Article written by Josh Jones.
What’s your favourite? The peanut butter jelly time banana? Deal With It? The angry llama?
GIFs have been around since 1987 and although we’ve used them primarily to make each other laugh or to reply to a friend because it’s easier than typing a sentence, the robust little format has evolved into a vital means of communication and is set to become an even more important tool in the creative industries.
An astonishing 400 million GIFs were sent on Facebook Messenger the first day of 2017 – 13 billion have been sent since then – and the social network giant is looking to introduce advertising slots which last only two seconds. Maybe it’s time for us to start getting good at the Graphic Interchange Format…
Of course, some of us are already creating amazing things with the format. GIF art is a medium in its own right and animators and designers use it to let their imaginations run wild and love the freedom it gives them. Genius GIF artist, and Talenthouse member, Javier Arrés is delighted that they allow him so much more scope with his creativity. “I need movement, I need to see a pig flying in the sky, not static in the air. I love loops and for my surrealistic world that works amazingly.” he says. “It’s great to see how characters can show an emotion or make a hundred flags wave in the wind. I love that. Animation gives you the possibility to express yourself with more edges. You can bring your art to life. There’s the famous the Michelangelo anecdote about how he destroyed a part of his Moses sculpture screaming, “Talk!” Well, today, with animation he could do it.”
Fellow Talenthouse member, London-based animation director and illustrator Sharon Liu agrees, saying, “GIFs are almost like an animated diary of mine, documenting my daily/weekly/monthly nonsense. Brands should be using the silliness of GIFs to make an instant visual connection with whoever is watching it.”
People are consuming content more than ever and on an increasing number of platforms. But they’re not there to see adverts, they’re there to interact with friends and be entertained. We’re sure we’ll have a lot of Creative Invites addressing this. The next challenge for us as creatives is to make sure we’re making something that’s less then two seconds, attention grabbing, emotive and high quality.