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How to Produce An Effective Whiteboard Animation Video

8 min

There’s something hypnotic about whiteboard videos.

There’s a certain kind of magic involved in watching a story be created in front of your eyes. Whiteboard animation plays with this sensation by having characters and situations being drawn in the moment – this makes for an engaging video style, and if you’ve seen one before, you know it’s true.

If you don’t know of what I’m talking about, here’s a great example:

Whiteboard animation has a clean style, with just three key elements: a white background, a continuous black drawing, and the drawing hand.

This clean and simple magic combined with the fact that whiteboard videos are a clear regression to a classroom (what could be more educational than scribbling on a whiteboard?), creates the best video style for educational content.

In fact, whiteboard videos work great if you need to explain complex concepts to your audience in a simple way!

Are whiteboard videos really effective?

The psychology behind whiteboard videos

The psychological impact of whiteboard animation is something that has been studied for a couple of years now. In fact, Dr. Richard Wiseman investigated the difference between a whiteboard animated style and a classic “talking head” educational video. What he discovered, is that there’s an average 15% increase in information remembrance when the message is presented in a whiteboard animated style.

Why? Well, they’re entertaining, and people learn better when they’re entertained. Dr. Wiseman states that when an audience is in a good mood, they will retain a message better. Or, in other words: people learn better when something is fun!

It’s completely understandable, because the simpler an object or a message is, the less effort the brain needs to process it – which explains how the simplicity and aesthetics of whiteboard animation make it a very effective communication tool.

Whiteboard animation is also a kind of style that puts people in an “educational mood.”

What’s different about a whiteboard video?

Every explainer video style has its own identity, and this one is not an exception. Aside from other styles of explainer videos, like motion graphics or cartoon animation, whiteboard videos have a clear black and white style, with very few colors, usually just branded colors.

Why? Because it follows a classic whiteboard aesthetic!

It shows a whiteboard, a continuous black drawing (made with, or resembling a marker), and a drawing hand – which also helps provide a connected and ongoing storyline.

The five basic steps of whiteboard video production

There are 5 simple steps in the production of a whiteboard video production:

1. An effective script

An effective whiteboard animation script has a clear structure, made up of three main steps: What, how and why.

  • What is the problem that your audience needs to solve?
  • How can your product solve that problem?
  • Why should they choose your product?

The answers to these questions are the backbone of any effective explainer video script and will shape the message you want to transmit to your audience. Always remember that your message should focus on your potential customer’s problems, and not so much on the specific features of your product.

You want your script to be useful and engaging, instead of just “salesy”.

2. The storyboard

The second step is to create a storyboard. This is a sort of “comic strip” which describes every single action and all the visual aspects of your video.

Specifically, a storyboard for a whiteboard animated video is somewhat different than a storyboard made for any other marketing video. This is because you must make sure that, even in the storyboard, every frame is connected – if there is no visual continuity, there’s no whiteboard video.

Because a whiteboard video simulates a person drawing on a whiteboard while telling a story, a whiteboard storyboard cannot present many transitions.

Also, one of the three main elements of a whiteboard video is the drawing hand, so don’t forget to include it in every frame of your storyboard.

Here’s an example:

whiteboard video storyboard example

3. Illustrate your ideas

A whiteboard video illustration usually consists of a huge work of art on a whiteboard. Because with whiteboard animation every frame must be connected, your drawings have to be made with perfect proportions, and be carefully placed.

Sometimes it’s interesting to zoom out at the end of the video, so that your audience gets to appreciate the full illustration.

But it also means a lot of work, so you should work with professional illustrators and animators, specialized in this particular style, so everything goes smoothly.

4. Whiteboard animation

After you have all your whiteboard illustrations, is time to bring them to life! Traditionally, this technique was made by recording a person drawing in real life, but nowadays it’s entirely digital.

You can add some character animation, even if it’s not the traditional way to do it. Used correctly, it’ll add quality and personality to your video.

Don’t forget the drawing hand – also digitally-made, using a good-quality photo of a hand holding a marker.

5. Voiceovers, music and sound FX

The last step in whiteboard video production is to add the voiceovers, music and sound effects. However, you shouldn’t wait until the rest of the steps are over to start working on this. In fact, the recommended thing to do is to record the voiceover as soon as the script is finished, because it will set the actual timing for the animation.

Use music and sound effects to enhance the storytelling power of your video. But, you should never overshadow it. They shouldn’t compete with the voice and should be in a lower volume.

An important thing about voiceovers: they should be recorded by a native speaker of the language and the region you’re targeting.

A dull, unfamiliar or unprofessional voice will spoil your entire video, and won’t generate any kind of brand trust!

How to brand your video

  • Use your brand’s color palette.

It’s very simple to build brand awareness with a whiteboard video – in fact, animated videos, in general, have a great brand awareness power, more than any other kind of video.

But with whiteboard videos, this is especially true. Branded colors, for example, are a great way to spark brand awareness: as whiteboard videos are traditionally black and white, the only other colors you should be adding are the ones on your brand’s color palette.

Contrasted with the black and white, your brand’s colors will stand out beautifully.

  • Your characters must represent your target audience.

Animated characters spark identification and empathy in your target audience. But, even more so, if said characters are modeled after your audience. That’s an incredibly powerful secret: create your characters based on your buyer personas.

Not only that: identify which of your buyer personas could respond better to your whiteboard video, and model the characters, style, setting, situation and tone to target this specific buyer.

This is something that you couldn’t do with a template, for instance. The only way to create a truly branded, effective whiteboard video is to make it fully customized to fit your brand’s needs.

What not to do

Now that you know how to make a high-quality whiteboard animated video, it’s time to learn what not to do.

1. Changing scenes constantly

As you have read before, the main characteristic of whiteboard animation is that the drawing should be continuous. Constantly cutting this continuity will ruin the style.

2. Using a full-color palette

Whiteboard videos imitate a drawing over a whiteboard, so any other colors would break the illusion: using a background with a different color than white won’t do the trick. What you can do is to use a couple of different colors other than black for the drawing itself.

Using too many colors won’t do the trick: choose a couple and use them as accents throughout your animation.

3. Extending your video too much

Whiteboard videos, just like any other explainer video style, should be able to communicate a clear message in 90 seconds or less.

If you intend to use your video just as an educational tool, then you can make it longer. But if used for marketing purposes, whiteboard videos should last two minutes tops.

4. Having a low-quality video

Low-quality video content will be the death of your marketing strategy, so avoid it like the plague! You can tell from miles away when a video is poorly made. And it won’t only hurt your credibility, but it’ll also make you lose money in the long run.

The answer to this is to find a great team of professionals that can help you create a good marketing video – specifically, a team that specializes in whiteboard animation.

Some businesses choose to go through the cheaper route: premade video content, created with templates. Though this might look like a less expensive option, it really isn’t: if you have a poor-quality video just for the sake of having it, you’ll be throwing your money in the trash because it won’t really get any return on investment (ROI).

And that’s exactly what a whiteboard video is: an investment. And, when done right, it has a very high ROI!

Wrapping it up

Whiteboard videos are an effective educational marketing tool. It’s a style that sets your audience’s mind into a learning mood, but it’s engaging enough to actually make learning look cool.

People learn better when they’re entertained, and this is why you should use the power of whiteboard videos to teach any complex concept to your audience effectively!

Use them to introduce your business to your audience and explain how your product and service can save the day.

Now, are you ready to create an awesome whiteboard explainer video?