We can speed up the Internet by 75% if we all did this one thing.

Captivating isn’t it? This animation is of the inventor of one of the most popular image formats on the Internet – Steve Wilhite.


Cinemagraphs use the GIF animation engine to create what Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg described of their creation in 2011 as “born out of a need to tell a story in a fast digital age”

More than a photo, but not quite a video.
— Coco Rocha

Cinemagraphs animate only a portion of an image – the tiniest possible, actually – and that’s because the minimal the movement, the larger and more cinematic the visual can be.

Cinemagraphs done right and there’s no loading or play button – just instant movement and an initial visitor perception that something interesting is happening right here.

Cinemagraphs have become crazy easy to create compared to when they first came out. Pulling this off just a few years ago was mysterious and difficult to deconstruct. Now there’s several videos on Youtube (see sources below) that demonstrate how to do it using Photoshop and there’s even an app (albeit, overpriced) that will build these on your phone.

A good place to use these can be in an email blast to get interest fast and inspire a click-through. The key and often harder part of cinemagraphs is small files – 1 MB as the absolute upper limit – 500 kb to 750 ideal.

Best is to use a cinemagraph with some purpose. The birthday cake is one we produced with Tom, Dick & Harry Creative in Chicago for a client using MailChimp’s automated birthday email.