If you’ve been browsing around YouTube, you might have noticed a new type of video gaining popularity. A video that breaks down a concept to make it easier to understand, usually with some narration or expert guiding you through it. That’s an explainer video! While mostly used for marketing, there are explainer videos for anything from complex scientific theories to how to use a new product. And it’s not hard to see why they’re so popular. They’re a fantastic tool for simplifying potentially complex ideas into digestible, animated and entertaining content.
Now if you’ve seen explainer videos, you know they come in a ton of different forms.
So to give you a quick run-down, here are some of the various types of explainer videos out there:
First are the 2D animated videos. You’re probably familiar with this style of animation from your Sunday cartoons as a kid. Hand-drawn cel animation, or made with software, they’re the simplest and easiest to produce.
Stepping up a dimension, we arrive at 3D explainer videos. These use more depth in animation, giving a more realistic view of the product or concept. This extra depth can make the visuals feel much more sensory than 2D ones.
If you fancy more graphics and less character-driven videos, motion graphics might just be your cup of tea. These explainer videos apply graphic design principles to animation and moving graphic elements.
And for that human touch, we have live-action explainer videos. These feature real people explaining a concept, product, or service, often using props. This can be an expert or professional talking about their specialty, or an actor describing from a script.
Finally, there are those videos that give you the best of both worlds. Usually live-action with some animated elements on top, these can also come in the form of 2.5D videos (fake depths) or the use of both 2D and 3D to tell their story.
Top 60 Explainer Videos Across 24 Industries (2023 List)
So now that we’ve discussed what explainer videos are made of, let’s have a look at some of the best across 24 industries. All carefully curated by our team:
This one takes on more of a hybrid approach, using both 2D images and animation as well as live-action footage. Onfido uses this to signal the difference between the current predicament and their solution. The past in-person visits are animated with black and white images while Onfido’s personalization uses live-action footage in full colour, signalling the burst of energy that that human bond gives. It’s a great play on animation and live-action videos.
As a video vision statement, this clip is made to communicate just what Techless wants to accomplish. Techless uses a mix of 2D and 3D elements to highlight the constricting nature of technology overuse and the freedom of reduction. Using white circles as stand-ins for the viewer, this explainer video takes us on a journey to understand the purpose of Techless.
Cryptocurrency is always a bit tricky to explain due to its complexity. NimbusPlatform.io tackles this by using visual metaphors to signal the decentralised and straightforward way they do things. The fluid 3D animations communicate these qualities while adding a fun sensory aspect with the depth and texture of the models.
The fast pace of modern life means a lot of us don’t have time to keep a close eye on our health. That’s what Trihealth is for. With its bouncy 3D animations, Trihealth uses visual parallels between everyday actions and treatment to show the ease and convenience they provide. It’s simple, but that’s exactly what Trihealth strives to be.
Mental health is a tricky subject to tackle and depict. For such complex topics, expression trumps realism, and that’s why Mezamé chose a more stylised 2D design. As the narration explains EMDR therapy, the art reflects the emotions of the patient. The perspective shifts around them, centring them and their needs. And that’s just what Mezamé does too.
The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) fosters scientific studies and disseminates information regarding the mechanisms of brain development, all with the aim of promoting beneficial health outcomes throughout an individual’s life. Using 2D, 3D and hand-drawn animations, they play around with perspective to keep things interesting while still keeping the focus on their mission in this explainer video.
National Institute for Health Research
Postpartum depression is a difficult subject to broach, but it’s important to let mothers know that they’re not alone in what they’re experiencing. The smooth 3D landscape takes on a spectrum of colours that communicate the emotions of the mother taking on the burden on her own. The video guides the viewer through a tough topic gently, giving good advice and tips while making sure the tone doesn’t get too heavy.
Motion Design School
It’s no secret that motion design is all the rage when it comes to videos nowadays. But all design, especially one requiring this much technical knowledge, needs skill. That’s where Motion Design School steps in. With a beautifully animated video, showing that this school is the real deal, the video walks through the exact journey that many find themselves on with motion design. But this time, there’s a solution.
No one goes to a design school with bad design, so Shillington Education truly set out to impress. Swerving through a mix of 2D and 3D animation, the visuals follow along as the voiceover guides you through just what the course provides. It’s dynamic and well-animated, just like how your work will be when you train under Shillington Education.
International talent is an underrated resource, and NAFSA is here to show just how valuable they are. With the use of avatars, NAFSA humanises international students as the narration talks about the importance and benefits that they bring. The smooth 2D animation here is used not just to give visual appeal, but to show international students as more than just a faceless idea.
Meet Grommet, a shopping platform for unique products from entrepreneurs and small businesses. Incorporating real images into the animation, Grommet showcases real products available on their platform. This piques the viewers’ interest while still keeping things classy and lighthearted with the graphics and narration.
HOLYFANCY does sustainable bags like no other. With this stop-motion clip, HOLYFANCY shows you the material, the bag, and the functionality — all without a single word. The use of real images adds to this instinctual understanding, and the upbeat background track keeps the energy flowing throughout.
Another wordless video, Thunders Love’s clip of how their socks are made comes with the same instinctual understanding. 3D Simulations of the cotton fibres fluff up on the screen, twirling into threads that form the final pair of socks. Even detail is shown, creating a great sensory feeling, and you get the whole process without needing any further guidance.
5) Food and Beverage
When it comes to food, the senses are king. Castello Sensations shows that it understands this well, with its brilliantly rendered wheels of brie. Soft yet firm melted brie flows out of the wheel, and the camera zooms at different parts of the narration for emphasis. This impressive display gives the viewer a perfect sense of its texture without any actual contact.
There’s nothing like a gin and tonic after a long day at work. Hendrick’s new Amazonia Gin Spot gives you just that, with a twist. Featuring exciting botanicals from all over, this video introduces this line-up with the flair of old-timey explorers. Animated illustrations combine with real-life footage to create a charming and tasteful clip.
Every brand needs a good introductory video, and Quilt made sure to make an impression with theirs. The lush green fields of Napa Valley get transformed into a stitched quilt here, reflecting the diversity and richness of Quilt’s selection. The flowy animation makes everything stunning, and together with the voiceover, tells you just what Quilt Wines is about.
Similar to the video on mental health, the world of dating requires greater creativity to properly represent. The video cycles through the possibilities that could come with swiping right on a person, with the 2D animation utterly saturated in exciting pink and purple. The colourful palette and fluid animations replicate that rush of dating, and that’s just what you can expect using OkCupid.
Dating doesn’t always have to be serious. Tinder keeps it cheeky with a wonderfully detailed 3D video, showing love throughout the ages. Calling back to caveman times, the video emphasises the innate human connection in love, and shows how Tinder can bring us back to that simplicity — with none of the barriers.
7) Tourism & Travel
Culture Trip – London
Haven’t been to London yet? Culture Trip’s here to entice you with a bite-sized video of everything it has to offer! Paired with recordings of interviews on what people like about London, each unique aspect is compressed into charming animated panels. It’s colourful, it’s fresh, it’s London.
Ever feel unsure of how to act in a new place? Well, this Travel Etiquette series is just for you! Running through a few norms and customs across different countries, the Travel Channel makes a little video guidebook. Charming 2D animated people from all over set the scene while the narration gives a light-hearted view of what’s going on.
Preparing for a trip is always stressful, and United Airlines is here to make it just a bit easier. A series of travel tips are drawn up with some delightful 2D animations, showing what to expect and just how to do what you need to do. It’s a moving billboard that sticks with you far better than a static image would ever have.
8) Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is all the rage these days, and Intel’s got their own to show. With fast-moving 3D animations, Intel depicts the complexity of the analysis AI goes through. Then, the video zooms out to show live-action footage of the simple, everyday actions that all that power goes to support. This blend highlights the seeming mundanity of what AI achieves, but shows us the real importance of AI and the depth behind the scenes.
So, how does AI work, anyway? This is a question that many find themselves asking as the rise of AI programs continues. And TED-ED is here to answer us. With such a complex topic, TED-ED makes use of visual metaphors to explain in detail. Going through the various types of machine learning, the focus stays on the information while the animation stimulates us, making sure we’re both learning and being entertained.
Mercedes created a captivating video to showcase the enduring legacy and timeless appeal of their brand, using amber as a powerful metaphor. Illustrating that the legendary spirit of Mercedes continues to thrive in the new 2018 models, macro perspectives of amber resin were tied with views of landscapes. The video communicates the enduring and timeless allure of Mercedes, affirming that the legend indeed lives on.
In honour of their 100th anniversary, Bentley made a video going through their history and legacy. The video makes use of 3D and 2D animation elements to highlight the power of Bentley’s engines, as well as to pay homage to their founder. It’s a stunning dive into this iconic brand’s history.
In a quick and fun video, Volkswagen demonstrates their smart sensing system. With rounded 3D animations and a catchy, trending track, the video walks us through the various functions of their IQ Safety system. And it does so without ever losing our attention.
When it comes to their cars, BMW wants to look to the future. This motif of ‘fowardism’ comes forth in the narrator’s exploration of the evolution of art movements. Animating various iconic art pieces, the video creates a larger-than-life feel, adding to the grandness associated with BMW.
Government plans and schemes can be really hard to understand, with pages of technical jargon that scare most off. Velco understands this and avoided that by making a video to explain their 2021 plan instead. With a mix of 2D and 2.5D animation, the video guides us through every step of the plan. The visuals are fluid and eye-catching while still serving as an easy-to-understand guide.
No one said biofuels have to be boring. With this fast-paced and fun video, ExxonMobil walks us through their discovery of algae-based biofuels and the potential they hold. The video jumps from rendered 3D shots of the organism to real-life footage of the things it can power, using the contrast in size to emphasise the power of this biofuel.
11) Real Estate
Airbnb lets us know the options we have when booking with them with a delightfully animated video. Using two characters embodying the ‘devil’ and ‘angel’ of the main character, we flit through a variety of houses available as they push and pull on what to find. It’s a brilliant way of running through the different property types while still keeping it interesting, and the bouncy 3D models add charm to the whole affair.
Sustainability is the future, and Goodman is here to make sure we don’t get left behind. With 3D animation, Goodman envisions a greener future, showing off their optimised designs and visualising their plans with solar panels. The voiceover walks us through it all, creating an engaging yet informative video.
Looking to own your first property? There are a few things you need to know, and Nerdwallet’s got you covered! As the voiceover cycles through each tip, the animation follows suit, stylised by animating real-life images. The light-hearted tone of the narration and the quirky animation gives a unique appeal, while still centring around the main content.
Cryptocurrency is always a bit too complicated for most to get when they first hear about it. Luckily, Cake Defi knows this and is here to break it down for us. Decentralised finance is first explained to us through a voiceover paired with 2.5D isometrics, before the co-founder takes over to explain how Cake Defi makes things simpler. The voiceover gives clear direction while the co-founder’s expertise heightens the informative feel of the video. All enhanced with sleek animations that keep things interesting throughout.
Ever faced the headache of managing monthly expenses? You’re not alone. Bankwest knows this issue. It’s here to help. The tool they use? An engaging demonstration. It involves 3D animation and narration. Plus, a relatable character. The video portrays our financial woes in a clear manner. And it shows how their app can be the perfect fix.
Tokio Marine UltraPA
Insurance can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it’s a necessary one. Tokio Marine UltraPA makes this process a little easier in their video, with charming little avatars that act out the various situations their policies cover. The 2D animation takes on a softer feel while still being relatively minimalistic to ensure that the content stays clear. It’s an approachable but still illuminating video.
Insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Pier’s explainer video adopts a more playful angle, with bright and stylised animation to catch your attention and hold it. Avatars full of character go through the same relatable predicaments as we all do, then they show you just how Pier is here to help. It’s a delightful twist on the usual serious insurance advertisements.
National Geographic is known for their killer documentary series, and this time, they’re taking us into the world of machinery. Using a mix of live-action footage and motion graphics, they’ve made a captivating snapshot of what the series will be all about.
We all know scrolling takes up a good 30% of every Netflix session. We don’t know what to watch, and that’s fair, but it would be much better if we had something to click on right from the get-go. Netflix presents us with Netflix Recommended TV as the perfect solution. It does this with colourful 2D animation, a catchy background track, and a series of overlapping voices that create a lively ambience for the whole thing. It’s fun, and you understand just what it’s telling you.
Making an opening sequence for a series is a tough job. You need to encompass the vibe of the show while not giving too much away. El Chapo communicates the international notoriety of our main character with news headlines and sprawling maps, while El Chapo himself is shown in almost every shot, keeping him centred as the man behind it all. And it’s gorgeous, to boot.
15) Nonprofit Organization
Did you know that you have rights? The Geneva Convention says you do. And if you’d like a quick video to find out what they are, this is the one for you. With a series of whimsical 2D animations, the video runs through what human rights do, what they are, and how they came to be.
Talking about the effects of climate change can be scary, but we need to do it. JRS USA approaches this topic with delicacy while still making it approachable. The 2D animation centres around a family’s experience, emphasising the human cost of climate change. Beautifully made, it shines a light on the side of the climate change crisis that we don’t often focus on.
USA for UNHCR
A wonderful video made for World Refugee Day, USA for UNHCR shows us the story of one of the many refugees that we usually only hear about as faceless statistics in the news. Abdallah tells us about his journey finding himself after fleeing, as the stylised 2D animations convey the emotions throughout. The result is a deeply empathetic experience that teaches us much more about what refugees go through.
Whether it’s their yogurts or custards, Sojasun’s products are all delicious and soy-based. This video was made to introduce the concept of plant-based foods before they were the hottest new thing. Using a mix of live-action footage and cel animation, this mixed media video showcases all of Sojusun’s values and highlights the people behind it all.
With the unpredictability of weather conditions, agriculture is difficult to manage. And with the increasingly volatile climate, it’s even more so. Cravo’s retractable roof production system solves that, by creating a controlled environment for more consistency. This adaptability and its benefits are shown in the video through clean 2D animation, with narration guiding the viewer through it all.
In the race for profits, we can forget the importance of other factors in life. Mutant’s corporate responsibility video reminds the viewer of what we really stand to lose if we don’t start taking responsibility. With a beautifully stylised 2D video, a tragic cautionary tale of a dystopian future Singapore is shown, with the colour sapped out to highlight the loss of life.
How can we organically encourage businesses to preserve the environment? Earth Token asks this very question and presents itself as a solution. Using motion graphics and 2D iconography, the video explains how Earth Token works with a series of visual metaphors and examples while the voiceover ties everything together.
There’s a ton of plastic floating around, but it doesn’t need to be wasted. COPA 90 repurposes this plastic into apparel, turning them into threads that are woven to make football jerseys for some of the most popular teams. The collage animation using live-action footage and 2D illustrations combine to create a great introductory video. We learn about the problem of plastic waste, how they’re made into clothing, and the mission behind it all.
Offsetting emissions isn’t enough. Edge is here to announce their commitment to going net zero — both within their own company and in every building they construct. And they tell us about how they’re doing this with a mix of 2D animation and real-life footage. The scenes show us just what the narration describes, jumping from one scene to the next with the lively background track. It’s a fun, whimsical video that gets you pumped to join along.
While New York City reigns as one of the greatest cities in the world, it’s no secret that it;s extremely congested. Transportation Alternatives emphasises this claustrophobic feeling withan invasive ambience where music is expected, slowing down to focus on the lag in traffic. The music and colours then become brighter as their solution is shown, highlighting the power of the spatial equity they strive to achieve.
Showing is better than telling, and DHL does just that in this explainer video. With no narration, the clip shows a series of 3D scenes of stacking boxes, various items, and the upbeat track. While not in your face, all these scenes communicate DHL’s organisation, diversity, and speed in service.
Sometimes what you need to show is more of a feeling. If that’s what you’re going for, Rosetto Lippa’s clip is a perfect example. With beautiful, fluid animations, the floral essence of the lipstick is displayed throughout, paired with motifs of flowers growing out of various places. With these sequences, you sense the strength, elegance, and luxury of Rosetto Lippa.
Mary Kay is all about the colours, and it shows. With a series of rendered simulations, Mary Kay’s lipsticks, mascara, and other products run through a whirl of bright colours. Paired with the catchy beats in the background, this explainer video showcases Mary Kay’s products, while infused with energy that invites you to join.
21) Crypto & Blockchain
Cryptocurrency often has a cold, technical feel to it. Minima wanted to do things differently and used a painted style in their 2D animation to introduce their vision. Colours and lines are used to highlight the illumination that a decentralized system can bring, and the people drawn serve to underline the focus on the consumer when it comes to Minima’s empowerment.
Nansen’s goal was simple – to introduce their brand and demystify their mission in an engaging, educational format. For this, they went for a sleek 2.5D isometric design with glow elements to jazz up the animation. Smooth narration explains Nansen’s role, paired with upbeat music that dances with the motion graphics. All these elements worked together to craft a compelling narrative, making blockchain technology easier to digest.
22) Law & Legal
Ballymun Community Law Centre
When it comes to intimidating subjects, it doesn’t get much scarier than the law. Nonetheless, we need to know how things go where we are, and Ballymun is here to help. With some cute 3D avatars, the video walks us through the various situations that a parent might run into with a social worker. By breaking it down into these easy-to-understand scenarios, we become much more aware of what to take note of and how to act when put into these situations. And it’s all animated so delightfully that it’s sure to stick with you.
When it comes to matters of the law, especially international law, you’re going to want an expert. DLA Piper shows you why they’re the right choice, communicating their expertise and experience through a mix of collage animation and live-action footage. The result is a more inviting representation of what you can expect if you decide to go with DLA Piper, and why you won’t regret it.
For its 175th anniversary, Canadian paper and pulp giant Domtar decided to create a video celebrating its rich history and community ties. Taking an imaginative approach, they combined 2D and 3D animations with historic photos from their own archives. Using keyframe, 3D, and cel animation (frame-by-frame) techniques, they were able to craft a unique video that truly encapsulates their journey.
We’ve all heard about the impact of waste from the fashion industry. Well, Circular Systems is a company that turns waste into high-quality fibre, yarn, and fabric for the fashion industry. They created a video to showcase the waste issue of the fashion industry and how their innovative fabric solution can help tackle this. Quite the visual treat, the video features a unique blend of highly stylised 2D and collage animations.
A healthy employee is a happy one, and Gympass is here to make it that much easier for them to keep in shape. With charming claymation-styled 3D animation, Gympass keeps things light while talking through the benefits of having access to a gym anytime, anywhere.
For the Atlanta Hawks’ Peach 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition Uniform release, they aimed for more than just a jersey reveal. This explainer video showcases the jersey’s highlights. Capturing the unique vibe of Atlanta and Hawks fans using textured, rhythmic animations. Featuring key players and fans, these promos were tailor-made love letters to the Hawks community, just like their new Peach City Edition jerseys.
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