Inspiration

Kurzgesagt: The Universe in a Nutshell

Black Holes, Fermi’s Paradox, and quantum computers in the educational project of Kurzgesagt design studio.
Kurzgesagt

Kurzgesagt ("in a nutshell" in German) is a Munich-based design studio, founded in 2013 by Philipp Dettmer and Stephan Rether.

When Philipp Dettmer and Stephan Rether were thinking what to do after getting their degrees in Graphic Design in Munich, they were inspired by such YouTube channels as CGPGrey, VSauce, and vlogbrothers. The guys decided to apply their design and visualization skills in order to create educational videos.

“We were not very satisfied after school, because often very boring things were taught over and over again or the amazing things were taught in a very boring way,” — Dettmer says in his interview to JUnQ. He was expelled from school at 15 for bad grades.

Later Dettmer got interested in information design and changed his attitude toward knowledge. Dettmer created the first animated educational video as his graduation work. At about the same time he met Stephan, and they started explaining the world together.

Kurzgesagt videos are memorable and slightly cheeky. “Even though we’re explaining complex things, I don’t think it should be too serious. The videos should be fun, and learning something should be a bonus,” — the founders of the studio say in their interview to create.adobe.com.

After two years, the studio employs 15 people and has 2 mln subscribers on YouTube. Kurzgesagt releases one 5-6 minute long video a month. It takes about 200 working hours to make it.

Each video has on average 2-3 mln views on YouTube. The most popular video of the studio, about Syrian refugees, was viewed 9 mln times.

Some of the Kurzgesagt videos are sponsored, for instance, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, or the Australian Academy of Science. However, most of them are published on the money raised through crowdfunding on Patreon.

The studio that was founded 3 years ago already has awards from Red Dot Best of the Best, Spark Award Gold, German Design Club Gold, SDN Best of Newspaper Design, and the Annual Multimedia Award.

“We do not want to make our audience experts in specific topics, but we want to trigger interest and we hope that maybe some of them start to dive deeper into the topics we present,” — Philipp Dettmer says.

(Cover image: kurzgesagt.org)

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