You invest months of work – meetings, researching, collaborating, innovating – to create knowledge and find solutions. Great work needs to be shared to have impact and grow partnerships, clients and funding. You are added to the speakers list at an important conference. Preparing to share your work, you cut chunks of text from a report and paste them into a slide presentation. The presentation falls flat. You don’t make an impact.
Lack-luster presentations prevent important, innovative work from reaching and resonating with audiences. When the work-share-grow circle is broken, progress and growth is limited.
KAP Design worked with the University of Guelph to design an engaging presentation to tell the Grow Guelph story. First, KAP clarified the story from a Grow Guelph report and a variety of existing presentation content. Next, KAP created bold visual content – icons, illustrations – and designed an engaging 30-slide visual presentation.
The presenter reported being very confident backed up by the powerful visual story. The presentation connected with the audience resulting in increased information retention in follow-up conversations. Grow Guelph’s story is understood and the program is set up for growth.
Continuing to work with The O’Halloran Group (O’HG) to develop their brand, KAP collaborated with the O’HG team to clarify their pitch and then visualize it. The result, an engaging and informative visual boilerplate, is included in O’HG reports, shared in social media and will be integrated into a new website.
A highlight of the collaborative process was an exercise that required the entire O’HG team to become visual thinkers. Each person was asked to draw a picture that defined who the company is, what they do and how they do it. When the images were presented, many new insights were discovered that informed the final visual solution.
We didn’t get to pull out the Muskoka chairs and relax on the cottage dock much over the summer. We were busy working on many exciting design projects – and the lake sits in one of the few internet access dead zones in the area. Now we have moved into our new office (more details coming soon) with strong Wi-Fi and are looking forward to sharing some of the work on kapdesign.ca and here on the KAP blog. Stay tuned!
We are in an information age where the quantity and complexity of information impedes understanding. Enter the information designer whose role is accurately described in ‘Information Design Workbook – Graphic Approaches, Solutions, and Inspiration’ by Kim Baer as:
“…the translating [of] complex, unorganized data into valuable, meaningful information”
Notice that the information designer does not ‘simplify’. Many times, information is never going to be simplified and still tell a meaningful story. Information design clarifies, it doesn’t simplify.
KAP was commissioned to create one comprehensive visual timeline to capture the evolution of The Seed Community Food Hub (above). The information graphic highlights key partners, achievements, turning points and more. There is a lot of information and simplifying any further would have reduced the value of the infographic.
When the extraneous data was removed, the remaining story was clarified using a visual theme (shelves of fresh food), icons, layout, and color. The visual narrative along the timeline isn’t simple but patterns, successes, and challenges are clear. The infographic will successfully inform the future evolution of the The Seed – a change that is complex, not simple.
First things first. When designing information graphics, focus on the ‘information’ before diving into the ‘graphics’. The success of an infographic rests on the quality of the story.
When it comes time to create the ‘visual’ in visual storytelling, it’s time to sketch. But wait! Don’t turn to your computer or tablet just yet. While many infographics are beautiful, vector-based, visual assets, you should begin with paper, pens, markers, pencils, and more paper.
Sketching is the perfect technology for creating your infographic concepts and sketches are ideal for sharing them with collaborators and clients.
Sketching Is Fast
When a designer is brainstorming alone or with others, ideas are rapidly flowing and transforming. Anything that slows down the process threatens the evolution towards a solution. Saving files, setting line weights and picking colours are all time-sucking, finicky adjustments inherent to working on a computer. Keep your laptop closed and instead grab some paper, quickly sketch your idea, grab a second sheet and sketch a change, scribble a note, overlay one sketch over another. At any time, lay out all of the sketches and survey all of the ideas. Only sketching can keep up with the speed of concept generation.
Sketches Are a Work In Progress
Collaborators and clients alike are more apt to critique a sketched infographic concept. A sketch communicates an idea in a design process and the quick, rough appearance welcomes honest feedback. A refined, “perfect” vector graphic looks complete and long past the point when big changes can be suggested.
Sketches Aren’t Fine Art
You don’t need to be a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design to create useful sketches that drive the design process. The best sketching is quick, minimalist and just a step above scribbling. The goal is to clearly capture your infographic ideas. Stick figures, simple shapes and some colours do the job.
Whether you are brainstorming around a whiteboard with collaborators or presenting to a marketing team at corporate headquarters, always include sketching. It’s efficient, engaging and honest. It’s every infographic designer’s most versatile tool.