Common Craft Explanations Made Fun


At the Texas Library Association last week I had the pleasure of meeting Lee and Sachi LeFever from Common Craft. Those names might not sound familiar, but I just bet that you have seen their work. Those short explanatory videos with the paper cut outs that explain complex things "in plain English" - yep, those are from Common Craft. The Lee founded Common Craft in 2003 and now both Lee and Sachi work to create these 3 minute educational videos that seem deceptively simple. Their first video, RSS In Plain English has been viewed 1.6 million times on YouTube. Lee is the voice of the videos. He comes up with the outline and Sachi is the detail oriented part of the team. She fleshes out the script and then Lee begins the sketching and filming and Sachi does the editing.

Common Craft videos are really cute, but the trick is that the LeFevers know how to explain! They are so good that Google hired them in 2007 to explain their newfangled Google Docs product. Google Docs changed the way people thought about sharing documents and they needed Common Craft to explain that new way of thinking. That is exactly what Common Craft does so well. They take a foreign concept and create a story around it so that we understand what it means, and more importantly, what it means for us personally and why we should care. Plus they are memorable - I still think of camping whenever I think of wikis because of their Wikis In Plain English video.

Common Craft still does custom corporate videos and now they are also creating more educational videos and offering subscriptions for libraries and classrooms. So if your library or your company has some 'splaining to do, look no further than Common Craft.