Types of Characters in Explainer Videos

There are all sorts of business explainer videos in the world and they show animated characters in many different ways. These may range from the more cartoony styles to more abstract, professional looking representations. In this article we’ll show a few different examples.


A Rough “Taxonomy”

Here’s an overview of different types of characters. Obviously there are more styles possible than this, but this is a sort of rough guideline to help organize your thoughts. Also keep in mind that these are shown separated from the overall design so something like “Line drawn” may feel quite different once designed into the video.

Character styles for explainer videos

In the sections that follow we’ll show an example of each of the above styles so you can get an idea of how it might execute.


Cartoon Realistic

In this category the person is clearly a cartoon but their body dimensions and facial features are realistic, i.e. very similar to a real human. The advantage of this style is that it’s more detailed (if that’s what you want) but the disadvantage is that animating it can be more time consuming if you want full movement thus taking away time and budget from the overall project.


Business Casual

A vector based style with a casual look can give you that ever-popular “friendly yet professional” feel. The character has facial features and human dimensions.



A more informal, cartoon-like feel. This differs from “Cartoon Realistic” in that the character looks less like a real human and may have exaggerated features and dimensions. So for example the guy in the below is “Cartoony” because he’s a bit of fun, and also because a real human doesn’t have a big jaw like that or a skew head like that! (sorry little dude)



Here the people are animals or have animal-like features.



The characters look corporate and professional. Often they may be more abstract representations of people, e.g. humans without noticeable facial features, and they could be displayed as icons or head-and-shoulder views rather than as full-length humans.


Professional DuoTone

In this style the symmetry of the characters is emphasised. This is one of those styles that can range quite a bit from looking more formal to less formal, depending on the overall styling. Here below it was slightly less formal due to the colorful design overall.



The characters here are shown as outlines.



In this style the humans are reduced to simple shapes or lines.


In Conclusion

We showed a few types of explainer videos with characters in this article. To see other video styles, check out our list of explainer video examples.