Ellen Porteus shares her pro GIF design tips

Ellen Porteus is a Melbourne based freelance illustrator and graphic designer, who uses her super bold graphic style to build colourful, surreal worlds in the form of captivating looping gifs.

With a background in graphic design, Ellen Porteus works digitally and has a penchant for creating mind-melting looping GIFs.

Earlier this month we spoke to Ellen about her creative process to get some insider tips on the rising popularity of GIFs and how you can make your own!


What are the advantages of using an illustration over photography? What role does illustration ultimately fulfil?

It’s all about making the most of the flexibility of the digital medium! Traditional illustrations are great, but Gifs can be really playful, engaging and clever. Commercially, I’ve created gifs for editorial work, social media and even branding. It can have a very distinct voice, which I think separates illustration from traditional photography.

For me, the most engaging gifs are the ones that loop seamlessly and infinitely, with a lot of movement and playfulness.

Ellen Porteus

Illustration can communicate a very specific message or complex concept in a distilled, poignant, funny or unique way- or all of the above.

Ellen Porteus


Design studio JaegerSloan got me on board to create looping pattern gifs for a rebrand for data company Quantcast. These gifs communicate the brand values and the types of behaviour they can measure online.


What are the main technical and design challenges involved with creating GIF¹s for a specific client?

The main challenge in creating a gif is getting my head around the looping aspect! As I work with patterns, there are a lot of elements moving. Because there are many variables to consider, lots of testing and lots of technical know-how, patience is key.

Everything has to be exactly placed and timed so it can loop back around in as few frames as possible- the fewer the better to keep the file size manageable.

Ellen Porteus

It can take twice as long as a usual illustration turnaround to create a looping gif.

Ellen Porteus


Can you offer a workable tip for illustrators who are interested in learning how to create a simple GIF for the first time. What do you need to be mindful of?

I would encourage you to start simple, maybe with a few elements, understand how things move and slowly build up to more complicated animation! I started out by creating a lot of bouncing balls.


Extracts from this interview first appeared in 33 GIF tips published by Digital Arts online.




Posted on Apr 25th, 16 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder and director of Inkygoodness, Lisa currently heads up sister agency WE ARE GOODNESS, a Birmingham based artist management and creative consultancy, representing a diverse roster of international illustrators and animators worldwide.

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