vector technique is clearer compared to others.

3) Cel & Frame by Frame

Expanding to celluloid, Cel is a transparent sheet. The animator draws or paints various objects on it to create the traditional animation. Together (Cel and frame by frame), it is the style where an animator draws each frame of the scenes in the animation by hand. It’s more like the cartoons you have grown up watching. It is one of the most costly and time-consuming options.

4) Collage & Cut Out

Collage and cut-out technique include small portions of different materials like stiff photographs, cardboards, etc., used for producing animation. Today, experts use vector graphics or scanned images in the whole process. And the best part is – you can develop complex figures quite smoothly in cut-out animation. These are very engaging and best for B2C enterprises to create a strong bond between brand and customer.

5) Pen and Ink

In this video style, the objects are a little rough, sketchy and loose. Most importantly, the objects in Pen & Ink animation are hand drawn and look stellar.

6) Outline / Dope Art

While you are already familiar with what dope art is, explainer videos in this style are extremely attractive, fun-filled and effective.With simple outlined characters and objects, you can convey complex messages without confusing your audience with complex graphics.

7) Parallax (With Images)

This is another popular explainer video style where the foreground content (image) and the background content (image) move at different speeds. These effects make the videos extremely pronounced and subtle.

8) Stock Footage & Overlays

Stock footages are video footages which have already been captured and can be used again in any new production. Usually, these (royalty-free footages) are moving images of wildlife, people, birds, landmarks, vehicles, etc. Additionally, using overlay, one screen is animated on top of the other to create maximum effect of the messages in the video.

9) 2.5D with 3D elements

Here, the animator will create 2D animation in 3D space using different techniques with some 3D elements. Sometimes, they use tricks of shadow to make the 2D look like 3D and customize the video according to the viewers’ interests.

10) Full 3D Animation

You can term it as the most advanced form, offering incredible opportunities to both animators and businesses. 3D animators use high-end, complex software to sweep the viewers through rich, dimensional imagery in full 3D explainer videos.

This style creates a virtual world rather than narrating stories, using realistic lighting, materials and objects. It is one of the most expensive explainer video style options available.

11) Motion Graphics

In this technique, experts use graphic elements like different styles, patterns and colors to explain abstract or complex product or service. Also, animators can easily mix motion graphics with other animation styles, giving the human touch on the characters. Precise detailing is essential for the transition between movements and frames. Generally there are fewer characters involved in these types of works. The main focuses are on the shapes, and stunning transformations.

12) Live Action

Live action videos feature real people expressing real human emotions. This type of video humanizes a business highlighting its major aspects and culture. It also gives a personality to your corporate enterprise, ensures authenticity, improves your viewer’s knowledge and builds a personal relationship with the target group. A sense of humor works really well with this type of videos. We have seen brands such as “Dollar Shave Club” transforming from zero to hero using this approach.

13) Animation & Images

It’s an effective method to feature the actual image of products without becoming a boring slideshow. This type of video is best executed when it is accompanied by catchy and upbeat motion graphics and animation. A fast-paced approach keeps the audience engaged while showcasing the product images one by one with visually stunning motion graphics.

14) Stop Motion

In stop motion, an object is manipulated physically in small increments and then photographed. The photographer captures 1 frame at a time. When you play the frames in a sequence, the object appears to be moving. Here, the medium can be anything, including clay, puppet, graphic and even silhouette. Extremely fun to watch, these are ideal for companies intending to leave a long lasting impression with their introduction. Producing stop motion videos, require a vast amount of production time and it is generally a very tedious process. So expect to receive high quotes when enquiring about such videos.


The explainer video style you choose tells a lot about your business goals and your message. Instead of ‘what’s coolest of the lot’, select the one that best suits your marketing campaign’s objectives. Your approach will ultimately generate more leads and increase sales, giving you better ROI.

When producing explainer videos, you are faced with two options. The first option is to make a video that people love to watch and share with one another and the second option is to make a video that you and your colleagues love. We suggest the first option!


Sources & Credits :

Jacklyn Chung

Marketing Executive at Explainer Videoly Pte. Ltd.
Being part of the Kasra Design family for many years, Jacklyn takes care of the marketing tasks, be it online or offline.