Contact Information

Squeezed Media Ltd,
27 Colonnade,
London, WC1N 1JA

+44(0)20 7836 3677

Company no. 06951101
VAT no. 977351482

The Power of Plain Language

Everyone can relate to the feeling of dread that hits you when you see a dense wall of text. It can be hard to digest all the information at once, be it in a museum, legal document, or website.

With that in mind, I’ll keep this brief.

One of the most effective ways to deliver information to an audience is through video. With 90% of information transmitted to the brain being visual (Zabisco), it’s not surprising that 60% of website visitors would rather watch a video before reading any text (Diode Digital).

These findings are reflected in the overwhelming popularity of video as a mode of communication. In April, May and June of 2014, U.S. consumers watched 38.2 billion videos online (Adobe). Future estimations are confident: by 2019, it’s said that 80 percent of total Internet traffic will be video (Cisco).

But where does animation come into this?

One of animation’s greatest strengths is its ability to turn a complex idea into something simple. Whether it’s an explainer video or a 3D visualization, animation is just as entertaining as it is informative with its clear, creative visuals.

However, this can all be sabotaged by a lazy script. Just like the artist, the script writer must adhere to one stylistic rule:

Keep it simple.  

I’ll show you why.

Here are two sentences. Both of them are trying to say the same thing.

  • Arriving at your very own door in minutes, will be one of our amazing cars – which are all the colour of obsidian.

  • One of our black cars will be at your door in minutes.

Which do you prefer? For the sake of my point, I’ve made the first sentence border on ridiculous. Let’s take a look at what’s wrong with it…

  • The passive voice. Keep the subject (the car) of the sentence a priority. It will read much easier.
  • Complicated sentence structure. Sticking to simple punctuation won’t make you look stupid; using complicated punctuation incorrectly will. If in doubt, break a long sentence up into several shorter ones.
  • It’s too wordy.
    • Using pretentious words like ‘obsidian’ might alienate the viewer. Worse still, you might miscommunicate what you’re trying to say.
    • There’s something a bit insecure in describing the cars as ‘amazing’. It looks like I’m trying to persuade you about the cars’ quality. Adjectives are rarely useful in an animation anyway, because the visuals can do so much of the talking; Forrester estimates that one-minute of video equates to 1.8 million words of text in the message communicated.

It’s not a case of erasing any creativity in a sentence; it’s about showing a real confidence in the message you’re trying to communicate through your animation.