Aesthetic videos, sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, maybe aestheticism, the term this phrase about a video genre could be. But getting a video right and to the top of the viewers, the list shouldn’t be. Of course, if it is done well, probably by a professional. But what are aesthetic videos, and how to do them well? Ultimately, what are your goals and what would you like to achieve with such a video or videos?

Let us start at the top, what is aestheticism, after all? According to Britannica, “Aestheticism is the late 19th-century European arts movement which centered on the doctrine that art exists for the sake of its beauty alone and that it need serve no political, didactic, or another purpose.” On the other hand, “aesthetics, or esthetics, is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste, as well as the philosophy of art. It examines subjective judgments of sentiment and taste.” But how do these terms apply to modern-day daily life and the application of aesthetics in design and in these case videos?

According to Interaction Design, “aesthetics is a core design principle that defines a design’s pleasing qualities. In visual terms, aesthetics includes factors such as balance, color, movement, pattern, scale, shape, and visual weight. Designers use aesthetics to complement their designs’ usability. In that manner, they enhance functionality with attractive layouts.” This definition certainly applies to aesthetic videos.

These design experts add that aesthetics is an age-old principle that revolves around the nature of beauty and the fact that people prefer pretty things. It’s central to the fields of architecture, graphic design, and more. “Humans are hard-wired for visual input, and users’ first impressions typically form in 50 milliseconds. Their gut reactions guide them to either continue using your design/product or abandon it.“

Attractiveness – the key to good aesthetic videos

Experts (above), tell us that the key to a good aesthetic design, and in this case aesthetic videos are creating an attractiveness bias. Essentially, this means that any given aesthetic video should appeal to users on a visceral (arising from impulse or sudden emotion rather than from thought or deliberation) level. In daily modern life, particularly online, created in such a manner, an aesthetic video should lead to:

  • Emotional design;
  • More traffic;
  • More time spent on site and page/screen views;
  • A lower bounce rate.

What is the key effect here? Aesthetic videos should make users more tolerant of usability issues. Studies show that users rate visually appealing designs as more usable than they truly are (above).

“Attractiveness bias is a short-term effect, though – good looks can’t save a bad product. So, it’s vital to design for the user experience and optimize usability. This can be done by applying well-considered aesthetics to work together with your design’s functionality.”

It is important to note that visual appeal is at the same time both objective and subjective, personal. In aesthetic videos, some choices will resonate with all users and others will be flawed virtually everywhere. How a certain audience will receive an aesthetic video will depend on its culture, age, and educational level. “For example, the dangerous/racy connotations of the color red in the West contradict how Eastern cultures typically view red.”

Doing proper research on what will work and what will not is one important element. The other is to let the form follow function. This is a classic design concept. It means that “an object’s form (aesthetic design) should stem from the function it executes” (above).

This means that all the chosen elements that will be part of the video have to be in harmony with “a good visual hierarchy.”

More on the key elements

When using these key elements in an aesthetic video, you:

  • Guide the user’s eye to the page/screen’s functionality. You should make the aesthetics consistent with what users expect to see.
  • To optimize the choice and use of certain elements, a video designer should use timeless rules/principles such as the golden ratio, among others. This will help eliminate users’ uncertainty and quickly give them the right visual cues.
  • Always have the context in mind. Users “want to achieve goals and get results fast, and need simple, crisp layouts with elements that maximize ease of use.”
  • Aesthetic video design is a conversation with your users. Your element and layout choices should show your users the right things in the right way while telling them a fresh, captivating story about your brand. Or, anything else you want to convey to them through your video. All your elements—including their overall effect together through each image should serve a purpose and instantly direct users to what they want to do.
  • Your video design’s critical functionality always comes first. An attractive product that draws users to use it for its main purpose. Unlike art, good design aesthetics should be easily understandable. Users never have to guess what your design means.

Currently, aesthetic videos seem to do their best work through social media. The meteoric rise of Instagram and TikTok proves this fact. Gearing aesthetic videos to be attractive and usable on such platforms is always something to have in mind.

Very often, aesthetics is an element you can find in probably the most popular category – music videos. This is particularly true if you are creating a lyric music video. Pairing good aesthetics with the music and its lyrics can often mean a make or break for the particular music release.

aesthetic videos

VaporWave – example of the genre of the aesthetic video that works

VaporWave seems to be one of the aesthetic video genres that have struck a particular gold vein with the video viewers, But what is actually VaporWave? It is an aesthetic that managed to click with thousands of people and spread through social media breaking into the mainstream.

“It is characterized by incorporating old images & web design from the early days of the internet, music videos or other elements of pop culture of decades past and mixes it with surreal and distorted elements.”

Whether it’s music videos, McDonald’s ad’s or Simpsons episodes, vaporwave takes pieces of memories and collects & distorts them, adding visuals and sound effects that create a sense of deep melancholy, reminiscent of a past that never was. All this mixed with aesthetic canons of ancient Greece, such as Roman busts or Renaissance paintings, Japanese commercialism of the 90s, and a compulsive obsession with visual balance and the golden ratio (above).

It all started out with the musical part of these aesthetic videos. Between 2011 and 2012, young artists began creating remixes of songs from the ’70s and ’80s, mixing them with smooth jazz and lounge music, creating a new and strange genre, resembling a kind of “sad elevator music.”

The name “Vaporwave” is the combination of two concepts: the first, a pejorative advertising term that describes products that are widely advertised but that never go on sale. The other term comes from the so-called “vapor waves” that Karl Marx describes in his writings.

As expected with any aesthetic that becomes fashionable, publicists soon found a source of inspiration in Vaporwave and, just as other “anti-consumerist styles” such as punk and the hippie movement managed to find their place in the advertising, Vaporwave has become the preferred style of many brands in recent years.

Do-it-yourself or engage a professional?

As in any other case when preparing a video, in this case, an aesthetic video, there is a dilemma. Should you venture and do it yourself or should you engage a professional, freelance, like here at BunnyStudio or otherwise?

Essentially, if you decide to do it yourself, it will depend on two elements. Your knowledge of working with videos and in this case, your design abilities and knowledge of aesthetics. But not only just general knowledge but how to apply it, particularly in a very specific case. What exactly do you want to say with your video and what is its main point.

Still, very often it doesn’t matter how good your video skills may be, and how well you can work with design and aesthetic principles. There are so many cases when a job like this should be left to a professional.

This may be particularly the case with aesthetic videos, where the knowledge of an experienced professional can produce optimal results. In many cases, the solution lies with a freelance video professional. Of course, BunnyStudio is always available to connect you with a professional that will match exactly with the kind of result you need.

The selection process

With selecting the best freelance candidate to work on your aesthetic video, some of the usual principles of selecting the right candidate to apply. These include at least an idea and a plan about what kind of a video you require.

That idea and a plan will give you the guidelines on what to look for when you check the CV and portfolios of potential candidates. For all of these freelancers, they should have solid stats of their previous work. These include videos they have already created for other clients. Checking the number of views such videos had is quite essential.

When viewing previous video work, match the aesthetics of such previous work with the needs you have and see where they correspond. Finally, have a detailed interview with two to three prospective candidates. See how your concepts of what needs to be done matches with their views on the prospective project.

This is probably the best way not only to get the best candidate but to make sure that the aesthetic video or videos you are planning to make actually produce the best results. The results would be beneficial not only for you and your project or business. They can also be beneficial for the freelance video professional working for you.