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Company Culture

Let the Sparks Fly: Meet the SparkLabs Animation Team

by Sarah Alvarez on Jan 24, 2020

In this three-part blog series, we’ll be introducing you to part of the SparkLabs team, to give you a peek into how we innovate to captivate. 

Ask anyone at AppLovin who the cool kids are and they’ll have the same answer: The SparkLabs team. As the force behind the creatives we produce, SparkLabs is a team full of designers, animators, and developers who love to follow the data to make the ads that will make an impact and drive results. 

Whether they’re working on a new playable ad, or an engaging video ad, the SparkLabs team’s goal will always be to get the best results for the game developer so they can focus on running their business (and creating more great games!). So how does SparkLabs approach a project? It starts with research to better understand the developer’s goals and challenges, and then ideation becomes a storyboard for the game. Next, the team actually creates the ad they’ve been developing, and performance testing begins. This way the team understands what’s working well in the ad for the game. They don’t stop there—continuous iteration and testing is in our DNA, which is how the team relentlessly pursues improvements to drive the creative strategy forward. 

“SparkLabs is a powerhouse team of creators who bring high energy, passion, and deep collaboration to push the boundaries of engaging players with new experiences every day,” said Alice Guillaume, Senior Director of Marketing. “We are confident about making the top-performing creatives in the mobile gaming industry and fueling growth for developers.”

This team, bursting with creative energy, knows that secrets are contained in the data, which will guide them toward the highest-performing ads for any campaign. They’re a team that has their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends, and is constantly testing, iterating, and improving their work. 

Let’s Meet the Animators

Our animation team is just as diverse as the creatives they work on. Some have been with us since they graduated from art school, and others have come to us with extensive background careers in classical animation.

One thing is for sure: As an animator, SparkLabs is unlike any other creative team you’ll work on. Many of our animators were traditionally trained in 2D and 3D animation, and while they aren’t applying their skills in a traditional sense, this team has the opportunity to stretch these existing skills and apply them in brand new ways. Not only is this a creative challenge, but it’s also an essential contribution to the forward momentum of AppLovin’s overall business. 

Unlike a job in “traditional” animation where you might be working on one part of a project for an extended period of time, SparkLabs gives animators the chance to take the principles of traditional animation and apply them to smaller, 30-second stories in the ads produced. Animators get full ownership of their projects and the team is encouraged to collaborate among themselves to keep inspiration fresh.  

“I don’t feel like a cog in the machine. I am the machine,” said Beth Rosaschi, a Senior Designer at SparkLabs.

While the team takes a lot of pride in their work, on both an individual and group level, there is a true lack of ego that is essential to keep SparkLabs running smoothly and producing the number of creatives that are needed on a daily basis. Team members have to shift their mindset and have to be okay with scraping a project and starting anew if things aren’t working well for an ad. 

On the other hand, animators have learned to look at the details in new ways. For example, when working on a project, an animator might look at adding something as simple as rotations to hand motions instead of keeping the image static. It’s a small thing that most people might overlook, but it gives the overall movement a much more natural feel.  

“A tiny, little thing you change in an ad can have a big effect,” said Chris Turner, Design Manager at SparkLabs. 

One piece of feedback this team will tell you over and over again is that the team dynamic is strong. While there is a wide range of personalities and skillsets among the SparkLabs team, the fast-paced, collaborative nature of the job makes this team work. And while everyone is very busy, everyone enjoys being in each other’s company. 

For more information on SparkLabs, or to start your spark – check out the SparkLabs website

Sarah Alvarez is a Manager of Communications at AppLovin