The Illusion Of Movement In Graphic Design

The Illusion Of Movement In Graphic Design

Your brand may have a direct connection to physical, emotional, or spiritual movement, or you may merely want to differentiate yourself from your competition’s designs. In any case, a design that incorporates illusory motion will provide you with the edge you need. Don’t miss the chance to learn graphic design online with Blue Sky Graphics.

Via the illusion of motion, you will reach out to contact your consumers in a process known as kinaesthetic empathy: a cognitive gesture through which the spectator reproduces or feels an action or motion they have only seen. The sensation can be so strong that the spectator is visibly pulled forward, pushed aside, or even sways from side to side like on a miniature roller coaster! This immediately establishes a visual link between you and your prospects.

Bear in mind the importance of convenience. Utilising multiple inferred movement techniques in a single composition can be perplexing to the eye and even leave audiences queasy. Additionally, use caution when applying the “blurred outlines” technique to typefaces. There is a thin line between usefulness and an excessive amount of detail that renders the font difficult to read.

The Illusion Of Movement In Graphic Design
The Illusion Of Movement In Graphic Design

Additionally, colour and hue blends should be treated with caution. Colours and shades with a higher saturation level stand out more, whereas those with a lower saturation level will fade into the background. Be mindful of the effect this phenomenon can have on the sense of movement directionality within your design. Generally, this colour matter is more concerned with the rhythm of composition than with illusory motion, although it may be a cross-over problem, so check to ensure contrast is not acting against your design’s desired perceived movement.

Lines of motion

By using the basic motion lines method, an object that appears to be immobile can be easily imbued with a sense of motion. This is the simplest and most intuitive technique. From one to ninety-two years old, children can often use it naturally when drawing stick figures.

Disturbance of moderate severity

When a boat travels over water, it generates wave action. The same is true for things that are on fire or those that are passing through other types of matter. Another straightforward method of indicating movement is to demonstrate how an object disturbs the environment.

This is essentially a more developed version of motion lines. Both reflect the influence of an object passing through space, but while motion lines provide a clue, medium disruption provides more information. The level of detail will range from stylised to realism, depending on your preference.

Expected movement

This technique creates the illusion of motion on a two-dimensional surface that is constant. Its success is contingent upon the observer’s prior exposure to a similar scenario—such as a leaping monkey. We have all seen slow-motion footage of a monkey jumping forward (if you haven’t, watch it on YouTube. It is very remarkable). If we see a monkey bending over as if about to jump for a limb, we are immediately prompted to recall the footage that has been preserved in our minds. This reaction occurs when we see a design of some being in motion. We have a sense of how the next revolution will appear.

Numerous pictures

Multiple images is a procedural technique that depicts an event cycle by posing the subject in a variety of poses that convey a storyline to the viewer. Although digital filmmaking has been the standard in recent years, dinosaurs will recall that celluloid film worked under the same principle—combining many images to create the illusion of movement.


This technique layers types with varying opacities on top of one another to simulate movement. If the Astoryo logo’s hummingbird’s wings were invisible, it would appear to be a mutant with four sets of wings. However, since the wings are translucent, we realise that the bird only has one pair of wings; we are simply witnessing its range of motion.

Outlines that have been blurred

Rapidly moving objects are rather fuzzy. As a result of this phenomenon, we equate fuzzy edges with motion. Maintaining a still camera and photographing a fast-moving object as it crosses in front of the lens produces this effect without graphic design. In these examples, the technique of blurred outlines imparts a sense of stamina while still imparting a ghostly appearance.

Force lines

There are usually invisible (but implied) lines that guide motion by emphasising an implication of movement visually. Note how diagonal lines can be traced starting from the right in at least three positions in the ocean painting: at the shoreline, where the frothy white water transforms into a tide, and at the crest of the wave. These lines intersect as they approach the vanishing point on the left, where they collide with a symphony of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, creating the illusion of chaotic flow.

Movement of the optics

This one falls under the heading of rhythm, but it also provides the illusion of motion, so it makes our list. Curved forms tend to draw the viewer’s attention in circles around a composition. This is referred to as optical rotation because it allows the spectator to observe the different components of the piece dynamically.

Illusion optical

The most spectacular illusion is reserved for last—the snake illusion. If you stare at it long enough, it will begin to move. The operating theory, in this case, is referred to as visible motion. This occurs due to a large amount of geometric duplication and other evidence simultaneously affecting various regions of our retina. This goldmine of information is immediately sent to our visual cortex, a complete head-scratcher for the mind that has been duped into thinking there is movement.

Illusory motion allows you to involve the viewers in a physical and emotional conversation. Make an effort to connect with them and capture their interest with designs that drive them. You get bonus points if the inferred movement technique’s atmosphere complements the style and the narrative you are attempting to convey. Although your clients may not be aware of it, they will sense the authenticity of your work if all of your components are in sync.

Now that you are familiar with various techniques for creating the appearance of movement in architecture, it is time to determine which strategy works well for you and your audience.