What is A Whiteboard Animation?

What is a Whiteboard Animation?

So, What Exactly is a Whiteboard Animation?

Whiteboard animation is a short video that draws a cartoon image on a screen as a narration commentary explains the story. Just in the same way your high-school teacher would have done so in class.

They are extremely effective for very short videos.

Ideally no more than 2 minutes, but it does depend on your need and purpose for the video, but How-To style instructional videos sometimes need to be longer but again definitely no more than 3 minutes as they lose their power to engage the audience.

Wacth my 2 minute Whiteboard Explainer Video below!

How did Whiteboard Animation Videos become so popular?

Depending on what source you use, it’s claimed that we see and experience over 2500 adverts a day. That’s something like an advert every 1.5 minutes.

So how does a business, get itself heard, seen and remembered amongst all this noise?

Well, this is a problem that presented itself to advertisers for centuries and in 2007 UPS was asking the same question of a marketing agency. Their solution… they created a 60 second video, or a man standing at a whiteboard, whilst drawing and talking at the same time.

Watch the origonal UPS Whiteboard Promotional Video on YouTube

The concept of a Whiteboard Animation was born.

This marketing campaign won UPS multiple awards in the year that followed and cartoonists, advertising agencies and video production companies went crazy about whiteboard animations for a good few years that followed.

Things have calmed down a bit now and in 2019 they’ve a popular tool for businesses large and small and are used in a variety of different ways and scenarios not just as adverts.

They’ve evolved to entertain their audience and using metaphoric images they can quickly create that “aha” moment of insight in a matter of seconds, leaving the viewer with a positive feeling to progress to the next step in the sales process.

What are the ingredients of a good Whiteboard Animation?

A whiteboard animation captivates its audience using a two-prong attack on the visual and auditory senses, but in order to do this, it required 4 key ingredients.

  • A Quality Script/Message/Story
  • Interesting Voiceover Artist
  • Engaging Images that Visually explain the words
  • Appropriate Background Music

The quality of the story/script/Message.

The script needs to cover a lot of information in a short period of time, provide problems, solutions, real-life benefits and calls-to-action without losing the viewer due to incorrect pace or poor choice of terminology.

That is why it literally builds the foundation for the success or failure of the resulting end video and its ability to captivate, educate, enthuse and provoke action in its audience.

There are also two points of view you can take when writing the script. The first, is that you can either narrate like a traditional advert would (such as someone external to what is happening on the screen), with someone “presenting” from the company’s perspective, or another method is that you can present your content in the form of a story associated with a character who plays their part.

Depending on their client, their product or service and their intended target audience and final use of the animation, I employ both approaches in the animations I create for my clients.

The voiceover narration

Have you ever listened to someone talk on the radio, that has a dull voice, in a monotone repetitive pace? I bet you know what I mean but can’t remember an example. That’s because it bored the pants off you, and the only real take-away you gained was remembering that a monotone voice is dull!

So, your voiceover artist must bring life, enjoyment, fun, and engagement into the story/script that they are telling.

The voice-over narration controls the speed and flow of the message, it educates and provides detailed understanding about the product, services, business or topic of the animation, by it’s undulating sounds, pauses in key places, speed and energy in the voice.

The visual Cartoon Image’s

Ever heard the saying “a picture tells 1000 words” well that is because in a single glance we can learn more about a situation then it would take to describe the same scene in words.

So the power of the cartoon images used, how they present, how they are drawn, how they are choreographed on screen all help to portray a visual story that accompanies the narration and as they appear as the narration unfolds, it keeps us entertained into what is coming next!

The background music

The music creates a sub-conscious level of enjoyment and can also aid the impact of the overall video by enthusing people or calming a situation.

The different types of Whiteboard Animation Studios.

TYpes of Animation Studios

There are three types of suppliers you can use, it all depends on budget, time, and your needs.

  • Traditional Animation & Cartoon Studio’s
    (Hand-drawn to order, takes weeks due to the uniqueness, very costly for a small bsuiness)
  • Freelancer Website’s
    (Cheapest approach, but has challenges, due to freelancers often being in other countries, different time-zones, languages and no direct one-to-one conversational abilities to communicate other then email)
  • Mid-Way Design Studio’s
    (Studio’s/business’s like mine are the best of both worlds. We work with you one-on-one to customise your project, but use stock images to save enourmous amounts of time and money).

Traditional Animation/Cartoon Studios

Traditionally if you wanted a Whiteboard Animation business, you’d hired a design agency who’d use a cartoonist that would hand-draw your images, this process would be filmed and/or the images then animated.

However, due to the time involved, these studios would present to you a storyboard concept of their intend approach which you’d sign off and then a month later they’d present you with a custom-built animation.

There are lots of professional cartoon and design agencies that adopt this approach, but the cost is in the £1000’s and sometimes £10000’s. the more time it takes, the more you pay, at the end of the day, people need to earn a wage and a business needs to profit. that is why, for for a long while, Whiteboard Animations were well out of the reach of the small freelance Personal Trainer at your local gym.

Freelancer Website Services

That’s why several whiteboard animation software packages sprung up and cartoon artists that would create pre-animated cartoon SVG images that allowed visual content creators to buy off-the-shelf digital clipart animations, this drastically reduced the amount of time involved, so now it’s possible to write, narrate, record and build a whiteboard animation in a matter of hours.

The (mid-way) combination of both the above

Studios like mine, that work with a combination of personal one-to-one service like a tradtional studio would, but also uses stock animation images for speed and affordable costs.

How to source a “fantastic” affordable whiteboard animation video creator.

Well, the cheapest way is to outsource the task to someone on websites like Fiverr or Upwork.

But be warned, you get what you pay for, which means in these scenarios you are in control of your script and its power.

You will need to find another person to record the narration and if you write a weak script, they will record a narration whose words will fail to impact, which results in a feeble or weak video that generates less impact and ultimately results.

If you want to manage the process and are confident in your scripting abilities, this will save you money, but will cost you in time, effort, energy and possibly stress co-ordinating all the different components.

Most of the people working on these styles of freelance websites are in countries whose language is not English and whose national currency is weak against the GBP £. Meaning that working solidly for 8 hours to create a 60 second animation for £40 is time well spent and money well earned.

Visually they have access to buy images from many of the same suppliers as we do, but it doesn’t mean that their end product will have the “kick” it needs due to the language barrier, country time zone barrier and being only able to communicate via email and no one-to-one personal conversations.

Combination of Traditional and Freelance Services – Midway Studios!

Then there are mid-way animators like our good selves, who’s a combination of both services.

Coming from a digital marketing and creative media’s background I’ve been writing sales scrips for years, so these whiteboard animations become a fun product of my already existing abilities and skills.

Firstly, I speak English so we can converse directly with you, to ensure our understanding is spot on and your product totally rocks your world.

Secondly, we can then pull everything together and deliver it to you, this way you gain, time energy and stress, save yourself money compared to the professional hand-drawn animation studios but don’t have to communicate with non-native speakers through email in a different time-zone.

What are whiteboard animations?

Finally, we also now supply our own animated images to other animators, for them to use in their own animations, so we’ve totally evolved. In addition to this, as we operate a freelance virtual office, it has allowed us to cut the costs of full-animation studios, keeping the costs very affordable without compromising on quality, impact or effect on the result. We are literally a win-win approach for the small business owner!

Where and why would you use a Whiteboard Animation?

In next weeks article, I will be providing a downloadable list of ways that you can use a whiteboard animation in your businesses promotional, marketing and information delivery efforts for its products and services.

But as a quick teaser, the usual online sources like social media, websites, sales landing pages, etc come to mind and my favourite of all is on a business expo stand. You play one of these on a tv, in the background and people literally stop and gather to watch them time and time again!

Why would you use a Whiteboard Animation?

Well if you need to sell a product or service, it can highlight the key benefits and features quickly. They can help explain complex processes and educate new viewers/audiences to your business and its cause. They are also handy for delivering instructions and educating your audience as well. Their use is only limited by your imagination!

Need more proof (our word not good enough)?

No worries, that is why we’ve found 4 articles by other professions outside of this video design industry who love “whiteboard animations”.


The 4 key ingredients to a powerful and engaging whiteboard animation are the script/story, narration or voiceover artist, the cartoon images and the background music.

You can go cheap and save money hiring people from freelancer websites, but you manage the project yourself, source the narration yourself and have to coordinate everything yourself or you can go expensive and get a traditional animation studio to hand-draw and create your video for you.

Or you can use a mid-way studio like ourselves, that is the best of both worlds and are far more affordable.

Use online or in real-world situations like expo stands, bank manager meetings for loan/funding requests or on sales pages, website etc.

Use to sell, inform, educate, explain, simply and to bring a bit of energy to dull subjects!

Leave a Reply