Back to Blog

2017 Motion Design Industry Survey

By School of Motion

How do you stack up with the rest of the Motion Design industry?

The Motion Design industry is weird. It seems like every Motion Designer that you meet has a very unique job, client-base, and expertise. Combine that with the fact that in order to be a great Motion Designer you need to be an expert in a few dozen different artistic disciplines and you have a recipe for a very diverse and unpredictable industry.
To help get a better understanding of the what the industry is like, we decided to ask Motion Designers about their experience in the industry. The response was stunning. We received just over 1300 survey submissions from Motion Graphic artists around the world. Then we did a happy dance and decided to taco-bout results via infographic.
Note: As with any online survey the data presented cannot be taken as a definitive source. If you found this page for a research paper you might want to cruise on over to the Department of Labor and Statistics instead. But they don’t have taco survey’s there.

Download a FREE infographic with the results from our 2017 Motion Design Survey.

Download the Infographic


We all know that people in the Motion Design industry tend to be young. But perhaps the industry isn’t as young as you think. We found that the average age of a Motion Designer was 32. Over half of everyone who reported fell between 26 and 35. We also have mad respect for anyone in the Motion Design industry who is over 41 years old. Thanks for pioneering this awesome industry!


No big surprises here. Like most tech-centric fields the Motion Design industry skews heavily male. According to the survey 80% of Motion Designers are male and 20% female. There’s a lot of opinions and data about why this is true, but regardless we hope this statistic evens out in the next few years.
motion design gender.jpg

How Many Years Have You Been in the Industry?

This one we found to be incredibly fascinating. Over 80% of people in the Motion Design industry say that they have been doing it less than 10 years. This statistic was pretty shocking for us.
We knew that the majority of people in the industry haven’t been doing it for very long, but it seems like there is a severe disparity between experienced Motion Designers and those new to the industry. However, in our industry more years don’t always mean better work.
years in the motion design industry question.gif

Which Taco is Best?

Now this is definitely the question you’ve been waiting for… It seems like beef takes the cake, or empanada, on this one. Now we know what to order for our next School of Motion meetup.

Full-Time Motion Designer Information

Everyone always wants to know the difference between Employees vs Freelancers, and rightfully so. Most Motion Designers prefer to be Freelance over employed, yet it seems like in terms of finances, work-hours, and fun projects the two are pretty similar. The average employed Motion Designer makes $62,000 a year and the average freelance Motion Designer makes $65,000.
The big difference is in the number of projects each person works on each year. Freelancers do about 30% less projects than employees throughout the year. That seems to be a really big difference if you think about the time that it takes to create a quality Motion Graphic project.
motion_design_Fulltime vs Freelance.jpg

Why Aren’t You Full-Time?

It seems like the majority of aspiring Motion Designers aren’t full-timers because they are working on their skills. Just about everybody that responded to this question on our survey said they need to work on their skills in some way. Whether it’s learning a new piece of software, or a principle of animation, Motion Designers are in a constant state of learning and refining their craft.
We were also surprised to see that 36% of part-time Motion Designers don’t actually want to do Motion Design exclusively. Perhaps they view Motion Design as a hobby or maybe they are simply a Motion Designer when a project calls for it?
Only 11% of the part-time Motion Designers that responded don’t know where to start. We were surprised to see this number so low, but it tells us that aspiring Motion Designers are confident and driven.
Why not full time.gif
Can select more than one.

What is Your Favorite Studio?

Is anyone really that surprised by this list? Tons of great names.

What is Your Favorite Inspiration Source?

Motionographer tops the list! And rightfully so. They do a fantastic job at curating and interviewing great artists from around the industry. Seriously, if you’re not already subscribed to their newsletter, go do it!
It’s surprising to see that YouTube is more popular than Vimeo for MoGraph inspiration. Everyone knows that YouTube is more popular than Vimeo, but we have always found the curated channels and groups on Vimeo to be helpful for sorting out the noise. But maybe times are a changin’.

Favorite Source of Information?

We’re flattered to be on this list. There are tons of really great Motion Design resources included here. YouTube is again a top source of information as well as inspiration.

How Many Tutorials Have You Watched in the Last Year?

It’s hard to tell if 75 tutorials is a lot of tutorials or not that many.

Would You Recommend the Motion Design Industry to Someone Looking for Challenging & Fulfilling Career?

Seems like most people would recommend the Motion Design industry. That’s a good sign.
Reccomend Motion Design.jpg

What is stopping you from being the Motion Designer you want to be?

Technical Knowledge is the biggest thing keeping Motion Designers from achieving their dreams. Luckily there are tons of really great resources out there for learning the technical side of things, from online tutorials to online courses.
One of the best ways to grow your technical knowledge skills is to do an everyday project in the software that is giving your trouble. After a few weeks you’ll find the program to be a lot easier to use.
motion_design_Want to be.png

What is the biggest challenge that you face when working with clients?

It seems like the biggest problem that people run into with clients is budget. If only there was more money to go around…
show me the money.gif
Vision is in a close second here. Clients are notorious for not telling you what they want. This is where experience will come into play. As you take on more client work you'll be able to manage expectations and ask good questions so that everyone is on the same page.
motion_design_working with clients.png

If Someone Asked You For Advice About How to Get into the Motion Design Industry, What Would You Tell Them?

Other great words of advice:
  • Find your niche or style and be the best at it.
  • Make great stuff. It doesn't matter if you have a degree or where it's from. All that matters is your reel.
  • Get your timing down. Bad animation sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • Word of mouth is solid gold.
  • Learn, Learn, Learn. Create. Post. Repeat.
  • Once you start never rest on your laurels.
  • Just Do It! (Was that Shia Lebouf?)
  • DON'T GO TO A PRIVATE SCHOOL. Learn online and join the community. Slack will help you build a network.
  • Be prepared for long hours.
  • Google is your friend.
  • Practice, grow a thick skin, and buy a comfy chair.
  • Work, work, work, work, publish, work, work, work, work, publish
  • Study! Please study! Tutorials are not all! You must learn the principle!
  • Make a good reel and find an internship
  • keep practicing in your spare time to improve your portfolio. Experiment and learn new techniques
  • I would say start with an SOM course and then from there just pick up that mouse every single day and create
  • Have fun!
So that’s that 2017 Motion Design Industry Survey. If you have any questions that you’d like to ask for next year send ‘em to us and we’ll include them in the survey.
Overall this information was very encouraging. Most people seem to be very happy in the industry and salaries are increasing. Maybe it’s not all doom-and-gloom for MoGraph after all?