Depending on who you ask, dating means a lot of things – from fun to frustrating, awkward to time-consuming. When it comes to marketing a match-making app, that’s a lot of complex human emotion to unpack in a short promo film. It’s also why, according to London-based Studio Desk, animation lends itself perfectly to the dating app realm. Alongside an enticing way to experience a brand, it’s the perfect medium for visualising a host of feelings – as proven in the studio’s latest work for dating app Badoo, Intentions.
“Animation can depict subjective experiences really well and can make the inside visible and therefore tangible for an audience,” Studio Desk founders Kathrin Steinbacher and Emily Downe tell It’s Nice That. The two explain that via techniques such as exaggerating character movements, transitions, or morphing forms, the medium can explore states of mind, “which is a bit more difficult or sometimes impossible to do with the photographic image”. Equally, as opposed to featuring specific actors, the co-founders state that animation “allows more people to see themselves in the characters on screen”. For the pair’s work for Badoo, the studio states: “It was really important to us to design characters who are more androgynous and diverse to enable a wider range of people to see themselves in the characters.”
One look at Intentions can attest to the power of animation for the market. Exploring the struggle of dating in the 21st century, the film tackles what happens when intentions misalign, the frustrations it causes and how to overcome them. If it sounds like a lot of elements to juggle, imagine putting it into a 30-second film – which is exactly what Studio Desk had to do on the project. “The client often comes to us with an idea that is more like three minutes than 30 seconds! So we had to simplify the storyline a lot, but still wanted it to be exciting and engaging.”
Intentions is also refreshingly soft and soothing for a dating app advert. Much like the rest of its work, Studio Desk favours a painterly aesthetic, preferring to use a fluid frame-by-frame animation technique “that reveals the human hand behind the work”. The studio concludes: “In this case, it suited the film well because dating apps are ultimately about individuals looking for connection and they are dealing with raw human emotion, so we hope the animation style reflects that in a way. We also used interesting perspectives and ‘camera’ movements to emphasise the more awkward moments.” The final work pushes for the positives of the dating app experience, without glossing over some of the downsides of the journey.
GalleryStudio Desk: Badoo (Copyright © Badoo, 2022)
Studio Desk: Badoo (Copyright © Badoo, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.