Animation can be a fantastic solution for brand communication. A unique digital creation that wholly represents the brand values and messaging is worth its weight in gold.
The creative animation studio Volstok, part of PAKT, create inspiring animations that make a lasting impression. Founder and creative director Wouter Sel: “Animation is an excellent medium for brands that want to tell a meaningful story. It is, and remains, a labour-intensive process where the possibilities appear less obvious but the results are invariably catchy, surprising and striking. We focus on identity, vision and creativity. That’s exciting but it’s also great fun to do. So why not fully embrace it?”
According to Wouter, using animation to inspire and surprise can be done in many different ways. “People immediately associate the term ‘animation’ with humour, children or Disney. But animation is so much more than light entertainment. It can also be endearing, intense, raw, explosive or just very intimate. And we guide our clients through the process, every step of the way. They come to us with an idea, and we respond with a proposal based on our vision as filmmakers.”
“Mutant, for instance, came up with a daring concept for Club Brugge: an authentic, artistic film that embraces their nickname: being proud to be a farmer! Our artistic and cinematic approach strengthened and reinforced that concept, and the film received a great critical reception and was picked up by the media. So it’s more than just a regular, creative assignment. We love working with people who are open to ideas. If you collaborate and think together about what needs to be told, and in what ways it can be done, you can palpably feel everyone’s enthusiasm.”
Working Without Inhibitions
After the briefing and initial brainstorm, Volstok develop ideas. “At first it’s very broad: you can always scale back of course, but you’ll never find that one unique angle if you stay too close to safe solutions. In the production process that follows, the whole idea is given a clear direction and at the same time the creatives keep looking for inventive opportunities. It’s always a unique journey, an adventure. Creating animation is a journey in stages, where we always offer space to test and adjust. In my opinion, the most important thing is to safeguard the message, supported by creativity. You do that by starting an idea and putting all the options on the table. You can always slow down and take your foot off the accelerator. But the opposite is much more difficult to achieve: a generic message can hardly be embellished without causing the concept to falter.”
Trusting the Process
Wouter and his team are in close contact with the client during the production process. “They really don’t have to worry that we’ll come up with an idea that doesn’t work the brand. We communicate everything clearly and are always in a continuous dialogue. And although we want to surprise the client with the result, that doesn’t mean we’re unpredictable. On the contrary, the process absolutely doesn’t allow it. The challenge lies in the constant balancing act between spontaneity and purposeful production.”Wouter continues: “At the same time, we mustn’t forget how wonderful it is to simply create something. Playing, trying and discovering is 100% necessary: it keeps us sharp and ensures we don’t fall into uninspired or tired routines. With us, a character will never just walk across the screen. He or she will frolic, saunter, stroll, hop or floundering. That kind of nuance makes an enormous difference in the emotions that you’re aiming to communicate. And in turn, has a more powerful impact on the viewer.
According to Wouter, brands can achieve a huge amount with animation, provided that the target audience is challenged by it. “With creative animation you can bring your message to the next level. That’s why we position ourselves as a partner for challenger brands; brands with ambition and spirit that want to want to compete with the big boys. Brands that walk the talk. We love taking them on an adventure, creating an animation that everyone remembers.”
Written by Wouter Sel, Creative Director van Volstok – part of PAKT. A European ecosystem of content production companies with one vision: Creating quality content at scale.