How to find work as a motion graphics artist

By Michael Jones

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

If you’re looking to find work in the motion graphics industry, then this overview is for you. In this article i’ll cover how to find work as a motion graphics artist. In the interest of keeping this short and sweet we’ll focus on just 4 areas.

  1. Portfolio
  2. Studio & Agency Relationships
  3. Direct To Client
  4. Large Company/Institution

Portfolio

First, and most obviously, you need a portfolio that shows and describes your skill sets. This portfolio should contain the projects you’ve worked on and a clear description of your role on those productions.

You should decide the portfolio projects that make the most sense to display based on what you want to do in the field. If you want to art direct 2d ad’s, your portfolio should contain stunning style frames that work well for 2D animation production. If you want to work at a studio and do After Effects animation then your portfolio should be filled with amazing looking animation samples.

The industry is so big and varied, there is no one right answer for you. However, if you don’t have a portfolio then you don’t need to go any further, as these career paths all rest on the assumption you have one.

Studios & Agencies

The second area to consider is your ability to get hired as a contractor or employee at a production studio or advertising agency. Really any creative services company that actively hires artists to produce work for their clients. For many starting out in the field, this is the best type of environment to continue to grow and learn from other artists. It provides the chance to collaborate with more senior artists which is ideal for any junior artists starting out.

These types of businesses are usually concentrated in larger cities that have enough studios and agencies to support a robust labor force of digital artists and animators. In the worlds large cities, creative services is alive and well. Digital advertising is king and the content makers are going to be crucial for large consumer brands and B2B alike. This means that more people will start new studios and agencies to meet this growing demand. In turn, this means more job opportunities for those who want to do motion graphics for a living.

There are many studios and agencies you can contact but it’s important to research their work first and make sure your portfolio would make sense for them. 

Direct To Client

Motion designers can also find work directly with clients. When we say, “client,” we mean any business or institution that we serve directly. If a local coffee shop wants a 30 second film for the front of their website you could take them on as a client directly, independent of any studio or agency.

This does mean you are responsible for the sales and account management aspects of creative services for hire. You have to be ready to communicate, pitch, invoice, collect, produce, and deliver. For myself I found most of this to be pretty simple. There are enough web apps to help smooth out logistics and payments.

The biggest burden of direct to client is being the lead for the project. It’s all on you to make it a success that aligns with their expectations. This can be a tough task. However, direct to client is a great option for junior and senior artists alike, based on the financial upside of being a project lead as well as giving you a greater appreciation for the entire process of creative services.

Doing work for clients will make you a better production artist generally, but it does bring added burdens. The most obvious burden is finding clients yourself. This requires the basic principles of business development such as identifying the right clients, understanding their needs, and selling them a creative solution.

Large Companies & Institutions

Finally, the fourth major point is on large companies and institutions. We’ve seen a rapid rise of, “in-house,” creative teams at large companies and institutions. Large tech companies hire large in house creative teams that rival large ad agencies.

We see Universities, NGO’s, Non-Profits, Tech Companies, Pro Sports Teams, Large Religious Institutions, Political Parties, and Special Interest Groups, investing in creative services and hiring full time production artists. Obviously based on your interests, values, geography, this varies greatly. But it’s worth noting that digital communications is creating more opportunities for motion graphics artists to make a living across the entire spectrum of, for-profit and non-profit, orgs.

If you have a cause you are passionate about then this area could be of particular interest to you. Using your talents to communicate about important topics provides a reward beyond money. However, you also have to earn money and these organizations understand that. If you want to know how to find work as a motion artist, one answer is to look at large companies or institutions.

Large tech companies are actively building creative teams. A motion graphics artist at one of these companies is usually assigned to specific departments within the company. For example, a motion designer focusing exclusively on UI animations. This means your portfolio will need to match specific use cases that make sense for these companies. 

If you’re looking for work, it makes sense to follow the money, and right now tech has a lot of it. Naturally these positions are competitive so make sure you put your best foot forward in terms of portfolio. 

How To Find Work

Ok, so how do I find out who is currently hiring? Not surprisingly, the answer is, “Google it!”

When you search, “Motion Graphics Jobs,” in google search, google should redirect you to their google jobs engine which aggregates from a variety of sources. If you filter by geography you can get a snapshot of the jobs available and the types of companies or institutions who are hiring closest to you. 

The screen shot below is from my location outside Charlottesville, VA. Two colleges, federal government, church, software company, and a big bank. The point being, there are many more random motion graphics jobs outside of the studios and agencies than you might initially think. It’s worth using a google search if you’re hunting for motion graphics jobs.

If we do this same search, but set the location to London we get the screen shot below. Large media company, communications firm, and an assortment of creative agencies. 

Next screen shot is the location set to Nigeria. We see TV Production, Softcom (Tech), Bank Of Africa, Pettysave (Fin Tech). Again, an assortment of roles for motion designers. 

It’s also useful to check industry specific job boards for any listings that might be too obscure for Google to pick up. See a list of other job boards below:

Conclusion

It all starts with the portfolio, but if you’ve got that it’s time to start walking down your career path. You’ll need to figure out what makes the most sense given your experience level, area of interest, and geographical location. The growing need for digital artists at all types of businesses and institutions has created a huge opportunity for motion graphics artists to make a living doing something they enjoy. 

Newsletter

Don't miss out on our future posts!

Scroll to Top