What We Do:

We can help you become an explanation specialist.

Common Craft Membership

Start your life as an explainer with Common Craft Membership. Prices start at just $49 per year. It provides:

Cut-Outs:

Make your presentation or video remarkable with 800+ digital images in Common Craft Style, plus Know-How resources for using them.

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Ready-made Videos:

Educate others with 50+ ready-made video explanations that you can embed on your website or download for offline use.

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We Wrote the Book on Explanation

The Art of Explanation

A book by Lee LeFever

The Art of Explanation will help you become an explainer.

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Need a Video for Your Product?

The Explainer Network

Our network of custom video producers can create short, animated videos that make your product or service easier to understand.

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The Common Craft Blog

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

Since I was young, I've wondered about pain relievers and how they work. Thankfully Richard Byrne over at FreeTechForTeachers pointed me to this awesome animated explanation that's part of the TED-Ed series of videos. 

A few things to notice about this video, from the explainer perspective:

The First Half of the Video is Mostly Context

It starts with an easy first step - everyone knows the discomfort of pain - it makes you want to do something to relieve it. No viewer would disagree or lose confidence with the first couple of points. Next it answers questions like - why should I care about pain?  What role does pain play in our lives? Then it does a good (and quite technical) job of explaining what happens inside your body that enables you to feel pain. 

Let's look at the big picture for a moment. The video is called "How Do Pain Relievers Work?" Two full of minutes of video pass before pain relief is even mentioned. That's close to half the video focused on building context and agreement. This creates a foundation for the more specific, pertinent points about pain relievers.  Without taking the time for context, the other points may not be as understandable.

The Explanation Lesson:

The next time you're working to explain an complex idea, it may seem logical to head straight for the ideas you need to explain. In this example, it's pain relievers. Instead, I encourage you to take a step back and think about building a foundation for the ideas. Make the first couple of points easy to understand and answer questions like "Why should I care?" or "Why does this matter?"  Talk about the forest first, then the trees. By building context, you'll give the audience a way to make sense of the points that are the real focus of your explanation. 

The video above was based on a lesson by George Zaidan. The animation was produced by Augenblick Studios.

You Make Common Craft Possible - Thank You

Posted by: leelefever on November 26, 2013- 4:34pm

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Categories: business, friends, Holiday, partners, thanks, thanksgiving

Not everyone knows that Common Craft is truly an independent, two-person operation. Sachi and I are Common Craft. We have no employees or investors. From answering support emails to drawing Cut-outs to editing videos, we do (almost) everything.   
 
But it wouldn’t work without the attention and help of others. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’d like to extend a huge thank you to people that help make Common Craft tick.
First, We couldn’t do anything without our members. Each time a person or organization joins Common Craft or renews for another year, it means we can keep making membership even more awesome for everyone.  Our members are both the motor and motivation behind what we do and we’re so very thankful to them for making Common Craft possible.
 
This is also true for our Explainer Network members. These video producers were among the first and best to specialize in explainer videos and their membership in our network helped to establish the explainer video movement. 
 
And we could never have made it this far without our fans and followers. We appreciate every mention, every retweet and every time you tell someone about Common Craft. It helps - thank you!
 
Lastly, we want to thanks the partners and organizations that work behind the scenes to make Common Craft better. They include Josh and Jared at Number 10 Web Company, Jay and Anastasia at Juxtaprose and Darren and Julie at Capulet Communications
 
It’s often said that the secret to success is surrounding yourself with the right people. We are very thankful to work with people we also consider friends. 

Have an amazing Thanksgiving!

New Cut-outs: Maps and Places

Posted by: leelefever on November 20, 2013- 12:29pm

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Categories: Cut-Outs, geography, Images, maps, places, social studies

If you need maps, we’ve got you covered.  We recently published hundreds of new Cut-outs that focus on maps and places.  These downloadable images can be used in your projects and include:
  • Popular landmarks
  • US states
  • Global continents 
Countries of:
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America
Below are samples of the cut-outs, which are all available to Common Craft members. The images are provided in .zip files.

Landmarks

Common Craft Landmarks
 

Countries of Europe

Common Craft Europe Maps
 

Continents

Continents

We now offer over 1000 Cut-outs, all in Common Craft style. Preview or browse all Common Craft Cut-outs.

New Video: Domain Names and Hosting

Posted by: leelefever on November 12, 2013- 11:22am

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Categories: business, Common Craft Video, domain names, hosting, websites

Getting a custom website up and running can seem complicated. This video about Domain Names and Hosting explains the basic elements that make it work by following the story of Emma, a dog walker.

Common Craft Domain Name and Hosting
 
What it Teaches: This video explains the steps that one takes to have a custom built website. Our character Emma has a dog walking business and needs a website. A friend walks her through the process of finding a domain name and getting the site online. It teaches:
How to research and reserve a domain name
The role of web designers and developers
How servers make websites available
Why her website needs a “home” in the form of a host
How the domain name registrar and host work together

Do you care about digital literacy?

This video, like others in our library, is designed for teaching technology and digital literacy. If that’s your goal, consider how Common Craft can help you be a more efficient and effective educator. Learn more.