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Information Designers Clarify, They Don’t Simplify

July 2, 2014
'The Story of The Seed: Creation of a Community Food Hub' infographic by KAP Design.

‘The Story of The Seed: Creation of a Community Food Hub’ infographic by KAP Design.

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.

'The Story of The Seed: Creation of a Community Food Hub' infographic detail by KAP Design.

‘The Story of The Seed: Creation of a Community Food Hub’ infographic detail by KAP Design.

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.

2014 Hillside Festival Artwork

April 24, 2014
Hillside Festival 2014 poster

2014 Hillside Festival poster. Artwork and poster concept by Jamie Kapitain. Design by LINDdesign.

Jamie Kapitain, design principal at KAP, has created the concept and artwork again this year for the Hillside Festival. You can read about the project on Jamie’s artist blog.

Sketch Your Infographics

April 1, 2014
Concept sketch for CBaSE information graphic by KAP Design

Early conceptual sketch for ‘Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship Overview’ information graphic by KAP Design. Click to view larger.

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.

ABO concept sketch by KAP Design

Early conceptual sketch for ‘ArtsBuild Ontario’ information graphic by KAP Design.

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.

Concept sketch by KAP Design

Early concept sketch for the Health Link visual explanation by KAP Design. Click to view larger image.

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.

New Information Design Work Coming Soon…

January 23, 2014

Recent information design work

KAP has the pleasure of collaborating with a diverse range of interesting clients. We are excited to share a bunch of new and exciting information design work very soon. For now, here is a sneak preview of some of the graphical goodies from the various projects. Stay tuned.

A Festive Holiday Blend

December 22, 2013
2013 KAP Design Holiday card

The 2013 KAP Design Holiday card. Illustration by Jamie Kapitain.

KAP wishes everyone a festive holiday blend of good cheer, warmth and the unexpected. All the best in 2014!

KAP Information Design Project Road Map Infographic

December 4, 2013
KAP Design Project Road Map Infographic

The KAP Information Design Project Road Map infographic. Click to view larger.

We’ve updated the KAP Information Design Project Road Map infographic. Our clients have always valued the infographic because it clearly communicates how we work and once a project is underway, shows the next step and where we are in the process.

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