They are everywhere these days, and as a young and hip startup company you definitely need one. The animated explainer video has become the perfect and easiest tool for companies to communicate their business. They are accessible, easy to digest and can have the potential to go viral!

But how does one make an explainer video and what does it really take?

At Goldener Westen we have over time created a strategy and a routine to develop these kind of videos, and we thought that it might be helpful to publish a step by step guide to show you how we get things done.

So without further ado we would like to present:

Goldener Westen’s 7 Steps To Making an Animated Explainer

Step 1, The briefing

It all begins with a phone call or an email from one of our regular valued clients, or a potential future client, handing us the brief for their upcoming project.
After hearing what our client wants to achieve we can start to think about what kind of animated explainer they need to communicate their ideas. this is when we set the date for a meeting to discuss the ideas for project further.

Step 2, The Brainstorming

After Meeting with the client and getting to know more about their company and vision, making sure everyone is up to date with what has to be communicated with the video, we go straight into Brainstorming.

This stage of the production can vary greatly depending on the workplace/studio/company and design team working within it. Here at Goldener Westen we often sit down around the conference table and let imaginations flow freely, opening a space to discuss everyone’s rudimental ideas and interpretations. At this point it’s very important to remember to not jump into a single idea too quickly. We’ve found it’s much better to leave the table with five rough concepts than just one at the brainstorming stage, this gives much more room for the best ideas to flourish and the client the ability to see which idea stands out and resonates with their vision the most.

Before we conclude this stage and move on to the next, we go over the ideas we have collected so far and decide which three are the strongest for the pitch.

Step 3, Sketching and concepting.

In this stage we outline a structure for our ideas and begin to sketch out our vision for each to give the client the best understanding possible of what we have in mind for them.

Here are some examples of sketches made for one of our projects:

1. A Space Themed Concept:
2. An Office Themed Concept:
3. A Shaped Themed Concept :

Step 4, The First Feedback session

After the client have had a look at our sketches and ideas we set up a quick web conference meeting to discuss the client’s initial response, feedback and change requests. It’s during this meeting one idea will be chosen as the best for the job and the other two of the three unfortunately will be set aside for this production. But they may still potentially influence or return as themes for other projects in the future.

In this case the space and the office concept were withdrawn, as the shape concept jumps in to the next stage on the path to what will soon become our animated explainer video.

Step 5, The Styleframes and animatics

With all the changes done and the feedback taken into consideration we go on to fine tune the design and narrative with digital art renderings and storyboard frames go into making a animatic which becomes the skeletal structure for our video.

Here are some examples of our animatic and design boards that developed from the final idea chosen by the client:

Step 6, The Second Feedback Round:

To be a 100% sure that everyone is onboard with the general design and narrative for the explainer, we send everything over to the client to have one more feedback round before going into production. If additional changes need to be made we work to implement any requests or input from the client before giving the green light.

Step 7, The production :

We are now finally ready to go into production. This is where we decide on the best people in our team for the job and what roles in the production our most suited to each of our designer’s specialist skills.
During the production we always make sure to have an open dialog and regular updates with the client, this is to make sure that the direction of the film stays in tune with what the client’s needs and expectations for the project.
After the animation is finished and the voiceover is put into place we have one last feedback round with the client to make sure that everyone is satisfied before we give it that final polish, working in any last intricacies and details.

And there you have it, the 7 stages that going in to making an amazing explainer video!
We hope that you have a better picture now of how we at Goldener Westen work and that it may help you to realise your own awesome explainers.

Text by Ed Harding and Johannes Helgelin Hald
Illustrations, Animatic and Design by Ed Harding and Johannes Helgelin Hald