What are BIAs?

I made this animated video for the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development. The purpose of the project was to create a short, engaging explainer video to help any audience better understand the function of Business Improvement Areas in Seattle.


Three months

Storyboard, illustration, animation, audio editing, visual design, voiceover transcription, working with a copywriter, audio technician and voiceover actor

Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere

The Office of Economic Development’s Business Improvement Areas (BIA) handbook is dense and inaccessible. OED wanted to create a series of branded, concise, accessible and engaging animations to break down the information in the handbook in a digestible way to make the information more available to small business owners and encourage more neighborhoods to come together to start BIAs throughout the city. The animations would eventually be paired with a website, interactive PDF and infographics.

Project Background and Description
This project was originally being quoted by Killer Infographics, but the price was high so I was able to swoop in as an intern and offer to take it on. I pitched a proposal and timeline to the team, and then developed storyboards which we refined and implemented over the summer.

Project Goals and Objectives
The goal was to keep the animations under two minutes long, to make them accessible for Deaf and ELL folks, and most importantly to make the information easy to digest for individuals well-versed in business terminology as well as outsiders.


  • Pitched project proposal and timeline to Office of Economic Development Business Districts Manager and Communications Director
  • Proposal was approved
  • Received first round of copy from copywriter
  • Adjusted copy to better suit the intended conversational tone of voiceover
  • Developed storyboards and visual assets
  • Refined storyboards in tandem with copywriting
  • Once storyboards were approved, began animating and met with team regularly to update on progress and make adjustments
  • Worked with audio technician and voiceover artist to record voiceover to pair with animationsUsed Premiere adjust audio and voiceover timing
  • After sending rough cut to team, refined and made edits in Adobe After Effects

The videos use illustration and simple visual metaphors to speak to the viewer as if they are a business owner. Our assumption is that if someone is watching this video, they probably are interested in learning more about BIAs, but we are not making any assumptions about their level of understanding. The animations break down complex concepts into simple understandable and concise bits.  All data and abstract concepts are represented visually. The tone is upbeat, using simple shapes and a flat illustration style, bright colors, and upbeat music. The narration is clear, friendly, and strikes a balance between professional and conversational. All voiceover is coupled with subtitles to accommodate viewers who are watching without sound or are Deaf. This also leaves potential for subtitles to be translated into multiple languages in the future, making this information more accessible to immigrant and refugee communities who own so many of Seattle's small businesses.