Animation Styles to Learn in 2024

Animation is a dynamic medium that breathes vitality and motion into visuals. Today, it plays a pivotal role in web and app design, so choosing the style of animation that’s right for your product is more important than ever. There are two primary categories of animation styles: functional and stylistic. Let’s start by talking about functional animations before looking at the most common types.

Elevating Design Through Functional Motion

In the realm of animation, certain styles go beyond visual appeal. Functional animations do exactly that: they contribute to the improvement of functionality in user interfaces. Thus, they serve as more than just aesthetic enhancements, and become integral components of a truly enjoyable user experience.


Imagine a world where every click, hover, or tap triggers a subtle yet purposeful animation that guides users through an interface discreetly but resolutely. That’s what micro-interactions do. In their unassuming nature, these nuanced motions offer more than mere visual delight.

Micro-interactions provide immediate feedback, making a user’s journey not responsive and more appealing. For this reason, they are employed to great success during loading times within a website or app, to make a user’s wait less dull. Just look at how effective this cute animation of a chicken is at doing that!


Static logos establish identity, but animated logomarks take brand representation to a whole new level. Animated logos, with their dynamic fusion of motions and effects, transcend static imagery. What they do is they narrate a story and imprint a lasting brand presence in the viewer’s memory.

The logo below adds a sense of exploration to the company’s brand, but it doesn’t give the text right away. Instead, it starts with a simple animation that adds some anticipation, so the user has to think about what is happening on screen before they are rewarded with the name and slogan reveal.


Symbols are the language of interfaces, and animated icons add a new layer of expressiveness. They’re not solely there to add a decorative element, but help communicate information with flair.

Just think of how a weather app uses animated icons to mirror changing weather conditions. That’s an effective way to streamline information delivery while adding an intuitive dimension to the user experience. Or how the combination of the shutter and a print appearing from this analogue camera animation clearly informs the user that an instant photograph was taken!


Beyond static backdrops lies a realm of immersive storytelling through animated backgrounds. If used correctly, they can redefine the whole nature of a design, transforming it from static to cinematic.

Have you noticed how some travel websites add animated scenes of destinations? This visual journey is designed to make visitors want to go on an actual journey, ideally through the services provided by them. So, as you can see, these backgrounds don’t just sit behind the content but play an integral part of a product’s narrative. Animated backgrounds can range from extremely intricate scenes to simple abstract graphics that drive an overall feeling, like in the animation below.

Creative Power of Stylistic Animation

We now transition from functional to stylistic. In stylistic animations, aesthetics take center stage, as these guide the narrative of design through visually-captivating motions. Here, the emphasis is less on the on functionality, and more on the emotive and immersive impact that this category of animations can have on users. Let’s look at the most common styles within this group.


The first one is morphing animation, a technique where one shape evolves into another. With modern animation software, this type of transition is easy to create, while making a big impact. Artistically, it could be described  as an enchanting dance that tells a story beyond the constraints of static forms. Functionally, it is just one thing changing into another, but to catch users’ attention, that’s definitely enough.

This style of stylistic motion is a powerful way to add storytelling and visual intrigue. In the example below, the change is simple, and the interaction is relatively understandable. That’s particularly because it’s combined with the next technique: character animation.


Character animation is a great way to infuse life to digital interfaces. Through funny mascots, you can transcend the boundaries of static design to bring a new level of personality and charm to websites and apps. Animation also allows you to add personification to your characters: expressive movements and relatable traits are an excellent way to establish emotional connections.

E-learning platforms often make their experience much more lively and engaging for users with an animated character as a guide. But sometimes, all you need to do is connect with the user, just like this animation of a hard-working penguin using a computer below does.

Line Art

In the simplicity of lines lies true minimalist elegance in animation. Line art animation is a true testament to the beauty of simplicity. It focuses on clean and elegant strokes as the primary element, and can bring a modern touch to your product without trying too hard.

Tech brands often use this type of animation to showcase sleek features of their products, with each line contributing to the creation of a visual narrative that fuses sophistication and modernity. But other times, this can have a more aesthetic purpose while reinforcing the identity of a product or brand. An example of this more aesthetic-focused type of line art is the one you can see right below.


Scrolling through a website sometimes becomes something akin to a journey. This happens when a narrative unfolds with every swipe or scroll. As users navigate through a website, elements respond with animated sequences to create an interactive experience. This is the main purpose of storytelling animations. In fact, using a website or an app can sometimes be akin to embarking on a journey. This happens when a narrative unfolds, often triggered by the next swiping or scrolling motion.

Scrollytelling is a recently-coined term that’s used precisely to describe an immersive animation style that merges storytelling with user interaction. This can be observed in some news websites where long-form articles with animated visuals integrate the act of scrolling into the experience. Here, we have an example of an animation that could be used in a scrollytelling website, starting with a beautiful scene and then unfolding into something else. This one is deliberately unfilled, so you can let your mind add whatever text, headers, images, or other elements you can imagine.

A World of Animated Possibilities

Through this article we’ve seen that the world of animation styles is a vast and diverse one; different styles of motion offer many creative avenues that improve the experience for users and breathe life into websites and apps. Whether you’re planning on improving your user experience or the aesthetics of your product, the key is to align the choice of animation styles with your brand and communication goals.

Today, the possibilities in animation are almost limitless, and by all means you should take this opportunity to captivate and engage your users in innovative ways. So, go ahead, explore, experiment, and let your designs come to life.

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Elsa Djohan Avatar

Elsa Djohan / Visual Designer @ Phase

Designing dreams part-time with a full-time passion for giraffes and creativity.