Custom Courseware Promo Video


Brief motion graphics piece quickly explains a product that attempts to change a publishing paradigm.

Flash Required

Problem » Strategy

When I first started at Cengage, I was hired to work on Custom Courseware, a product that attempted to turn traditional textbook publishing on its head. Instead of asking instructors to adopt a particular text, we asked them to provide us with their particular learning objectives and we would work with subject matter experts to mash multiple textbooks, test banks and multimedia assets together to create a “textbook” for them.

The problem was, this was pretty ground breaking, and frequently took a fairly long conversation to fully explain what we were offering.


I worked with the director of the project to present the product in a narrative, rather than as bullet points and PowerPoint slides. We worked together to write a script where we started with a statement that turned everything on its head, “what if a publisher didn't sell you a textbook?” and then walked through the concept of mashing together assets based on learning objectives all culminating to the idea that this approach wasn't simply an evolution but a “revolution” in textbook publishing.

Once we had a script and the evolution/revolution concept, I realized that the visual style should be fairly gritty and low tech. I decided that rather than build slick graphics, I would, instead, show the product itself. Instead of flashing text on screen, I would place the text of the script inside the product and zoom through various features as if a user was using the product. I edited screen grabs in Photoshop and then animated them together in After Effects. I also built the background music in Garage Band.


At the annual sales conference, the video was a hit. We were able to get attention for our small project from an overwhelmed sales force which lead to a significant uptick in adoptions. Since then, it's regularly used in sales presentations with instructors to quickly bring them up to speed on this digital solution.