An emotive and engaging explainer video that's a little bit different for unique education solutions company Cognassist.

The Brief

Cognassist identify hidden learning needs, personalise support and transform learner attainment. They’re on a mission to help every learner reach their full potential through cognitive assessment. We worked with them to produce an emotive and heartfelt explainer video that stood out from the crowd, told a story, and also explained to the audience how Cognassist can help.

Our Response

Character Development

Cognassist work with people of all ages and diversity, so for us this meant designing characters that a wide audience could relate to. A lot of work went into developing a style of characters that the audience could empathise with. Through multiple rounds of ideation and development, we landed on a story that would focus around one main character and there would also be a selection of secondary characters to widen the appeal and breadth of the story. To enable a wide audience to empathise with only a few characters, in just 90 seconds, meant honing in on a style that was easily recognisable and lasting. We refined the main character from male to female, ending up on a non-binary representation that was open to interpretation from a wide net of society. As well as gender, age was an important factor in our scope of characters which you can see illustrated in the secondary characters.

Visual Development

Every shot has to start somewhere, whether it be a sketch, a rough idea in the brain, or a colour key. Through multiple iterations during the animation process, we hone in on exactly the look we want. Not only do you need to build characters, but also environments that will serve as the world that the characters live in. These are storyboarded out and sometimes changed completely, looking like very different shots in the end product. All of this work leads towards the end result of a finished shot that communicated the story beat we need.


With most explainer videos, you have a script and follow that to visualise each message to the audience. With Cognassist, things were a little bit different! This required a different approach. To get across a narrative in such a short amount of time & sell that to the audience through emotive storytelling, this all came down to timing. We worked through multiple iterations whilst storyboarding to ensure the content and emotions came through on the screen. To work out this timing we created multiple animatics at both a sketch and an asset storyboarding stage to ensure that what we showed on the screen was correctly communicated.

The Brain

A key part of this engaging explainer video was encapsulating what Cognassist do within their business which is working with people to help them understand their brain. The kicker there is, how do you represent the brain? Everyone’s brain is unique and like a fingerprint, none are the same. Yet, there is similarities and processes that we all use and go through. This was one of the big struggles we knew we had to overcome from day one. After a variety of different ideas were experimented with, we settled on the most effective of the bunch. We represent everyone’s brain as a pattern that shifts and moves as they think. By representing the brain in this visual way, we enabled us to pin down on a storytelling device that the audience can get behind. This meant that we would be able to capitalise on this as a device for the characters to interact with once they understand their brain and how it works through collaboration with Cognassist.

Additional Characters

In addition to the characters within the hero animation produced, after the production wrapped up we produced another selection of characters that helped to widen the appeal and inclusion of the style for use on Cognassist’s website and extended material. We aimed to show a wide range of faiths, ages, genders, sexual orientation and disabilities to enable the audience to see that Cognassist work with everyone, and by everyone they definitely mean everyone! We all have a brain right?

The Result

The final animation pulls at the heartstrings and takes us on a journey with our characters. It truly is an animation that takes an engaging explainer video to the next level.

What our client Said

“Exceptional work and a fantastic team, The Animation Guys were a joy to collaborate with. They provided us a title sequence and related graphics for our Children’s TV show which has quickly become iconic. The understood our vision and worked collaboratively with our team to create a product that we were thrilled with. We can’t want to work with them again and you shouldn’t hesitate to book them!”

Faraz Osman

Gold Wala

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