A motion design director with a passion for developing thoughtful and immersive design experiences, Peter Dickinson is the man behind many brands’ motion narratives. With a lifelong love of storytelling, he shares his story from art school to motion graphics and everything in between.
Peter Dickinson is a motion design director with a passion for developing thoughtful and immersive online, digital experiences. He helps brands develop motion narratives, choreography, and strategies that add value to any story, message, or proposition. Peter leads projects around multiple disciplines including but not limited to motion system design, in-app motion UX, motion prototyping for apps as well as social campaigns and brand storytelling. He is also a creative director, product owner, and co-founder at PLAYS (app) which is a motion design tool for mobile
How and when did you discover the world of motion graphics?
Peter Dickinson: I first discovered motion graphics at the end of my time at art school. Adobe had just unveiled Director and After effects in the middle to the late 1990s. I was interested in seeing how I could use this technology to improve or disrupt my practice at the time because I was mostly focusing on video installations. At the time, I wasn’t sure whether I understood the larger motion graphics culture or if it even existed. It was in the early 00’s that we started to see the emergence of a movement.
How did you get into your first job in the industry?
Peter Dickinson: In London’s Soho, I was employed in post-production for movies. I was an editor at the time, and I had the chance to help out in the graphics division. At first, I was doing compositing and effects work, but I wanted to concentrate on designing movie titles. It was a fantastic chance, and I was fortunate to start a path that allowed me to see outstanding films, including Steve McQueen’s “Shame” and Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” among other work on Somers.
Are there some things you wish you had known when you were just starting?
Peter Dickinson: My involvement in the arts gave me a solid foundation for conceptual thinking, but I believe that learning about design thinking and typography would have been beneficial. Over time, I’ve learned to go further into these topics to support my practice.
How would you describe your style?
Peter: Tricky one, as a motion designer and director it’s hard to pin onto a specific style. Motion has a symbiotic relationship to music in many ways and for me it’s about timing, flow and defining the tone, developing consistency within an idea, and crafting a vision for a client.
How important is a motion system when creating a brand identity?
Peter: I’d say integral. The world is currently flooded with movement. You would think that the days of starting to create a brand design and seeing motion as a final “deliverable” are long gone, although regrettably, this is sometimes still the case. People are gradually realizing, nevertheless, that a brand’s ability to connect with consumers depends on how it “lived.” It must be outlined early on inside the design system itself. The future of branding is in motion systems!
Peter: Ha, yeah I have certainly been lucky to work across a range of areas, many of which are interconnected. It’s difficult to overlook how a product’s dynamic UX functions without that influencing how that product is promoted through its social media platforms. I believe that this ought to be taken into account right away.
These days, if I had to pick a job, it would be defining the idea’s central motion system. But I still enjoy social; I enjoy succinct, concise concepts that get the point across swiftly and clearly.
Many creatives believe that a good motion designer should be an excellent graphic designer. Do you agree?
Peter: I think it helps to understand design, but not to the degree where you have to be an expert at both. You wouldn’t expect the same of a graphic designer? But I agree the dividing lines are fewer and the ability to explore both is way more accessible these days.
Is there a fantastic plug-in, or tool that you have found recently that you would recommend?
Peter: Boringly, I think the best plugins and scripts I lean on these days help me reduce the amount of labor in my work, not necessarily create shortcuts to creativity. I can’t live without ‘Flow’. And life without lottifiles would mean we couldn’t deliver the high-quality content we do to the “PLAYS” app. Lottie has been game-changing.
What is the single most important thing you need to do or be to excel in your industry?
Peter: Listening and communicating clearly. Being open to change.
What do you enjoy the most about being a motion designer?
Peter Dickinson: Helping people articulate their vision through movement and timing. Building emotion into the design.
Do you have any tips for people interested in the industry or any ideas on how to get started in motion graphics?
Peter Dickinson: I think there are so many more opportunities and ways into the industry these days. And so much more free learning. Try not to emulate too much or get attached to a tutorial-based approach. Take the time to find your voice and experiment.
Try to remake something you like and try to remake it yourself with a different take. Maybe even show it to the original client. Take a chance and approach a small studio. Say yes to an internship. You don’t know where it might lead.