Need an art degree?

Start here!

What is Motion Graphics Design?

Motion graphics designers create the moving words, logos, numbers and text on the screen during a film, television show, commercial or other media project. The credits of a movie, the phone number on an infomercial, the logo of a business during a commercial – these are all examples of motion graphics. These professionals have a strong background in graphic design and typically work as a graphic designer for some period of time before specializing in motion graphics. Knowledge of the wide range of software and computer-based design tools is needed in order to do this job successfully and to keep abreast of technological advancements in this industry.

Work Environment

These professionals often work in studios, where they have access to computers and tools that they use to create their designs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes data on all occupations, including graphic design. In 2012, there were approximately 259,500 graphic designers employed throughout the US, and about 24% of graphic designers were self-employed. Motion graphics designers can work as freelancers and provide assistance to companies and organizations as-needed. However, there is always the risk of not finding steady work as a freelancer. Future motion graphics designers will be happy to know that there are many industries that hire full-time professionals to fill their need.

The manufacturing industry is the top employer of motion graphic designers, employing 14% of these professionals. The next top employers include specialized design services, the publishing industry, advertising and marketing, and wholesale trade.

Education Requirements

It is suggested that individuals interested in this career route earn at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Courses in animation are also helpful, and can create a more well-rounded professional. Typically, these professionals spend a while gaining experience with graphic design before specializing in motion graphic design. It’s also important to make a portfolio to highlight the professional’s range of talents in order to show potential clients and employers.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that graphic designers earned an annual median salary of $44,150 in May of 2012. This is a great salary, and with experience, that salary typically rises for most professionals. Individuals who don’t mind relocating can take advantage of top-paying areas for graphic designers, which are the District of Columbia (annual median salary of $71,520), New York ($60,400), California ($57,070), Maryland ($56,850), and Connecticut ($56,370). The top 10% of earners brought home more than $119,000 in 2012, so there is definitely the potential to earn a salary higher than the median average one.

Job Outlook

The outlook for graphic designers is fair; the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 7% job growth through the year 2022. The growth rate for motion graphic designers is likely higher, since these professionals are employed within so many different industries, and their talents are used for a huge variety of different projects. To increase job prospects and opportunities, individuals can earn a higher level of education, or relocate to areas hiring more motion graphics designers. For instance, there are 26,290 graphic design jobs in the state of California while there are only 280 graphic design jobs in the state of Montana. Other states with the highest level of jobs include New York, Florida, Texas and Illinois.

Learn about art schools accepting students now: