2D Animated Explainer Video Styles

Are you looking for inspiration for your next product video, or are you simply curious about the many 2D animated explainer video styles? We’re here to help! Here are a few style ideas for 2D explainer videos, categorized by common art styles, with nearly endless variations.

Flat 2D Animation

This style embodies a classic 2D design! It focuses on simplicity and clarity using only two-dimensional elements. It avoids adding depth cues such as shadows, textures, or gradients and instead relies on crisp edges, solid colors, and straightforward typography. It’s well-suited for explainer videos, where the aim is to simplify complex topics. Below you’ll find two examples of videos created in the flat 2D style.

Semi-Flat 2D Animation

Most explainer videos tend to fall into this category. This style is similar to flat 2D but with some elements to add depth and dimension, such as shadows, gradients, and textures. This blends the simplicity and clarity of flat 2D with the freedom for the designer to add visual interest. It’s an excellent choice for explainer videos and digital content where clarity is key, but a touch of sophistication is desired. Below, you’ll find an example of a video created in the semi-flat 2D style.

2D Abstract

In this style, the artists don’t try to depict objects in a visually realistic way directly but rather try to represent the intrinsic qualities of the objects and their meaning to the viewer.  The style will typically use organic shapes, lines, and colors to emphasize emotional impact rather than realistic representation. Below is an example of an abstract video that features a friendly and inviting look, using vibrant visuals and imaginative elements to engage and inspire.

Minimalist Style

Minimalist designs simplify characters and environments to their essential elements, avoiding unnecessary details and complexity. The goal is to convey ideas and emotions with minimal visual information, resulting in clean, uncluttered designs. Characters move efficiently and purposefully in these designs. In the example below, we opted for minimal colors and clean backgrounds to really highlight only the essential elements.

Traditional Illustration

This type of work draws inspiration from hand-created art such as watercolor, oil, pencil, or ink, and is known for its intricate detail and expressiveness. These types of illustrations can be work intensive to animate so they can be executed in many ways, e.g. on the one extreme they may feature little to no animation, prioritizing mood and atmosphere over movement, or on the other hand, they are sometimes animated in the traditional frame-by-frame (or cel) type of animation which results in fluid animation. Below, you’ll find two examples of traditional illustrated videos:


The style combines various media such as photos, footage, and illustrations into a cohesive whole. Typically achieved through contrasting textures, styles, and layers, it adds visual interest. This approach is commonly favored when brands seek to create engaging and lively content. The collage style is a typical way to execute these. Below are two examples from our portfolio of mixed-media videos:

Kinetic Typography

Lastly, this style breathes life into text by animating letters, words, and phrases. It’s a visually engaging way to showcase messages and information, frequently employed in explainer videos or advertisements. Below is an example of a video using mainly typography to get their message across!

2D Animated Explainer Video Conclusion

We’ve highlighted some categories of 2D animated styles here, but artists can dream up infinite styles that animators can bring to life. To explore more examples, browse through our Vimeo / YouTube page or send us a message if you’re looking for something particular.