Sun. Jan 22nd, 2023

Uses and Applications of Digital Graphics and Animation

When assessing the use of digital graphics or animations, you must first identify the following:

  • Target audience
  • Purpose
  • Target platform
  • Target medium
  • Whether it is interactive or not
  • Legal and ethical considerations

If you have not identified the above, you can not make a subjective assessment of the product: for instance, a gory graphic showing blood dripping from open wounds may very well highlight the dangers of sword fighting, but wouldn’t be appropriate if the target audience was children aged 5-11.

Target audience

What is the target demographic? For obvious reasons, the target audience will affect the content of any materials produced. Although there are no set guidelines on what should or should not appear in media (save perhaps BBFC guidelines), you should aim to avoid any doubtful elements. Criteria you should consider for the target audience include at a minimum:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Environment – is it for use in a professional environment, home, or public location?
  • Interests – is it for people with a specific interest, or for everyone?

This is a highly subjective matter, but playing safe, avoiding intentionally being offensive and using common sense should avoid any major misunderstandings.

Note that it is entirely possible for one product to target two or more distinct demographics. This is commonly seen in animated films, where the storyline and artwork are intended to appeal to young viewers, whilst some of the humour is intended to appeal to adult minds – but in these cases it is cleverly presented in such a way that children don’t understand the context.


Graphics and animations are created for many different purposes. For example, animated films are primarily created to provide entertainment.

Illustrations can be educational (in a text book) or serve to enrich a narrative (story books), or purely to create visual impact and make something memorable – try imagining what posters, adverts and flyers would look like without any imagery.

Animations can also be educational. A famous set of public information films from the 1970s and 1980s use Charley to teach children the dangers of the world, including traffic awareness, playing with fire, and talking to strangers.

Target platform

Put simply, where is the product going to be used? Is it intended for:

  • Mobile phones
  • TV
  • Film/cinema
  • Magazine
  • Poster
  • Book
  • Newspaper
  • Website
  • Interactive game

Target medium

This is related to the above, but more focused on the format of the product itself – will it be:

  • Digital
  • Print
  • Both


Infographics have become a popular means of conveying information, especially numerical information. Rather than displaying all of the information in one go, users can interact with (click on, tap, roll the mouse over) areas of an image to view more detailed information.

This prevents an image from becoming overwhelming due to excessive information being presented simultaneously, and makes the product more engaging. The website below contains some excellent examples of this.

Legal and ethical considerations

As with any product, the creator should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Privacy – never collect information from users without their express consent. If you do, make sure that you treat all information in accordance with Data Protection laws and GDPR
  • Security – if, as part of the product, you collect data, ensure that all means necessary are taken to uphold its security. This includes, but is not in any way limited to, encrypting sensitive data or using hashes instead of storing plaintext passwords
  • Use of content created by others – when using content not created by yourself, you must take steps to identify the licensing agreement(s) that apply to that content. All images on this site, for example, are tagged as ‘Freely reusable’ or ‘Reusable for non commercial purpose’. If you wish to use other materials, you should contact the creator, and only use the material once you receive written consent. In a commercial environment, you should always maintain a list of assets, which includes from where any items used have been sourced, what limitations (if any) apply to their reuse, and who has been contacted to allow for reuse (if applicable).

Assessing products

When asked to assess the use of graphics or animation in a product, look at the six categories above. Ask yourself what the purpose of the product is, or who it is aimed at, and what the target platform is (most of this is self-evident; the only potentially difficult criterion is the target audience). Once you have identified these answers, you should be in a position to discuss (that is, explain, giving examples) how well you feel that product does or does not meet the aims.

As with other units of work, there is a difference between being able to state something (simply list facts), discuss something (give facts and explain them in detail), and evaluate (compare different strategies, products and techniques, identifying what makes one more suitable than another).

Remember: some of this is down to your opinion. As long as you justify what you say, your opinion is perfectly valid.