Whether you pronounce it like “ditch” or the french way, “neeesh”, finding your niche can be powerful.
What it looks like to niche down in motion design
Niching down is simply getting more specific. It means you’re saying no to projects that aren’t in your niche. It means getting hyper focused on becoming known for a more specific thing.
There are several ways that you can niche down.
Most designers and artists gain momentum in a particular style that begins to define them.
What style do you enjoy working in?
Here's a short list of motion design styles
- 3D broadcast
- 3D cinematic
- Character animation
- Traditional cell animation
- Flat, 2D
- Animated lettering
If you aren't getting hired for the type of work you want to create, do personal projects. People hire you to produce the type of your that you share.
There are countless industries out there that can all benefit from motion design. One way to choose an industry to focus on is think of what your secondary passions are.
My secondary passions are skateboarding and traveling. And I've been spending some time thinking about doing a personal project series based around traveling.
Discovering your niche doesn't have to be an ah-ha moment, it’s usually a discovery through doing lots of work. This is still very much a part of my journey.
Are you really good at making animated GIFs? Maybe explainer videos are your forte. Do you come from a graphic design and branding background? Motion identity branding could be a huge strength for you.
What type of motion design work are you excellent at creating?
Explainers, GIFs, branding motion, ads, etc. all have their own unique value proposition, time commitments, area of expertise, and sometimes require working with a team.
It’s good to start by auditing yourself. What are you naturally good at? Knowing yourself will help you determine the right path for you.
Are you niche enough?
Think of niching down as a spectrum. On one end, you’re doing way too many things at the same time (motion design, graphic design, web design, copywriting, lawn mower repair, and sky diving lessons), on the other end you’re so niche that you’re animating red triangles for brands that have the words red and triangle in their tagline.
There is a sweet spot in there somewhere, and I’m guessing you’re erring on the side of doing too many things. We tend to err on the side of caution and safety. And having lots of design hats feels safer. I can get hired for so many things!
Knowing lots of things can certainly be good. Where I would argue that it’s hurting you is if you portfolio doesn’t look like it came from the same person.
I can’t claim to be on top of this. It’s a work in progress. Through experimentation, I’m slowly starting to find a natural swing of motion design that I tend towards.
Be known for your niche and vice versa
Let's say your niche is motion branding. When people hear your name, you want them to think, motion branding. That’s a big step, but don't stop there. You want people to hear motion branding and then think of your name. That’s the direction you’re looking for.
The real power of choosing a niche is getting people to think of your name when they hear the niche thing you do. That means that you won’t have a shortage of clients. It means that you are the expert in that area.
Like I said before, this is still very much a part of my journey. I just want to add some valuable thoughts to the general conversation.
Have you thought about niching down to something pretty specific? Is it scary? Exciting? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can reply to this email or tweet at me @itsaustinsaylor.
Go make something move!