The Fermi Paradox

One of motion design’s greatest powers is its capacity for presenting complex information in compelling, informative ways.

But without clear thinking — and clear writing — even the best designers and animators have no hope of success. The creators of “The Fermi Paradox” grasp this concept firmly. The film is not only beautifully designed and animated, it’s based on a well-researched blog post on “Wait But Why?” pondering some of the challenges of SETI research.

Graphic explaining Type I Civilizations on the The Kardashev Scale

Graphic explaining Type I Civilizations on the The Kardashev Scale

A side project that’s taken on a life of its own

“The Fermi Paradox” is just the latest in a series of videos created by Kurz Gesagt (German for “In a Nutshell”), a group of designers, journalists and musicians who make informative videos in their spare time. Over 500,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel have helped them rack up over 22 million total views.

Their visual essays range across geo-political inquiries (“Is War Over?” and “Isis Explained: Isis, Syria and War”) to hard-boiled science (“The Immune System Explained”) to philosophical musings (“What Is Life? Is Death Real?”).

The Kurz Gesagt team

The Kurz Gesagt team

Through their Patreon campaign, Kurz Gesagt is hoping they can raise enough money to spend more time creating more educational films. As they say on their project page:

“We did not think this would be a permanent thing, it kind of just happened. We were fresh out of college and just wanted to do some awesome stuff. Now this kind of has become our life.”

Tip o’ the hat to Will Adams

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



Nice work … terrible voice over (lacks any variation/emotion whatsoever) … which unfortunately makes it monotonous. And reaching the actual title topic at the 3.30 mark … I dunno. Still it is nicely designed, particularly given it’s a side project for the crew.

Liane St. Clair

Love these, thank you for sharing!

Marcus Szabo

Beautiful stuff. The theories and information makes me so humble. Regarding voiceover I don’t think it’s bad at all.


Cute colours and slick motion! Not a bad piece at all.


Great work, ended up watching all their stuff. I quite enjoyed the voice over!

Donavon Brutus

Loved the design of this. Also thought the mild use of pop culture was a cool touch. Pretty rare that I make it through a even a 3 minute video, but this one stayed interested throughout.

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