We caught up with Stewart Heaney, a Graphic & Motion Designer at McKenzie Partners. Stewart is incredibly skilled at bringing designs to life through motion design. You know those fun animations you see on your Insta feed? Stew can do that – and more! We talked to him about this field, which blends elements of video production and graphic design.
In a nutshell, what does a motion designer actually do?
Essentially, Motion Design is a discipline that applies Graphic Design principles to filmmaking and video production through the use of animation and visual effects. Examples include films, videos, animated text and web-based animations and apps. Motion design has evolved as a direct result of technological advancements. This is part of what we do at McKenzie Partners, but we also produce, edit and sound engineer the final products.
Can you walk us through a day at work?
There’s certainly no typical day at work for me, but it certainly starts with coffee! After that it could be working on a print design piece, video edit, motion design, storyboard, logo concepts, product photography – you name it. The demand for video-related content is especially high at the moment. Most of my days are filled with video-related work.
Is there a lot of variety in the jobs you do here?
The work is definitely varied and fast-paced here. That’s the beauty of working for a full-service agency! We can literally do 20 different jobs during a day’s work. I do a lot of work for our clients repurposing their existing assets into video. To give you an idea, our clients may have a lot of product photography or static imagery, but they want to create something with motion in it for social media or TV. We can take all those static elements, animate them and create something really special. This can be more engaging for potential customers. I’ve a recently done some web design concepts for a jewellery company, web banners for a nutritional supplement company and EDM designs for an automotive company – to name a few.
How did you become a motion designer in the first place?
I actually started my career as a communications specialist in government roles, writing press releases and the like. I then transitioned to graphic design, which I’ve worked in for about 10 years. This has given me a solid understanding of design principles, which I think helps for video editing and motion design. I’ve always had a keen interest in photography and video production, which has also helped me immensely.
I learnt how to design for video on the job really and got thrown in the deep end. However, this is the best way to learn. Video is such a huge medium with endless possibilities, so I’m always learning new things.
People often get confused about what they’re paying for when they get creative work done for them. They think it’s about being able to use software or pushing buttons. But, it’s the years of training and design know-how that they’re paying for. All of our collective experience goes into each and every piece of creative.
Do you have a favourite campaign or client that you’ve worked with?
I don’t really have a favourite. However, the most satisfying work that I do is when we exceed the client’s expectations. For example, if they have a limited budget and assets, which we then turn around quickly with great quality.
What’s the best and worst bit about your job?
I think the best part of my job is the variation. One day I could be working on a logo concept and the next I’m putting together a video for a car manufacturer. The worst part is there’s never enough time. There’s always something you think of after you’ve finished and think, “That would’ve been perfect for that job!”