Idea Blog

PICK OF THE WEEK: Human Rights In Two Minutes (Explainer Video)

Blake Harris 11.19.2015

With so much great content being created in the animation and explanation spaces, every week we like to shine a spotlight on an outstanding piece of work. This week’s selection is an eloquent and educational clever explainer video about human rights.

This explainer video was created by Cub Studio, a London-based motion graphics and animation company. Cub Studio was founded in 2014 by Fraser Davidson and Ben Skinner, a pair of talented “industry veterans” but who, interestingly enough, came from different industries. Davidson hailed from the animation world (having been at Mainframe for six years before setting up an animation collective called Sweet Crude), whereas Skinner came from the world of online marketing (working first for MyOffers and then Quiz Factor Ltd). Together, since joining forces, their work has won several accolades including a BAFTA Award as part of the team that produced the BBC’s The Revolution Will Be Televised.

The video below–our PICK OF THE WEEK–was created to highlight the importance of human rights for

[vimeo video_id=”136729032″ width=”400″ height=”300″ title=”Yes” byline=”Yes” portrait=”Yes” autoplay=”No” loop=”No” color=”00adef”]


  • Narrated by Tim Key
  • Directed by Cub Studio
  • Produced by Yoav Segal & Cub Studio
  • Concept by Adam Wagner & Yoav Segal
  • Written by Adam Wagner, Yoav Segal & Cub Studio
  • Animated by Cub Studio
  • Sound Design & Mix by Morgan Samuel
  • Production support by Charlotte Thomas
  • Voice Record by SNK Studios
  • Produced with the kind support of the Legal Education Foundation


1. Characters who Fit the Message: When crafting characters and bringing them to life, it’s easy to get caught up (and bogged down) in nuance. Between colors, poses, expressions and actions, there can be a temptation to throw in the whole kitchen sink. And you know what? Sometimes the kitchen sink can be a great thing. But the point is that, no matter how impressive the illustration, you must not lose sight of the fact that these characters are part of a larger animation. They’re not just standing there alone, all shiny and pretty. They are tools that exist to tell a story. And in this respect, it’s important to develop characters who service that story. Which is something, in this case, that Cub Studio does very well.

The characters in this explainer video are catchy…

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…they’re lively…

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…and, perhaps most importantly, they remain relatable through an iconic aesthetic.

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2. Adventures in Text: Oftentimes, when compared to the zest of animation, on-screen text can feel a bit dull. Or, if not that exactly, it can feel like a necessary evil. But instead of just biting the bullet and trudging through moments of exposition, the filmmakers utilize text in a dynamic way. For example, with the European Convention on Human Rights, they manage to make an on-screen document feel like expansive and intriguing; they make it feel like the location of a scene. Through quick camera movements and highlighted content, we zip from passage to passage and feel engaged as we’re being educated.

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3. Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold: Goldilocks, surely, would be pleased with the tone of this video. Given the degree of difficulty–human rights is a complex, sensitive subject with political entanglements–Cub Studio managed to strike a balance that was juuuuuuuuust right. 

How were they able to do this? Well, one way was to avoid resorting to sensationalized imagery. Mistreatment and murder are certainly part of the human rights conversation, but only once in this explainer video to the filmmakers depict something gory. And even in that single example, they do a couple of intelligent things:

Use imagery from a distant period in history, thus distancing our relation to the content itself…

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…and play with the focus so that the action isn’t quite as strongly spotlighted.

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Classy. Clever. Effective. Three qualities that every explainer video can benefit from.

To learn more about Human Rights and the organization responsible for producing this video, please visit:

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