ExplainerGIFs: What They Are, Why They Matter

This post is based on a more comprehensive article I wrote called Welcome to the Next Golden Age of Animated GIFs.

Animated GIFs are fascinating. These silent, looping, video-like experiences are popping up all over the web, much like they did in the 90s. But this time, it's different. Animated GIFs can now be created by anyone and we're seeing them used in new and interesting ways. 

You've probably seen animated GIFs used for entertainment or highlights: 


But have you considered how animated GIFs can be used for communication and explanation?  Consider the example below by John Reid which explains pi:


Or this one by NickolayS that explains how a sewing machine works:

The examples above illustrate that the animated GIF format has real power when it comes to communication. Part of the reason is the GIF format is just as shareable as any digital image. Unlike online video, they work almost anywhere an image can be displayed. No plug-ins, no device restrictions, no worries.


I've been experimenting with creating my own animated GIFs using PowerPoint and screencasting software.  You might have seen them at work in the Common Craft Soccer GuideI call them ExplainerGIFs. Like an explainer video, it's an animated GIF that is designed to make an idea understandable. Below is a simple example that explains the water cycle:

You Can Make Animated GIFs

What I've learned is that these animated GIFs are quite easy to create - and I want to show you how. This fall I will be sharing everything I've learned about creating ExplainerGIFs using simple and affordable tools. If you'd like to be notified when it's ready, sign up for a notification at explainergifs.com

Here are some examples of what's possible:

Animated Venn Diagrams:

Animated Charts and Graphs

Animated Processes and Flows

Animated Conversations and People

Learn more and sign up for notifications at ExplainerGIFs.com.  

To learn more about the evolution of animated GIFs, read The Next Golden Age of Animated GIFs.