The Common Craft Blog

This blog is where we announce new videos & talk about the power of explanation & the change it can create. 

Kurt Vonnegut's Shape of Stories

Posted by: leelefever on March 5, 2014- 8:19am


Categories: infographic, Kurt Vonnegut, Story, storytelling, visualization, youtube

As the OpenCulture blog explains, Kurt Vonnegut once proposed a master's thesis at the University of Chicago about the shape of stories. The idea was rejected because it "was so simple and looked like too much fun." That sounds familiar. People have asked us before if our style of video production is appropriate for serious subjects. 

Open Culture writes:

The elegant simplicity and playfulness of Vonnegut’s idea is exactly its enduring appeal. The idea is so simple, in fact, that Vonnegut sums the whole thing up in one elegant sentence: “The fundamental idea is that stories have shapes which can be drawn on graph paper, and that the shape of a given society’s stories is at least as interesting as the shape of its pots or spearheads.” 

What a neat idea. Here's how Vonnegut himself explains the shape of stories: 

Graphic designer Maya Eilam made this idea into an awesome infographic:

Kurt Vonnegut - The Shapes of Stories

The next time you see an opportunity to explain an idea in the form of a story, think about this simple idea: stories have shapes that we can visualize. Where does your story begin and end? Where does it go in-between?

Common Craft Cut-Outs: Re-Imagined

Posted by: leelefever on February 27, 2014- 9:34am


Categories: business, Cut-Outs, Images, ourwork, powerpoint, visuals

Whether it's PowerPoint presentations, videos or blog posts, the use of high-quality visuals have become an essential part of communicating clearly. This is why we've invested in our library of Common Craft Style images - what we call "Cut-outs". 

We recently made it much easier to browse, search and download Common Craft Cut-outs and use them in visual projects. We currently offer over 1,400 high resolution images in .PNG format.

Common Craft Cut-Out Library

All Common Craft memberships come with access to Cut-outs, including our DIY plan, which starts $49 per year

Questions? Find details and an FAQ or download a sample Cut-out

SXSWEdu - We'll Be There

Posted by: leelefever on February 20, 2014- 11:52am


Categories: conference, event, SXSW, sxswedu, travel

SXSW EDUJust a quick note that Common Craft will be attending SXSWEdu in Austin, TX, March 3-6. If you're going and would like to say hi, please contact us or look me up on the Twitter @leelefever





New Video: Online Discussion Forums

Posted by: leelefever on February 18, 2014- 10:13am


Categories: Common Craft Video, community, discussion, forums, moderation, social media

Today we’re announcing a new member-requested video that explains online discussion forums in about 2.5 minutes.  


Watch it now

About this video: In the real world, we depend on discussions for learning and socializing. It’s how we relate to one another. The same thing happens on the Web, and thanks to discussion forums we have a reliable way to organize and discover information in the form of discussions among people anywhere in the world. 

It teaches:
  • The role of discussion forums on the Web
  • Why discussion forums matter
  • How discussion forums are organized
  • What is required for forum participation
  • How forums are managed and can become a community
This video is part of our series on Social Media and is designed to help educators introduce common online tools.  If you're interested in using the Common Craft videos in your classroom, check out our membership options
We'd like to thank Patrick O'Keefe for helping with this video. He is a friend and the author of Managing Online Forums. If you want to dive deeper into forums, I can't recommend his book enough.