Panic is the ever-changing animation studio which spins its craft to each individual project

After starting entirely from scratch, the studio prides itself on its unconventional approach: entering every project with fresh eyes, and always trying out new styles for each brand it works with.

6 February 2023


Kickstarting a new creative project is always a daunting project. But starting your own studio in a creative area of which you have no prior knowledge? Terrifying. This was the situation Gints Gutmanis found himself in 2014 after he left a well-paid job in a digital agency to build his own animation studio: Panic.

Rita Šteimane, executive producer and partner at Panic, explains that while the three-person studio had some awareness of how agencies operate, it pretty much started at “ground zero”. Rita continues: “We had no clients, no international connections, no projects in the pipeline and a little knowledge of how the production industry rolls.” But, what the team lacked in experience and knowledge, it made up for in the passion, talent and ambition. Now, the studio has racked up a serious number of respectable projects and clients under its belt, and it has no plans of stopping its upward trajectory any time soon.

One way in which Panic keeps its work fresh and relevant is by never getting too comfortable in one specific style or approach. “We push ourselves creatively everyday,” Gints identifies, “there are just too many styles, techniques and visual expressions to explore and tell the story. Why would we copy ourselves?” Over the pandemic, the studio completely replaced its portfolio, taking on a whole host of new projects and clients. “We never dwell on the past, but rather look at ways to grow and change with every next project. Trends are changing,” Rita adds.

Looking at Panic’s portfolio, its diversity is instantly apparent. Instead of crafting what could be perceived as a specific “style” it insteads pays great attention to each brand’s “visual language, tone of voice” and the story it needs to tell. Not only delivering a service, Panic also works hard at building relationships, putting the time into creating lasting connections with producers and creatives it has worked with.

In a project for Netflix, in which the studio created workplace health and safety videos for the streaming service’s global office staff, the studio applied a colourful, 2D, line-focused illustrative approach – with stylistic similarities to many of the award-winning cartoons you can find on the website. The simple yet engrossing style is a perfect match for pulling its audience in and still being able to translate important information. Through the project, not only did the studio demonstrate its deft animation skills, but its ability to craft unique stories; it created the entire narrative and wrote the script for all of the videos.

Elsewhere, in a project for the employment website Indeed, Panic created a series of animations entitled Smart & Small which gave people tips on how to find a job (like how to write a cover letter, and what words to include in a resume). Here, the studio applied a drastically different style. It created a host of charming, puppet-like characters, including Denise (a job finding expert), that while digitally rendered had all the charm of a hand-crafted puppet. The project was shortlisted for The Motion Awards 2021.

Looking at just how fun and playful Panic’s work can be, it may be easy to assume that its work wouldn’t be suited to a more serious or more solemn tone. However, Panic can flex its approach depending on the project; it recently completed work for the healthcare industry, working on an animation for a Swiss transplant unit to encourage organ donation after an unexpected death. “This is a heavy topic,” Rita identifies, “though it doesn’t mean it can’t be beautifully told.”

Looking to the future, Panic is determined to rise to the top of the animation game. “There are a few names that come to mind when you think of outstanding animation studios,” Rita identifies. “We want Panic to be among them.” Prioritising its growth in the animation sector, Panic is putting time into building its brand through its humorous, playful and informative social accounts. Moreover, in March it will be kicking off OFFF Barcelona with a keynote speech, talking through its journey, struggles, lessons and turning points throughout its eight years. But, above everything, Panic wants to continue doing what it does best: producing playful, witty and daring animations and living by its catchy slogan, “Loud stories. Exceptional craft.”

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If you’re looking for calming advice, look for PANIC – animation studio, which combines head-turning storytelling, exceptional craft and outstanding client service. Their attention to detail, style, and execution has allowed them to successfully enter the front doors of Netflix, Uber, Google, Jetblue, and many others!

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