Monthly Archives: January 2014

Facebook’s Analog Research Lab Embraces Visual Communication

High on our wish list is increased use of visual communication in the corporate sphere, both in internal and external messaging. We’ve previously discussed the engagement, persuasion and information retention benefits of visual communication, but even some of the more tech forward companies are woefully behind in harnessing the power of visual communication.

Just roll on over to Google’s Our Culture page to see what we mean. Sure, there are some photos of Googlers at work or in their home cities, OK. So we see you are global and there are real humans in your offices, just like any other international company. But what makes you tick? What is your collective passion? Who ARE you, Google?

Taking a different, more exciting approach is our other internet overlord, Facebook. Facebook quietly houses an old-school propaganda department that designs and produces culture-focused posters, banners and pamphlets. The pieces produced by the Analog Research Lab are geared toward employees and communicate the Facebook culture and vision with lots of imagery and very few words. We recently got our hands on an internal piece produced by the lab.

Here are some images from the booklet:

Of course, we’re comparing internal to external messaging here, but based on recent Google leaks, it seems that their internal communication is also falling short in the visual arena.

Whether the idea of internal propaganda gives you the heebie-jeebies or not, Facebook’s use of visual communication is inspiring. We hope more companies follow suit in both their internal communications and their external positioning.

Check out our Corporate Communications page for some suggestions on incorporating visuals into your corporate messaging. 


3 Tips for Keeping the Bill Down


Now that 2014 has dawned, many of us have recommitted to the standard annual resolutions. Perhaps, like so many others, one of your resolutions is to save money in 2014. Design budgets may feel like an indulgence, but don’t cut them out completely. Good informational design makes the presented data and arguments easier to understand and retain, so instead of foregoing it, make a few small changes to make your design dollars work harder.

(If you get Bigger Law Firm Magazine, you saw our recent litigation-specific article, 5 Tips for Successful, Budget-Friendly Trial Demonstratives. If you don’t, click here for a free download of their December Super Issue to check it out!) 

1. Finalize Content

It is a common misconception that edits are largely quick fixes and speedy adjustments; the lion share of unnecessary hours in a typical project is generated by edits. When a design team begins to develop content layout, we first look at everything that needs to be on the slide. A timeline, for example, might be designed one way when it has 3 event markers and quite another when it has 10. By handing the design team only partially final content, you’re essentially asking them to design twice; once for the draft data and then again for the edits, which in some cases necessitate a complete re-concepting of the slide. Though looking at a mock up of draft data can be helpful to your process, if you’re looking to cut out some of the expense, waiting until your content is final is a great place to start.

2. Avoid Unnecessary Illustrations

Another common hour-packed request is an illustration of an abstract idea or metaphorical theme (we’ve discussed this before). While it’s tempting to supply your audience with a clever illustration of a traffic jam to represent clogged bandwidth or a cartoon sleuth to mark a clue-gathering activity, illustrations like these are often time consuming for the design team. Instead, consider using a high quality photo or some simple iconography to illustrate your point.

3. Collect Source Files

Content for one presentation can come from a variety of sources. When gathering content, make sure those in charge are supplying source files for items within their content blocks. For instance, when incorporating preexisting graphs or diagrams into a presentation, the source files (an Excel with the data, an Illustrator file with original art work, etc.), can save hours of work for your design team. Without these underlying files, your team will need to first remake the item in an editable format. Don’t pay to recreate the wheel.

As the new year gets underway, many of us recommit to using our money wisely. Great design doesn’t have to break the bank – help your design team come in under budget by making just a few small changes to your work flow; finalize your content, avoid unnecessary illustrations and supply the team with source files to the content within the deck. Remember, you’re paying a design team to help make your ideas and arguments more understandable, so whittle away the “extras” and let your team focus on great informational design of your core data and arguments.

Contact us to be pleasantly surprised by how much design bang you can get for your buck.