Tag Archives: Design

Warby Parker: A Year In Pictures

Last post, we looked at Facebook’s investment in culturally-geared visual communication: a “secret” internal department charged with creating visually powerful cultural propaganda pieces. But will we see visual communication reach beyond internal messaging into the dry and conservative world of public-facing corporate communication?

Via a good friend of mine in the advertising industry, I came across this shining example of where we can only hope that we are headed:

Visually Stimulating Annual Report

Warby Parker 2013 Annual Report

This is Warby Parker’s 2013 Annual Report which takes corporate storytelling to new heights. Instead of the usual packet of mind-numbingly dense pages of text and numbers, Warby Parker chose to release a more human and relatable look back at 2013. The interactive calendar format contains anecdotal stories of corporate events, company milestones, fun cultural facts illustrated with informational design and, most importantly, lots and lots of  imagery.

This unique piece invites the public inside, giving us an intimate view of Warby Parker and its doings uncommon in the corporate world. Perhaps it’s an extension of the trend towards open and interactive communication that social media has fostered. Or perhaps it’s the continuation of the infographic trend: incorporating informational design into interest-peaking marketing pieces. Perhaps a little of both. Either way, we can hope to see more of these visually interesting and intimate pieces from the traditionally closed ranks of large companies. We’re all for it!

Head over to SlideRabbit.com to learn more about our informational design services. 

Advertisements

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:
facebook_communication_visualsugar_presentation_design_custom_slides_0114

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. 

Simplify Your Presentation

VisualSugar, Presentation Design Services, Custom Slides, PowerPoint
When is the topic of simplification more salient than during this season, as we all scramble around to get organized for the holidays and dawning of a new year? With  the constant conflicting demands of stressful professional lives and hectic personal obligations, it can be easy to forget to step back, breathe in and simplify.

Simplification not only soothes our souls, but also our minds. Our brains are drawn to information presented in a simple and straightforward way: Simple information rises above the noise. Organizing information primes it for easy consumption, but the further step of simplification can make information even easier to recall. When presenting make sure to use understandable and simple communication. When presenting data, refine and reduce the information on the slide.

Simplifying Language

The key to an understandable presentation is understandable language. When writing a script, be sure that the writing reflects normal speaking styles. Use small words, direct sentences and the active voice. Even when presenting to an educated or specialized audience, using large words, jargon or complex sentences decreases the rate of comprehension. The audience may still be processing the last point as new information is presented.

When sending out a presentation that the audience will read on their own, remember that most Americans read at a 7th or 8th grade level. (source)  Microsoft Word has a built in readability tool, based on Flesch-Kincaid readability tests, that grades copy as it’s written. Shoot for reading ease of 70% or higher.

Simplifying Data

It is always tempting to include the “full picture” when displaying data. Complex concepts often mean charts with two vertical axes, annotations or multiple data sets. Put a data display visual to the test by asking, What is the ONE point of this slide? If the answer has an “and” or “unless” in it, your data is too complicated and should be broken onto two slides (or built in with animation). And of course, always make sure to use the best format for your data.

In our busy world of constant information exchange, a simplified presentation is a breath of fresh air. Rise above the din by, simplifying your language and data. Always live by the “One point per slide” rule and extend it to your sentences. Straightforward information in bite size chunks has the best chance of being heard, understood and remembered.

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Sign up for our newsletter, In The Hopper, for SlideRabbit news, design discounts, and viral design from around the web. Our 2013 wrap-up goes out next week!

Hmmmm…. (P)Interesting….

Presentation_Design_Pinterest
We’ve been a little quiet around here lately, but not to worry, everything’s just been going so well we haven’t had time to write. No complaints!

We’ll be back shortly, with more posts on persuasion, presentation skills and slide design. Check back next week!

If you need some distraction and great design in the meantime, pop on over to our Pinterest. We’ll be pinning great design, animation, branding and resources from all over the web.

Hope to see you there!

Emotions and Memory

Emotions and Memory
Lately we’ve been exploring the ancient Art of Memory and, most recently, the main principle regarding importance of visual representations to forming strong memories. As a few commenters in our LinkedIn groups mentioned, the visual sense is only one of many ways to appeal to memory. Creating and feeling emotion is another important element to creating strong memories.

Content alone is never sufficient. We need an emotional connection.
– Garr Reynolds

When we feel fear, relief, happiness, or sadness these carnal feelings awaken primal parts of our brains. The occurrence or information that caused the emotion, then, is burned into our memories right along with the reaction. Emotion and information gel into one experience, be it positive, negative or simply intense.

Imagine the trial lawyer, is there any question why he emotes so freely during opening and closing statements? In his appeal to the jury, he is solidifying the argument by drumming up their primal and reactive emotions: fear of a defendant (whether it be a murderer or a corporation) or fierce protectiveness of a victim.

Take fracking, for instance. There are many who are informed and opinionated about the issue, but if your job is to educate and convince the everyday layperson, explaining the reduced dependence on foreign oil or environmental dangers might fall on disinterested ears. Instead, appeal to their emotions. Discuss lowered gas prices or, depending on your position, the health risks of natural gas mixing into water supplies.

Sure, fracking is a sensitive subject; not all presentations are chock full of emotionally stimulating information. How do you create the drama when your subject matter is a little dryer?

Stir emotion in your audience by showing them how the information relates to them. If you’re introducing a new software system, make sure you’re appealing to the audience members’ emotions: how will the new software ease their daily workload? how will it help them excel in their careers? Allay any emotions you do not want them to associate with the information: the new software will not render any jobs obsolete.

When presenting, it’s important to use all the tools available to communicate to your audience in a way they can understand and remember. Visual aids help solidify information into memory and emotion has a way of seating information in our minds. Not only does it grab attention, but it creates a relatable experience for the audience. Relate information to your audience in a way that makes them feel your point.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou

The Art of Memory

The Art of MemoryWhether a presentation is meant to inform or convince, the audience wont get much out of it unless the content is memorable enough to stay with them.

Memory is a slippery fish. Sometimes we try to remember, and fail. Sometimes we’d love to discard information, but just can’t seem to shake it free from our memory. What makes some events and information more memorable than others? And more importantly for presenters, how can even the most dry subject material become memorable?

Everyone remembers where they were when they saw the footage of the World Trade Center attack; the image exists, ready to be recalled at the mere mention of the event. The vows of a spouse may, likewise, be happily burned into our memories along side the emotions they produced. We may also be able to recall nearly word for word, some of our favorite childhood stories.

People as far back as the early Egyptians noted the difference that images, emotion and narrative had on solidifying events and information into concrete memories.

Based on these first realizations, philosophers, orators and men of science throughout the ages went to work to understand memory: how it works, how to improve it, and how to appeal to it. Overtime, some of the most influential minds of history took up the study. Greats like Aristotle and Cicero wrote at length regarding their thoughts and findings about memory and how to affect it. Some of the earliest works date back as far as 400BCE. Now collectively referred to as the Art of Memory, the main principles can be divided into three main buckets: Visual, Emotional, and Organizational.

An image, seen again, brings to mind the associated information. Information that made us feel happy, sad or scared, gets a special place in our memory. Information that was organized into a linear storyline of cause and effect helps the brain build causal bridges between the events, helping to tie the memories together.

How can these main principles be harnessed to improve your presentations and your audiences engagement and recall? The following three posts will explore the principles of the Art of Memory, and how to use them to insure your presentations make your information as memorable as possible.