Why Are Cinemagraphs Trending in Web Design?

cinemagraph coffee

Do you still remember the time when animated GIFs were all the rage in websites? Although web design standards have drastically changed since then, the attraction potential of moving images cannot be denied. That’s why a lot of websites continue to use animation, and one awesome web design trend these days is the use of cinemagraphs.

What are Cinemagraphs?

Cinemagraphs have been making significant noise lately, and are being used across several websites and social media campaigns. A lot of companies have joined the bandwagon of integrating cinemagraphs into their website, such as Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Chanel, Netflix, and Wal-Mart, to name a few.

In a nutshell, a cinemagraph is a still photo but with subtle movements being looped continuously. The technique was the brainchild of American photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, who set out to animate photographs starting in 2011.

Waving reeds cinemagraph.gif
By Johan Blomström, CC BY 2.0, Link

Cinemagraphs hit it big in 2016, when popular brands started using the animation technique as part of their advertising campaigns. Cinemagraphs can create a wonderful story that is intriguing, which eventually makes the online audience stay longer on the website and look through all the other pages. The design strategy also tells such compelling stories that can leave an imprint in the minds of the audience.

The Importance of Adding The Right Website Elements

Did you know that, on the average, a website visitor spends only about 15 seconds on a website? Knowing that there are websites that can offer more interesting things, some companies miss the chance of making online visitors stay longer. This is where cinemagraphs come into play these days –although a cinemagraph is not a video, subtle movements can already tickle the mind of any visitor.

Apart from providing newsworthy content, websites should be presented in a beautiful way – but not too fancy to the extent of sacrificing function and content. After all, the website should get the attention of its online viewers.

More than having quality content for your website, there is a need to integrate other factors that would make your site followers stay for the long haul. These factors include:

  • Page loading time
  • Image quality
  • Shareability to social media sites
  • Online support
  • E-commerce

Web design has dramatically changed over the past years, what with the rise of new design trends. Because of this, businesses should always be at the top of their game in terms of maintaining the website. Having a good website can effectively turn casual visitors into real customers, as well as keep your company ahead of competitors.

Following the trend is very crucial to every website designer. It is inevitable to keep abreast with the constant changes regarding web design.

In addition, keeping an eye on the design of competitor brands may help you become more creative and inspired to make better designs. This, in turn, helps you to improve your online marketing skills while you keep yourself up-to-date with the latest web design trends.

If you are trying to find ways on how to help your client stand out among his competitors, a little tweaking on branding strategies might do the trick. This can be possible through using cinemagraphs on your website.

Cinemagraphs: The New Standard in Web Design?

Sizzling Bacon Cinemagraph by Victoria via Flickr

Photo source: Victoria via Flickr

What is it with cinemagraphs that make companies eager to use them in their websites and online campaigns? Here are some of the reasons why the cinemagraph technique works so well:

  • Compared to old animated GIFs, cinemagraphs exude a feeling of sophistication, and that the business wants to be taken seriously. The technique gives any website a distinct recognition from other not-so-known brands, and makes it stand out.
  • The HD resolution of cinemagraphs makes it very much shareable in social media. It has a distinctly elegant appeal that makes anyone instantly click and share it with their friends.
  • Cinemagraphs create an exceptional way of adding another interesting layer to your story, thereby increasing audience interaction. In other words, it can create a higher conversion rate compared to using still photos for advertisements. This has been confirmed by Microsoft when they launched an 8-day campaign and gained 1.92 million impressions. That’s an extremely surprising 110% increase engagement rate on Twitter compared to using still photos!

Cinemagraphs vs. Animated GIFs

Photo source: From Me To You

We often see GIFs being shared on social media sites. Using GIFs has been used as a way of expressing how people feel online, or an alternative comment in place of text and emojis.

Some people consider the emergence of cinemagraphs as the start of the downfall of animated GIFs. What makes a cinemagraph stand out is that it is considered as a work of art that emphasizes on the beauty rather than the animation that GIFs can provide.

In simpler terms, when a particular brand uses cinemagraphs, it exudes a different kind of feel – a feeling of authority that should be taken seriously. In contrast, GIFs are often whimsical as frequently seen on posts shared on Facebook, easily becoming a way of communicating with other people.

A Quick Guide To Making Your Own Cinemagraph

Here are some tips on how to create your own cinemagraphs, to be used on your website and social media campaign:

Read tutorials on cinemagraph making

You don’t have to be a superstar creative designer to whip up a cinemagraph. Tutsplus has a comprehensive tutorial on how to make cinemagraphs. If you’re serious about using this technique on your site, the best strategy would be to make your own.

Use apps designed to create cinemagraphs

An easier alternative would be to use apps designed to help you make these animated works of art. Here are some amazing apps for this particular purpose:

Cinemagraph from PHLEARN

Photo source: PHLEARN


Cinemagraphs are innovative recurrences that are quickly spreading like wildfire online. The web design industry is expected to change and adapt to the arrival of cinemagraphs, although only time will tell if this web design trend is going to stick for years to come.

[Coffee cinemagraph, courtesy of cinemagraphs.com]