How Animated Video Production Companies Produce Explainers: A Quick Guide

Stephen Conley
Stephen Conley
Stephen is Gisteo's Founder & Creative Director. After a long career in advertising, Stephen launched Gisteo in 2011 and the rest is history. He has an MBA in International Business from Thunderbird and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he did indeed inhale (in moderation).

So you’re wondering how animated video production companies like Gisteo do what we do, huh? 

An animated video production company handles the entire process of creating an animated video from concept to completion, ensuring the final product meets the client’s objectives.

The fact is that creating animated explainer videos involves a fairly detailed process designed to transform complex ideas into engaging visual narratives. 

Any animation company worth their salt follows a number of steps to create custom, high-quality video explainers. 

Let’s dive into the key steps of the typical process. 

How Production Companies Produce Animated Videos

1. Understanding the Client’s Needs

The first step any reputable animation video production company takes is simply to listen to the client. 

Before doing anything, we need to understand the client’s objectives, target audience, and the key messages they’re looking to communicate. This involves a detailed discussion to gather all necessary information. 

During a consultation, it’s important to:

  • Identify the Core Message: What is the primary takeaway the client wants the audience to have?
  • Understand the Brand’s Voice and Style: We need to ensure that the video aligns with the brand’s existing tone and style.
  • Defining the Target Audience: We need to know who the video is aimed at so we can tailor the content to their needs and mindset. 

In addition, animated production companies are likely to have a brief for clients to complete. At Gisteo, we call this brief the pre-production questionnaire

Here are just a few questions we like to ask in order to kickstart any explainer video project: 

  • Why are you having this animated video created and what do you hope to accomplish? 
  • Briefly describe what your company, product or service does: 
  • Who are your main competitors? Please list website urls for reference if possible.
  • What separates you from your competitors? What makes you unique (or what will make you unique when you launch)?
  • Take us inside the mind of your target customer. Please describe them not only in demographic terms but also in terms of what motivates them, what keeps them up at night, what barriers/”pain points” they might currently be facing that could lead them to need a product or service like yours, etc. 
  • How is your brand making their life better? How do you address the above-mentioned barriers and pain points of your target, especially in comparison to other offerings out there?
  • What do you want the main takeaways to be after people watch this video (don’t list every single point that may be covered, instead list the key takeaways that you need to stick with people after seeing this)?
  • Any “do’s and don’ts” in terms of the video?  E.g. tonality to either use or avoid, certain buzzwords to focus on or avoid, etc.? 

2. Concept Development

Once the client’s needs are clear, the animated video production company team should move on to developing a concept. This phase involves brainstorming ideas and creating a basic storyline. The concept should be engaging and easily understood by the target audience. 

At Gisteo, we sometimes combine this stage of the process with step 3 below (scriptwriting), but concepting is a fundamental piece of the puzzle to any production. 

Steps Involved:

  • Idea Generation: Brainstorming sessions to come up with creative concepts.
  • Storyline Development: Crafting a rough narrative that effectively conveys the message.

Best Practices:

  • Use storytelling techniques that can grab the attention of your audience. 
  • Incorporate the unique selling points of the product or service.
  • Ensure the concept aligns with the client’s brand identity and goals.

3. Scriptwriting

A well-crafted script is critical for a successful explainer video. Many video production companies fall short here because they’re primarily staffed by animators, not skilled writers and marketers. 

The script is the heart of any explainer video. It is the foundation upon which the entire video is built, influencing its clarity, engagement, emotional connection, and overall effectiveness. 

Investing in skilled script writers who understand the nuances of crafting engaging and concise scripts is crucial for creating explainer videos that not only inform but also inspire action. 

Here are some aspects quality animation services should keep in mind when developing an explainer video script:

Clarity and Simplicity

Quite often, the primary goal of an explainer video is to break down complex concepts into easily digestible content. A well-written script ensures that the message is clear and concise. 

It eliminates jargon, avoids unnecessary details, and focuses on the core message. This clarity helps viewers quickly grasp the subject matter, making the video more impactful and memorable.


A compelling script hooks the audience from the beginning and keeps them hooked throughout the video. 

By using a conversational tone, storytelling techniques, and a logical flow of information, the script can grab and maintain viewers’ attention. Engaged viewers are more likely to watch the entire video, remember the content, and take the desired action. 

Connection with the Audience

A great script resonates with the target audience by addressing their pain points, interests, and emotions. It speaks directly to them, making them feel understood and valued. 

This connection builds trust and rapport, which are crucial for influencing audience behavior and achieving the desired results

Effective Call-to-Action (CTA)

The ultimate goal of an explainer video is to drive viewers to take a specific action. A well-written script includes a strong and clear call-to-action that guides the audience on what to do next.

Whether it’s visiting a website, downloading an app, scheduling a demo or contacting a sales team, the CTA should be used if you’re looking to maximize conversions.

Alignment with Visuals and Audio

The script serves as the foundation for the video’s visuals and audio elements. A detailed and well-structured script is like a screenplay.

It ensures that the animations, graphics, and voiceover work seamlessly together to reinforce the message. This alignment lays the foundation for a professional video that helps communicate your message.

Time Efficiency

In the realm of explainer videos, brevity is crucial. A good script writer knows how to convey the message within a limited timeframe without sacrificing clarity or engagement. 

By prioritizing key points and eliminating fluff, the script ensures that every second of the video counts, making the best use of the audience’s time as well as the client’s budget

Brand Voice and Consistency

A script that reflects the brand’s voice and personality helps to maintain consistency across all marketing materials. 

Whether the tone is formal, friendly, humorous, or authoritative, a well-crafted script is a direct reflection of the brand’s identity.

4. Storyboarding

Storyboarding is the process of creating a visual plan of the video. Animated video production companies typically sketch out each scene to provide a blueprint of the video’s visual and narrative flow. 

This step ensures everyone involved understands the video’s structure and content and can help to avoid having to rework concepts later in the process. 

At Gisteo, we like to start with a rough sketch storyboard like what you see in the screenshot below to share with the client.

This allows us to visualize the script while helping the client understand how the story will unfold visually. It’s effective at identifying potential issues early on in the process to allow for adjustments before doing full-color illustration (next step).

 Finally, it also ensures alignment between our team and the client. 

5. Design and Illustration

In this phase, video production companies create the visual elements of the video, including characters, backgrounds, and other graphical components. These elements are designed to be visually appealing and aligned with the brand’s aesthetics.

Design Considerations:

  • Consistency with the Brand’s Visual Identity: Ensuring that all elements match the client’s brand guidelines.
  • Creating Relatable and Appealing Characters: Characters should resonate with the target audience.
  • Designing Backgrounds and Scenes That Enhance the Narrative: Visuals should support and enhance the story being told.

At Gisteo, we create what we call style frames along with a design board during this stage of the process. 

The design board (example screenshot below) uses full-color illustrations that we plan to use in the actual explainer video. It serves as a final checkpoint in terms of design and another chance for the client to provide feedback before we begin animation. 

6. Voiceover 

Animation services should use a professional voiceover talent that adds a personal touch and helps convey a client’s message effectively. The voiceover is recorded and synced with the animation. 

Additionally, sound effects and background music are added in animation to enhance the overall experience.

At Gisteo, we don’t use AI-generated voices as we feel the quality falls short of what humans can do (so far!). We also like to provide at least several custom voice over auditions so the client can hear a variety of choices before making their final selection.

7. Animation

Once the designs are ready and approved, it’s time for the animated video production company to bring them to life. This involves creating movement and transitions to ensure the video flows smoothly and engages viewers. 

Depending on the complexity, the animation stage can be a detailed and time-consuming process. Using the storyboard as a guide, it’s important to develop smooth movements (especially with character animation) and transitions. 

The process usually involves a couple of internal rounds of review and refinement before sharing the full cut with the client.

8. Review and Revisions

After the initial version is completed internally, it’s reviewed by the client. Reputable animation services realize that it’s necessary to gather feedback and make revisions accordingly. 

At Gisteo, we like to use the Review tool that comes with our subscription to Vimeo, which is the main video hosting service. 

This iterative process ensures the final product meets the client’s expectations although, if animated video production companies follow steps like we’ve outlined here and clearly communicate with the client during the process, feedback should be more oriented towards fine-tuning rather than making wholesale changes. 

Common Revisions:

  • Timing Adjustments: Tweaking the duration of scenes.
  • Visual Changes: Modifying designs or animations.
  • Audio Edits: Adjusting sound effects, or music in the sound design. 

9. Final Delivery

Once all revisions are completed and the client is satisfied, the final video is delivered in the required formats. 

We share a download link with our clients at Gisteo and offer advice in terms of distribution and platforms to use for video hosting, social media sharing etc. 


Producing an animated explainer video is a comprehensive process that requires creativity, technical skills, and collaboration. 

By following these steps, animated video production companies like Gisteo are able to create high-quality explainers that help brands connect with their audience and achieve their goals. 

For more detailed information on producing animated explainer videos, feel free to explore further resources and industry insights on our blog or contact us to discuss a potential project.

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