Kurzgesagt – is a coined German phrase, translated in English to “In a nutshell. “ It is a YouTube channel and design agency, who, in their own words, have a unique perspective on design, color, and storytelling’. Launched in 2013 as a freelance project by Philipp Dettmer, Kurzgesagt has accumulated more than 16 million subscribers and a massive 1.6 billion views.
In light of these statistics, it is no wonder that Kurzgesagt is now the largest Youtube channel in Germany, with its main headquarters based in Munich. Even with the multitude of online video content in existence, Kurzgesagt has still managed to cut through the noise through its uniquely humorous video content and offer something unique to the online world.
In fact, their videos are so engaging that they are notorious for encouraging binge-watching stints.
WARNING: You may soon find yourself going down an endless Tik-Tok-style rabbit hole where you can’t help but click one video after another. Minutes can very quickly turn into hours – we’re telling you.
Cutting through the noise
So how did Kurzgesagt reach so many people and build an enormous and devoted loyal base? The question is, what distinguishes their animated explainer videos from others available on the internet?
While the online giant engages in information design projects of all kinds, it is probably best known for its unique animation videos. The site works hard to raise awareness for topics in the fields of science, space, technology, biology, history, and philosophy, integrating humor into each video to really resonate with the target audience and inspire learning at the same time.
The studio’s YouTube channel focuses on highly stylized animated educational content through the use of the flat design style. Steve Taylor, often dubbed ‘the voice of Kurzgesagt,’ is the voiceover for each video, varying from 4-16 minutes.
In the beginning…
Driven by his newfound passion, Philipp Dettmer applied to the Munich Design School and was accepted. It was not until later that he realized the world was a beautiful place full of many things to learn. And yet, the content itself wasn’t boring, but the way that it was taught.
Born was his desire to research the world we live in and subsequently share his newfound knowledge with others with passion and creativity.
Dettmer began creating easy-to-digest explainer videos, motivated by his belief that everybody should have access to even the most intricate scientific principles.
The secret to success
According to networthspot.com, Kurzgesagt earns an estimated $2.19 million a year. Since the site produces content for free, it relies only on the support of its followers through the sale of associated merchandise and through Patreon, a platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service for members.
Among their clients are several celebrated names, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Audi, Microsoft, Audible, and the National Academy of Sciences, to name but a few.
The Kurzgesagt culture
Now this, ladies and gentleman, is what really sets Kurzgesagt apart from other explainer video companies, and we could all take a leaf out of their book.
The site has invested in an entire team solely dedicated to research and verification of that research. Their content reflects their enthusiasm and motivation to simply be the best in the business.
They even have a system through which they can tailor specifically to audience expectations, making videos based on viewer requests in the comments.
Kurzgesagt explains even the most complex (and controversial) topics in a witty and accessible way through intricate illustrations and elaborate animations. Custom music composition and sound design give their videos an exceptional high-quality feeling. Meaning that even the most political subject matters can be comprehended by the masses.
With questions like “what would happen if you had a black hole in your pocket?”, Kurzgesagt explores big questions with Bitesize videos. The website is shrewd in presenting knowledge in a way that immediately grapples the viewer.
Kurzgesagt clearly understands the immense scale of the universe and everything within it. The best part? It tackles the enormity honestly and directly. Ignorance is at the root of fear, so what better solution is there than education?
Like our creative team at AE, Kurzgesagt are firm believers that every good story starts with a script. They claim that the completion of their script can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year. A year… excessive, right?
The reason behind such an absurd turnaround time lies in the company’s commitment to research. Kurzgesagt leaves no stone unturned, gathering information from books, research papers, and anywhere they deem sufficient before creating even the first draft. To ensure accuracy to the highest level, the script is then sent to various experts and then reviewed several times before being finalized.
The process of collaborating, rewriting, and, most importantly, research are the elements that contribute to the lengthy process of producing a final script. This not only gives to the content’s quality but its accuracy. The main bonus from this? The audience trust and respects Kurzgesagt as a reputable source.
The birds and, well, more birds
Colorful yet minimalist animation provides a nice counterbalance to the colossal topics dealt with on the channel. Couple this with the smooth and consistent nature of Steve Taylor’s voice across all of the videos, and you have not only content that is easy to engage with but easily distinguishable in terms of its commitment to branding.
This notion is developed even further in the channel’s is known for using charming animated birds in its videos. You’ll even get a special Bird Icon if you join the channel’s Patreon at the $40-per-month level. What’s more, your bird will feature in a future video, as well as take pride of place on the channel’s website as part of the Kurzgesagt Bird Army.
Kurzgesagt has principles.
Even the most famous and popularly-used Youtube channel in Germany can make mistakes.
Following backlash that videos on the refugee crisis and addiction (that had more than 31 million views when combined) were inaccurate in terms of research and information presented, the platform made the decision to delete them.
Kurzgesagt was quick in their humble admission that insufficient research was carried out for the two videos and that they were biased in the scripting of them. It was argued by a multitude of critics that the perspective was unbalanced and dangerous due to political inclination. The popularity in the eyes of the viewers is found in the aforementioned statistics. Despite this, Kurzgesagt insisted on the removal of the videos.
In an effort to learn from past mistakes, Kurzgesagt has since vowed to conduct comprehensive research. This way, their content will always be considered relevant and reliable.
The channel goes to great lengths to ensure that its videos aren’t only entertaining but also that it remains trustworthy with the information they present. Writers and researchers go to transcendent lengths to review multiple sources. Talk with trusted experts, and request feedback from them before publishing a video.
When controversial topics are at hand, it is so important to have as many different eyes upon the work as possible in order to reduce the likelihood of any bias. We have huge respect for Kurzgesagt for maintaining a humble and moral approach throughout their postings and strive to follow in their footsteps with our own content.
Kurzgesagt’s established platform is due to its moral standpoint, consistently familiar approach, and of course, beautifully presented educational content. Time and effort have been invested into every last detail of the channel’s marketing strategy. As is shown in the statistics mentioned throughout this article, it has well and truly paid off.
Had you, too, never heard of Kurzgesagt? We hope that this article inspires you to seek knowledge from the platform’s abundance of engaging and informative content to help you pass the time. How could it be – guiltless scrolling! Surely you can learn more than you could with time spent on TikTok. Kurzgesagt takes criticism of apps that cause users to spend hours scrolling through video after video in its paradoxical power to entertain, educate, and maintain their viewers all in one go.