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A Communication Infographic: Case Study

A reflection of the process of creating an illustrative infographic.

During my work placement at Actually, I was given the task of designing an infographic to educate the importance of the Communication Design. The infographic details how anyone can source a designer, understand and appreciate the design process, the skills and tools they bring to the table, as well as the communication problems they solve. As much as it was a terrifyingly yet delightfully large project, it’s has been an excellent learning opportunity and major portfolio piece for a Graphic Design student like myself.

Initial Design Conceptualization of the Infographic

There are many challenges a designer faces when given a project like this. It’s a multi-faceted project, and for someone who has minimal experience designing infographics is an insurmountable challenge. I have tons of experience admiring infographics design and conceptualization from Pinterest and print mags like Applied Arts, so I knew the challenge was definitely doable. Like any kick-off to a design project, I always start off with a list of questions that looks something like this:

  • What will be the core metaphor holding the infographic together?
  • Where do I find information on Communication Design?
  • What has Jessica begun to put together? (Jessica is Actually’s web designer and had started a draft before I began my work at Actually)
  • And how do I begin to design an infographic?

So I began with the first thing on my list, and tried to find a object, event, or activity that visually represents a large chunk of what the everyday population participates in or has knowledge about in regards to Communication Design. The initial idea was “Superheroes” because who doesn’t love superheroes, right?

Then I came to realize one problem – maybe we are loving superheroes too much right now. To verify this thought as true and correct, I decided to Google “Superhero Infographic” and see what I was already out there. Here’s a screenshot of the search result from those keywords:

Infographic_screenshot

Look Mom! Superheroes!

While none of the search results for “superhero infographic” have compared communication design to superheroes, there was one comparing marketing to superheroes, and that was close enough. But I liked the idea that “Communication Designers are the superheroes of the design industry” since they hold skills in everything communication. So I proceeded with the superhero theme and presented a very rough semi-comp to the team:

infographic_idea_1.1

Looking back, I can’t stop laughing at how similar it looks to the other “superhero” ideas.

This is a Team Project

I know at this point in the case study it sounds like I was given an infographic to do, and that I did it. But I was mindful that it’s really a group project too, and collaboration would make the final design so much stronger.  So I turned to everyone at Actually for their feedback, because remember, I was just given creative reign on this task and wanted to represent Actually wholly. But even with that amount of creative power (insert super villain laugh here) I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a decent metaphor for Communication Designers let alone begin the design without the help of everyone at the studio.

After the presentation of concept one (seen above), we began conversation. It sparked a long, and in-depth chat on a different metaphor to represent the same strength, power, and desire for survival that superhero represents, without jumping onto the cliche that all pop-culture seems to take. With this, we finally reached the design concept of an individual in camping and wilderness survival mode, which may seem like an odd comparison to Communication Design, but actually fit the metaphor we were trying to create perfectly. After tossing around some ideas, it was time to start evolving both mine and Jessica’s early adaptation of copy and design.

It’s Infographic Design Time!

So I came out of the meeting with the team swinging strong and ready to create an infographic different than anything else out there. I swear – just Google it!

Next, I consulted notes of ideas I jotted down during the collaboration meeting, and drafted some rough sketches before the next 40 hours I would invest in rendering illustrations inseparable from my computer.

Wowie! 4 out of the 12 pages of sketches used on this project!

I identified the top skills Communication Designers possess and the tools they use.

Sash_Icons

Then I compared them to other folks in the design industry and begin eliminating the common factors, until I identified the differences or the “persona” of  a Communication Designer.

This persona reflects the finest generalization for the common business owner seeking design help, because design isn’t just a creative flow of pictures and illustrations, it’s a process in communication too.

So I slowly began designing a set of sash icons, maintaining the wilderness theme and representing the skill-set of a Communication Designer, with badges of accolades similar to what a boy scout or girl guide earns and proudly wears as a reflection of their new skills.

But that’s not all – these icons would be the driving force of the illustration style of the infographic, and slowly but surely it would all come together.

The Infographic Design Challenges and Successes

As I began to illustrate the rest of the infographic we decided to reflect back on the illustration styles of 1970’s camping catalogues and brochures, keeping the colours very clean, flat, and mature. However we created this cute juxtaposition with a very minimalist and child-like illustration style. And as it began to flesh out, I finally saw the potential the design held. It was amazing!

infographic_draft_2_1

 Looks good eh?

infographic_draft_2.2

Our next problem is deciding on typeface choices, something I always find difficult. This is mostly because I invest much time reassuring myself that the font is telling the right story and will evoke the appropriate emotion and not overdoing it or downplaying it. Over the next couple of days, I explored every possible font choice for this infographic to keep the look and feel mature, fun, and informative, without the infographic becoming confusing, jumbled, and tiresome to look at.

Luckily the team swoops in on this one, and we decide on an interesting mix (well at least for me). We decide to mix the very bold classic slab-serif of Rockwell for the main title with a very fun and light script like Pacifico for the subheadings, and surprisingly they look perfect!font_choices

Presenting the Final Draft

Finally after 40+ hours of work, it’s time to show off the final draft. A large and detailed infographic presenting facts and statistics on the job of a Communication Designer. And I’m won’t lie to you peeps, I’m nervous, but I can’t be happier with what I have produced for the team and for you!

It’s been a pivotal learning experience (wahoo!) but the finished project is something every single one of us at Actually can be proud of. My only hopes are that the infographic will educate the audiences we intended it to!

Check out the infographic!

What do you think of Actually’s first ever infographic? Yay or nay? Do you think there is an anything we missed about Communication Design? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section and don’t forget to share the infographic with your friends!

 

About The Blogger

JesykaBastelak_portrait

Jesyka Bastelak- Guest Blogger

Jesyka Bastelak is a third year Graphic Design student at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario. She focuses her energy on concept development, and communicating exactly what needs to be said to an audience.

In her spare time she likes to read comics, play video games, discover new music, and explore creative outlets. She hopes to eventually take some time to travel Europe in the next year. You can follow Jesyka on Twitter @jaiiemmbee or delve into her mind through her Tumblr at tehbattleaxedesigns.tumblr.com.

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