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Video Visionary Award – Education Recipient: Smart Bubble Society

by RealPlayer on November 2, 2012

Video Visionary Education Smart BubbleThis summer we announced the RealPlayer’s Video Visionary Award – Education. The award recognizes those who are using video to create world-class educational content for the masses. We’re happy to announce the next recipient of the award is the Smart Bubble Society.

The Smart Bubble Society creates motion graphic shorts called Thought Bubbles that help educate people about an idea or issue. The not-for-profit motion graphic studio works with non-governmental organizations (NGO), thought leaders, politicians, writers and other not-for-profit organizations to help them deliver their messages through video. The Thought Bubble videos can be easily shared on social media sites.


Motion graphic shorts combine multiple elements including audio, graphic images, and movement to tell a compelling story or teach a concept in just a few minutes. In addition to creating shorts about social change, the company also works on projects to help promote education such as the Mozilla Webmakers series created by teaming up with the Mozilla Foundation. Here’s the first in the series featuring Instructors.


We recently caught up with Suzanna Brusikiewicz, Co-founder, Creative Director of Smart Bubble Society. As well as managing the day-to-day creative on projects she also creatively manages a YouTube-funded series called Crash Course World History. We asked her a few questions about creating Thought Bubble videos and how using motion graphics makes such a big impact.

RealPlayer (RP): How did you come up with Thought Bubble?

Suzanna Brusikiewicz (SB): My co-founder Jonathon Corbiere and I both went to school for graphic design in Toronto. We wanted to figure out a way that we could apply our skill set for a greater purpose, to educate audiences rather than sell them goods. Thought Bubble was conceived as a way to do that. Using motion graphics as a medium, we communicate big ideas, educational concepts, and critical issues to an online audience in an entertaining, yet inspiring way.

RP: What made you focus on just being a motion graphic studio?

SB: Being graphic design graduates we looked to motion graphics as the perfect medium for Thought Bubble’s mandate. Because graphic design conceptually rests on visualizing ideas and simplifying complexities, motion graphics takes this technique into a time-based medium – where a combination of iconic imagery and typography timed to voice over narration really bring the points home, and resonates with viewers emotionally. You can evoke further emotional reactions through sound design and music, so combining all of these elements makes the expression of an issue much more powerful and interesting.

Bill McKibben’s Thought Bubble: The Fight of Our Time is a great example:

RP: What are some of the benefits of using motion graphic videos to educate people?

SB: When you view live action photography or individual photographs an audience tends to bring to their viewing a series of stereotypes and learned expectations about different elements of the visual. Using motion graphics as a medium helps to rid the composition of these unwanted visual stimuli while focusing only on what is important to communicate. Because we use iconography as our primary source of visual information, we have a much better understanding of what exactly that icon is going to communicate.

An icon of an animal, for example, is a representation of just that animal as an idea, and nothing more. If we were to show a photograph of this animal, the representation to the audience could be many different things, the quality of the animal’s fur, questions around whether the animal looks happy, where this animal located geographically, etc. Therefore, motion graphics offer the most direct and concise communication medium, allowing the audience to quickly understand the message you’re putting forth, while avoiding all the distractions associated with regular photographic time-based mediums.

RP: How do you find your projects?

SB: We have generally been approached through word of mouth or through direct contact. Our board of directors meets twice a year to discuss what socio/political issues we should be addressing and which organizations/great thinkers would be best to approach for a Thought Bubble.

RP: Can you tell us a little about the video team? 

SB: Our team currently comprises five people in-house, with a pool of freelancers we hire on a regular basis, all over the globe. Our in-house team includes Suzanna Brusikiewicz, co-founder, CCO and Creative Director, Jonathon Corbiere, co-founder, CEO and Creative Director, Tyler Sammy, Producer, James Tuer, Art Director and Lead Illustrator, and Adam Winnik, Art Director and Lead Animator.

RP: How can people learn more about Thought Bubble?

SB: They can visit the Smart Bubble Society website, watch the Thought Bubble videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter @thoughtbubbler, or check out our Facebook page.

Click here for instructions on how to nominate a series of educational videos to receive a Video Visionary – Education award.

What do you think of Thought Bubble videos? Do you think Motion Graphic Shorts are a compelling medium? What’s your favorite video?


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