How-To

What is dynamics in digital design, and how does it work?

Graphic designers use dynamics and movement to make their work more exciting. It can help draw people in and make them take action. Here’s how to use it.

What’s the point of dynamics in design?

The primary goal of any design is usually to elicit a response. Dynamics can help designers achieve this goal and even get a very specific action or reaction from the audience.

Guiding the audience

When designers want viewers to focus more on specific parts of their creations, they use entrance points to then direct viewers to other details in the design. Designers often use arrows to achieve this goal.

Static but yet dynamic poster by Tom Crabtree and Manual studio

Creating excitement

If the goal is to surprise and make the viewer look more into the design, playing with the peculiarities of visual perception can help. Especially for designs that create a movement illusion when someone looks deeply at them. In this case, design elements seem to get bigger or smaller.

The shapes by Outcrowd are static. Or not?

Engaging the audience

To get the audience involved, sometimes designers create scenes that are literally breaking the fourth wall. If you add dynamic methods to a scene like that, the engaging effect will grow exponentially.

A girl that moves outside the box. Illustration by Icons8

Bringing the image to life

The most obvious impact of dynamics is the “vitalization” of the design. It is not just about demonstrating something – it is also about making the demonstration more engaging, motional, memorable, and lifelike, so the audience can relate to it more.

Who let the dog on the couch? 3D Illustration from Icons8

Types of dynamics

Rhythmic

Rhythmic dynamics is the type that uses the principles of rhythm and repetition. These designs are static, but repeated elements in them imitate motion.

Illustration work by Karan Singh for IBM US Open Sessions

 

Apart from lines, designers can also use colors, curves, shapes, etc., to create rhythmics. The most critical aspect of knowing how to use rhythmics is knowing how the human eye works. The designer should know where the audience will look first and how to use this knowledge when integrating rhythmic motion elements into the design. More about rhythm in graphic design, you can find in this article.

The illusion of motion

The illusion of motion is also the type where a static design appears to be moving. In this case, the different elements or components of the design interact with each other in a way that makes them look like they are moving while they are not actually doing so. Optical illusions are by far the most common example of this kind of motion in design.

Cube illusion by Divin Creador

Kinetic motion

Kinetic motion is the type where different elements of a design physically change their position in space and time. For example, an animated GIF.

 

Animated elements on websites are becoming more common, but designers have to be careful when using them. It can easily become too overwhelming and confuse the audience while slowing down a website or app.

How do designers achieve dynamics?

Dynamics can be used in a subtle way, similar to microinteractions (here’s a good article on microinteractions), or it can be the defining aspect of a design. Here are some methods designers use for that:

Lines

Lines can direct the movement of the eye and show that an element of a design is in motion. Moreover, they can also show the direction in which the object is moving. For example, the main point here is not the big red arrow, but the tiny lines around it. These lines show intention and movement:

Illustration by Icons8

Repetition

Repetition has been mentioned before as a popular method used in rhythmic designs. Using patterns can also be a way to create motion feeling.

Repetition art pattern by Orla Kiely

Disturbances

Medium disturbances can also create motion illusions. Designers use color, emphasis, shapes, etc., to separate a specific design element from the rest of the piece, which can infuse the element with motion.

Disturbance by xakher

Anticipated movement

Anticipated movement can be created by drawing an object in the initial stages of a specific movement. The audience understands what the designer wanted to convey and “imagines” the rest of the movement.

“Jumping ninja” experimental illustration by Icons8

Transparency and blurring

Transparency and blurring can both be used for creating dynamics. Imagine a hummingbird: its wings appear blurred because they are moving. That is what transparency and blurring are about.

The blurred train is “moving”. Commuter Characters by Mikey Dowdle

 

About the author

Odessa Powell has been copywriting and writing texts for business pages on social networks since her student years. She worked as an editor for the popular writing service review Best Writers Online. Currently, her range of professional interests includes the topics of self-development and motivation.

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