Art of Explanation
I love this. Bruce Herwig, a reader of The Art of Explanation, decided to review the book by creating a Common Craft Style video. He even provided "5 lessons I Learned in Making a Common Craft Style Video" in the blog post. Thanks Bruce! Reading in email? Watch the video here. Learn more about Common Craft Cut-outs.
One of the tools we use in creating explainer videos is abstraction. We look for opportunities to take the ideas that we want to explain out of their normal circumstance and put them into a new world. An example is our video that explains social media. It's a big analogy about ice cream. Instead of talking about the details of tools and use cases, we showed what happens when everyone can make their own flavors. By abstracting an idea, we work to free it of all the details, biases and baggage... Continue Reading
It's true. The Art of Explanation is now available as an audiobook and can be found on Audible.
Many professionals work toward the moment their project, presentation, or work blows someone’s socks off. It’s easy to imagine a dream-like vignette where, once your peers and managers see your work, they form a conga line to celebrate the amazing things you’ve done. It’s sexy, they say. It’s slick. It’s mind-blowing. It’s a seductive way to think about work. We want to make big impressions and get noticed. We love the attention that may lead to promotions and accolades. It’s not that... Continue Reading
The Art of Explanation has been out for about 1.5 years now and it's been exciting to see how it has made it's way around the world. The book has now been translated into 6 languages (including 2 versions of Chinese). A Russian version is forthcoming. Top row: Korean, Hungarian, Simplified Chinese Bottom Row: Japanese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese. It's fascinating to see the book in other languages and consider what goes into the design. For example, the western translations in Hungarian... Continue Reading
Later this spring I will be speaking at an event for institutional researchers called the AIR Forum ("AIR" is the Association for Institutional Research). In speaking with the organizers, I've learned that the audience is very data-oriented and sometimes find it difficult to make their findings understandable to others. It will be my challenge to help them become better explainers. In preparation for the event, I wrote an article that was recently published in their newsletter that focuses on... Continue Reading
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was a prolific English author who is most known for A Dictionary of the English Language (1755). He contributed extensively to what we know about writing and literature. Recently I came across a quote of his that really struck a chord with me: "In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness." Put another way: you can be concise or you can be accurate, but rarely both. Indeed, the need or predilection to present information that... Continue Reading
A good primer by Ted-Ed on the process of turning a complex idea into visuals that can be used in an animated explainer video. Reading in email? Watch the video here. While the major points are great, I think it leaves out the creativity and complexity involved in producing the visuals themselves. It's a huge barrier for DIY video creators because it often requires expensive programs and extensive know-how. That's why we're fans (and partners) of GoAnimate, which provides tons of ready-made... Continue Reading
This post is part of a series designed to relate the big ideas behind conceiving and producing amazing explainer videos. You've seen it happen before. You're in a meeting, watching a video or having a conversation and everything is going well. You're on your way to understanding something new. But something happens. Your confidence wanes. What was clear becomes cloudy and you're not sure what to say. In this situation, it's easy to feel embarrassed, as if you're not smart enough to keep... Continue Reading
This post is part of a series designed to relate the big ideas behind conceiving and producing amazing explainer videos. In my last post, we discussed what goes into creating a script for an explainer video. Your script contains the words that will be read for the voice-over in the video. It’s under 500 words and tells the story of a person who learns about your product and uses it to accomplish a goal. You’ve received feedback from customers and even family on your script. Now that you’ve... Continue Reading