An infographic we designed for New York-based search marketing firm Dragon Search. Click here for a .pdf
Many thanks for the hard work! –Josepf Haslam, Dragon Search
Ric Dragon, who heads Dragon Search in upstate New York, was in a Tweet chat at the same time with me a year ago, and now we’ve done two drawing projects for his company. Which is awesome, but the more intriguing thing was when he told me to Google Ellsworth Kelly. Whoa!
I’m just back from a week in Washington, DC, where I got to see a bunch of Kelly pieces now showing in the modern wing of the National Gallery of Art. I also got to wander about on parts of the Mall where Akira and I first had our conversations about art, meaning, and joining our lives together, and that was back in 1996! Coming full circle with knowledge of artists after having seen pieces in museums of cities like Berlin, Tokyo, London, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, and many more, I was really moved to note the time lapse. I feel older, but more awake to things. Seeing this museum after so many years and experiences was powerful. Kelly is one of DK’s new heroes: keeping it simple, straight, and delightful at the same time. A solid concept, a well-executed motion. Love at first sight, you could say.
Drawing with intention
When Ric asked Design Kompany to make some drawings for the front page of their web site last year, it was great because he was open. To our idea, to my sketches, and to DK’s homemade process (interview, clarify, reflect, clarify, and then build). You can see the four vector drawings I made if you stay on this page to watch the animation change.
We started with a really raw clump of words:
Asking questions to retrieve better data, and iterating
I’m the kind of person that likes to make sure I know everything I need to before I start to publish something. I want it to be right, I want it to be fair. I guess that comes from working in two newsrooms, one in Seattle and one in southwest Ireland. Accuracy is big.
So it was fun to put on my journalist hat to discern the who, what, where, when, and why in our first interview. I asked about audience. And how they’d receive this. That gave me a benchmark for the tone of the writing I would put into the later versions of the chart. Friendly, accessible. Search marketing is complex and overwhelming, so it’s nice to be able to break it down. I wanted to make it look like a fun game, so that’s why there’s “START” and “WIN!”
Who doesn’t like to WIN!, right?
Later, I got to follow up with Josepf Haslam to gather mini-checklists (purple flags in the drawing), because I thought it was important to tell the story with some action steps for “users.”
Wow, I can’t believe I said “users.” Some work we’re doing right now on user experience design is influencing me, too.
I also made some concepts for them, and we went with “The Chart” for the infographic design you see above. It has to start with a clear concept, not an overproduced Illustrator image that you have to sell to someone. Strong concept is as important as a smart data set.
This post is going to be continued, because I have a lot of things to say about infographic design, and presentation design in general.
A hint: I’m an engineering student-turned journalist who’s now doing brand message and dialogue design. So I’m really interested in setting up the problem in the way that makes it easier to come up with bright, beautiful solutions later.
More on that in my next post, and some pics of my Washington, DC, visit, too.