From Annual Reports to Invitations, it’s always better to say it Visually

by Jess Faulk

As an occasional infographic creator and lover of graphic design I am always on the lookout for ways that companies and universities are using visual design to communicate their message effectively.

It’s worth pondering, would we all go to Facebook as often as we do if all Facebook had was words with no pictures?  Why is Tumblr so popular with Millennials? Pictures.   Would we stop and read flyers if they didn’t catch our eye with beautiful design?  Visuals matter.

Despite knowing this information, we still produce wordy emails, and pages of written reports.  I want to present to you some innovative alternatives that are certainly ‘outside of the box.’

Annual Report using Data Visualization or Instagram

MSU Annual ReportMichigan State University is just one of the many institutions rethinking how they share their institution’s annual data.  This year they chose to present some of their most interesting statistics in a visual dashboard, with clickable links to drill down into each area.  This engages the readers because it is interactive, but most importantly, it also make data worth checking out.  It’s interesting!

Calgary Zoo did something even more shocking when it turn it’s annual report into a digital format on Instagram.  Gathering photos taken by staff and visitors, the Calgary Zoo administration presents information about the zoo’s achievements in the comment section of each photo.  The photos themselves paint a picture of the what the zoo offered, and what was most appreciated, while also allowing space for more details attached to each image.

Chart your data to tell your story

Often people are intimidated by creating visuals because they feel they need to be an expert in Adobe products in order to create great graphics.  Luckily, when the need arises, from the internet rises a solution.  Two data visualization tools that might fit the bill – Infogr.am and Piktochart.  Both offer some free templates with minimal customization. The website create.visual.ly also has some tools available for making your own graphics.  New options are popping up everyday, and we should be using them to make our information pop!

Tell a story, and invite people to an event with visuals

Perhaps you’ve sent one too many paperless post ecards and are looking for something new.  Or perhaps you would like your event to feel more meaningful to your audience by giving them a little history.  Have you ever thought of creating a simple infographic to invite students to a historically significant event at the college?  It’s a whole lot more tweetable/”like-able” if you make it interesting enough to pass on.  One simple example is an infographic I created for my wedding.  After viewing this graphic, my hope is that potential guests know a little more about both of us, laugh a little, and remember it more than they would with a regular email or paper invitation.

faulk samuels infographic

Want to know more? Check out these articles:

From Annual Reports to Invitations, it’s always better to say it Visually

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