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More than ever before, today’s content needs to be light on text with a focus on quality visuals. But distilling your content to highlight only the most important data and information can be difficult. After all, you’re enthusiastic about what your product or service can do, and you have lots of good reasons why it’s the right fit for your target audience. However, overwhelming that audience with text can backfire. So how do you lighten up your copy without cutting valuable information? The key to identifying what content is most important is setting a single goal that you want each visual asset (or campaign) to achieve, and then only including the content that helps you achieve that goal.

Consider Your Audience

So you’ve set a goal: you want your motion graphic to introduce a new product, or explain why your service will, say, help businesses boost conversions by 10%. Congratulations! A single goal will ensure that your message doesn’t get muddled. Now it’s time to figure out who you’re speaking to in the first place, and the more targeted and specific your demographic is, the more you can customize your copy to appeal especially to them.

Sure, 91% of buyers prefer visual content over traditional formats — it’s practically universal. But what form your content should take depends on the audience. First of all, what data and information is most and least likely to guide your audience to feel how you want them to feel, to react how you want them to react? For instance, if you’re selling a great money management tool, and you want your new motion graphic to sell that tool to twenty-somethings, you might not want to include data on how your product helps people save for retirement; instead, you can focus on how you’ve helped people pay off their college loans, or budget to buy a home.

The medium in which your message is delivered should also be determined by target audience. Baby Boomers, for instance, are actually more likely than other generations — both older and younger — to stop engaging with content entirely when they encounter problems with it, such as the content being too long. You might want to opt for micronarratives for this group, or offer up motion graphics that only run a minute or less.

Millennial audiences also prefer bite-sized, social media-friendly visuals, and 10-second mobile ads are more appealing to them than they are to audiences aged 35-54, who prefer more traditional 30-second spots. Millennials, meanwhile, are more likely to rank content that is beautiful and entertaining as important to them, so that should not only drive your design, but your copy. Are you delivering facts in a flat tone, or are you seeking to delight and entertain? One surefire way to keep readers entertained is to involve them actively in a conversation; interactive content is a surefire way to boost time on page.

Minimize Text

It’s not just Baby Boomers — 47% of consumers will stop engaging with content altogether if it’s too long. What’s more, 44% of consumers are actually annoyed when they see poorly written or overly wordy brand content; 33% say the same for poorly designed content. Two in three consumers actually won’t purchase from a brand at all if one or more of these situations occur. So keeping your content short and well-written is absolutely essential for your brand’s success.

When you’re having trouble knowing what to cut, the first step is to look for repetition. If two stats do similar work, choose the one that makes a stronger and clearer argument on behalf of your message or goal. You need to make sure that every piece of content or data point has its own, unique purpose. Two pie charts on customer satisfaction, one from 2016 and one from 2017, might actually leave your readers less convinced than if you had included the 2017 chart only.

The next step (and really, essential to every step) is to remember your goal. If you’re launching a new product, customer satisfaction stats from last year might be downright irrelevant — and 42% of consumers find irrelevant brand content frustrating. So pick content that readers feel applies to them directly, and nix the rest.

Emphasize Transparency in Your Content

The most effective content is that which builds trust. Consumer trust in brands (and even news sources) is waning: 83% of consumers say that, compared to five years ago, they’re now more cautious about sharing content. So delivering transparent, fact-based content is more important than ever.

First and foremost, strong copy should cite its sources and accurately represent the facts. This ensures that your content will not only be more highly valued, but it will also be more shareable. Accuracy is the number one most important content characteristic to consumers, according to a 2018 Adobe survey. Even if the facts don’t flatter your brand as much as you would like, customers will actually like you more for it. Remember that Domino’s ad campaign in 2010, in which CEO Patrick Doyle appeared in advertisements alongside critics of the company’s pizza? Domino’s actually paid for ads in which customers declared it the “worst pizza I ever had.” Doyle also promised to turn the company around in these ads. And guess what? Since 2010, Domino’s has become the world’s second-largest pizza chain, with share prices skyrocketing from $8.76 to upwards of $220 per share. Honesty paid off.

Transparency is also about focusing on delivering useful information, rather than on making a sale. This can boost exposure: 34% of consumers will share brand content if it’s informative, not promotional. In order to ensure that you’re including content for the right reasons, try to adapt a “why culture” around every visual campaign you launch. The idea is that it’s OK — in fact, encouraged — to ask “why” at any point during a project. Ask why you’re including specific data — is it because it’ll be useful to readers, or because you’re trying to convince them? The same goes when you’re making design decisions: asking why you’re using each type of visualization will ensure that you’re optimizing the design for your goal and audience. All this cuts excess copy and visuals while focusing on producing quality content, which ranks higher on search engines and gets more social shares because, well, it’s actually earned them.

Keeping your audience in mind, in the end, is always the best way to determine what content is most important. Follow these steps, and you’ll be sure to have more customers following you.

The post Get to the Point! How to Identify and Highlight the Most Important Content appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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In today’s digital world, companies still rely on agencies to help advance their visuals — from 2012 through 2016 (the most recent data year), revenue for digital-related services has steadily increased.

To capitalize on increased production — and keep the revenue trend rising — developing strong agency–client relationships is key. Whether you’re an agency taking on a new client or vice versa, clear communication can help teams on both sides of the equation maintain and strengthen relationships and meet project goals. Depending on the ask, consistent communication can help resolve any project challenges and overcome any obstacles.

Dive into Deadlines
A deadline — be it firm or flexible — is more than just a date on the calendar. It can represent anything from a print date to a conference to a product launch. Understanding the reasoning behind a deadline can help an agency make schedules more agile, process adjustments, or any other recommendation as to how to best achieve client goals. So companies, get ready to articulate your driving factors. With that knowledge at hand, agencies will be able to better navigate a project’s targets and help you meet your milestones.

Strategize for the Right Kind of Meeting
Whether an agency and client are across the country from one another or right down the block, it’s essential to make the most of meetings. Even if you feel too busy to chat (either by phone or in person), making the time to talk things out can protect you from missing subtext. Emails can lose tone and nuance — even a simple period can turn a statement from friendly to formal. If you or your team have important feedback or detailed questions, it can be more effective — for both project success and time efficiency — to talk by phone (or in person) rather than going back and forth by email.

Of course, that’s not to say that emails can’t be helpful. It all depends on the situation! Emails can help build open lines of communication between a client and agency and reinforce any stated “open-door policy” for questions and quick asks. Emails and meetings both have their time and place, so just make sure you’re using them to your — and your project’s — advantage.

Always Ask Why
If your inner child still asks “why” any time you learn something new, don’t hide them away. Developing a practice of finding those answers can help glean key information and improve communication. Why, you ask?

If you’re a company, your “why” starts with your reason for hiring an agency. Helping them understand not just your need but what brought you to this moment can help your agency do the most effective work — and work with you in the most effective way. When you’re in the midst of your project, digging into a like or dislike can identify what drives your gut reaction. Answering “why” can help differentiate between personal reactions and professional mandatories. If you’re an agency, articulating a “why” can help clients understand your thought process and how you apply their feedback to your deliverables. It also helps develop your accountability and can build credibility when you need to address any schedule, budget, or scope changes. Transparency through communication can build trust.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
In a client–agency relationship, communication does more than set project expectations. It builds trust, accountability, and credibility. It transforms a client-based structure into a partnership — and a partnership’s momentum can propel a project to exceed its goals and expectations. It takes time and work, but clear communication can make all the difference in a project’s success and help build a lasting relationship.

How do you create effective communication? Tell us here.

The post Hi There, Partner! Why Agency–Client Communications Matter appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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It’s Wednesday — budget meeting time. Your colleague hooks up her laptop to the large display at the front of the room and loads her presentation. It’s the same one she’s used for years, and while it contains the necessary information for the meeting, it’s… well… dull. It doesn’t do anything to increase engagement or understanding, looks outdated, and is mostly just text with a few color-coded headers — so she’s used to seeing a lot of blank, distracted faces staring back at her (or at the floor, or at their phones) while she’s presenting.

Of all the slide deck presentations you’ve seen recently, you’ve probably encountered at least one of many potential problems…

While we can all agree that some meetings just aren’t necessary, there are just as many times when the information being presented in a meeting is game-changing, calling attendees to take action and form a plan for moving forward. If the information isn’t understood — or isn’t even paid attention to — it’s very difficult to work efficiently. That’s where the presentation slide deck comes into play in your visual communication strategy.

We’ve had the opportunity to create effective and engaging slide decks for many amazing organizations, either as a first project together or part of a larger brand initiative. Here are a few examples of those we’ve helped:

Seattle Foundation
The Seattle Foundation is a nonprofit that connects philanthropists with important causes. They needed a slide deck to present their value to potential funders, philanthropists, and financial advisors. We used their brand to elevate the visual impact of their message, making the Seattle Foundation’s value much more clear to their target audiences. The resulting deck lets the visuals guide the main ideas, limiting text to brief summaries and supporting information.

Downtown Seattle Association
The Downtown Seattle Association’s mission is to create a healthy, vibrant downtown. For their 2018 Annual Meeting, they needed a visual campaign — at its heart was a slide deck to showcase major achievements as well as guide the progress of the speakers and topics during the meeting. Learn more on our portfolio page for this piece. 

MyConsultQ
MyConsultQ is a healthcare talent marketplace, uniting organizations in need of staff with resources that are looking for new opportunities. As a new organization, they first needed to establish a visual brand; part of that process involved the creation of a clean slide deck template. We created the template for easy use for any of MyConsultQ’s future content, so the copy is all explanatory/placeholder. Check out our case study for more info. 

If you’re hoping for bright-eyed engagement instead of glossy-eyed disinterest at your next presentation, a new slide deck could help more than you think. Got a big meeting or speaking engagement coming up? Let us know; we’d love to help your presentation make an impression!

The post The Art of the Slide Deck appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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Workbenches ensure consistency across assets and across teams. Workbenches can be particularly useful if your organization operates in multiple offices and has dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees who may be using or creating visual content for you. Let’s review what a workbench is, including why and how can it create value for your organization.

Workbench, Defined
A workbench is a digital toolkit of visual communication assets all created within a single unified visual language. From iconography to data visualizations to illustrations, this repository of imagery serves as the foundation of your organization’s visual content strategy.

Your team can pull elements from the workbench for use in visual communication pieces such as emails, landing pages, infographics, motion graphics, interactive content, and more. This saves time by ensuring that all visual content you create adheres to your established visual language.

What Every Workbench Needs
Since every organization’s mission, vision, and values are unique, we can’t provide a definitive list like, “every workbench needs a tree, a cat, and a computer.” We also can’t say exactly how many assets your workbench needs. While there are sensible choices like currency for finance, computers/hardware for tech, etc., every workbench should include whatever assets describe: your organization, its area of expertise, the problem it solves, its solutions, and its customers.

The ROI of a Workbench
You (or your boss) want to see the ROI behind any initiative. Data-driven decisions keep a business accountable and successful, no matter whether it’s analyzing the cost of office supplies or deciding to invest in a visual campaign.

Take a look at the numbers that can truly show results.

You can check out a few different workbenches in action by taking a look at our work for the NEA and for Whyzer.

Does your organization have a workbench?

The post Why Every Company Needs a Visual Asset Workbench appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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Setting up a booth at a conference or trade show is a big investment — on average, it can cost $100–$150 per square foot or $20,000 per exhibition. The advantage, of course, is that you can put your product or service in front of the ideal audience, and interact personally with that audience the moment they discover you. Demand Metric reports that the average ROI for events is 25–34%. That’s pretty good, depending on your goals. But the bigger the event, the more potential customers you’ll be able to reach — and the more competition you’ll have in the exhibition hall. Without a booth or display that actually makes people stop in their tracks, it’s hard to get a good return on your investment.

How can you create a space and offer an experience that will make your booth stand out from the pack? Here are a few key strategies for boosting the visual appeal of any trade show display.

Visualize Your Values
You only have about 3 seconds to communicate your brand’s message and identity to passersby in an exhibition hall, Nimlok Trade Show Marketing reports. And since visuals communicate information 60,000 times faster than text, you need to focus first and foremost on what the non-textual, visual aspects of your booth say about you.

So ask yourself: what should prospective customers see when they look at your brand? Should you look like authoritative experts and thought leaders? Or do you want to project a fun-loving, playful, and approachable image?

Your choice of color scheme can communicate how you want to be seen, and can also set a mood for the display as a whole. Sure, you’ll want to stay on brand, but what colors you allow to dominate the booth can vary. In his Entrepreneur article, “The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding,” Gregory Ciotti offers up a more nuanced view of the impact of color in B2C interactions. Those worn-out associations of red with anger and black with death just have no bearing on how brand colors work. But colors do make an impression. As many as 90% of the snap judgments people make regarding products can be predicated on color alone. Ciotti points to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing that, rather than making the typical associations, points out that blue communicates competency whereas red communicates excitement (“after all,” Ciotti writes, “who would want to buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle if they didn’t get the feeling that Harleys were rugged and cool?”). So what personality do you want to give your brand, and what buying experience do you want your audience to have? Communicate that through your color choices. Learn more about the science of color.

Likewise, the ways people can interact with your display will also communicate your brand’s personality—but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Organize Your Message
Hierarchy of information is key in any good design. Not every piece of data can be the “most important.” So what do you want your visitors to notice first? Second? Third? Let this guide how large some text or visuals should be in comparison with others, and where they should be placed in the booth. For instance, your most fundamental, five-word pitch should be where the eye naturally falls when people are still strolling by. Nimlok Trade Show Marketing describes this as the difference between long-range and short-range graphics. What do you need someone to know when they’re still 20 feet away? And once they’re inside the booth, what additional information (in smaller text) do they need to have before you can make the sale?

You also need to keep in mind the practicalities of a trade show or conference. Exhibition halls are loud, so don’t invest in a motion graphic with a great voiceover if no one’s going to be able to hear it. Instead, focus on communicating anything that needs to be said in words, rather than visuals, by showing that text on screen. Also, consider the size of the screen on which you’ll be showing the motion graphic—is the text going to be big enough to read? Too big?

Finally, what should be the focal point of your booth? Every great piece of visual content needs a single element to tie it together—the thing people will picture when they remember your booth later. You don’t want them to visualize a web of random text and images. Decide what’s most important, and what will best communicate your value—whether it’s an illustration, photo, or tagline—and build the design hierarchy around that. Learn more about how to create a strong focal point.

Your Booth as an Experience
How should people engage with you and your booth once you’ve got them hooked? Different brands will tackle this problem in different ways, depending on their goals.

If you’re looking to project authority and thought leadership, staff your booth with knowledgeable brand evangelists. Add ways for people to interact with your brand on their own, too:

  • Displays that require tactile engagement.
  • Touchscreens with interactive quizzes to help visitors find the right solution for them.
  • Brochures and swag that will help them remember you.

If you’re projecting a more fun-loving image, showcase your brand with:

  • Virtual tours of your idea, brand, or service via VR headsets, which Nimlok projects will be a huge trade show trend in 2018.
  • Games and contests that will keep your visitors in the booth longer and leave them with a positive memory.
  • Giveaways that will bring them back later, once they’ve won a prize.
  • Swag they’ll really use, such as:
    • Useful exhibition hall maps with your booth clearly marked.
    • Conference-specific postcards for them to send home. guide to the best happy hour spots in the host city, sponsored by your brand. For inspiration, check out the maps we made for SXSW 2015.

If you’d like to see how Killer Infographics puts together a visually inspired booth, check us out at Booth #225 at SXSW, March 9-15, 2018. We’ll be sporting a booth at the conference for the third year in a row, and we’re planning on a display that showcases as many types of visual communication as possible.

Our CEO and owner, Amy Balliett, will also be speaking at SXSW for the second year in a row. She’ll team up with Nathan Clendenin of StoryDriven for “The New Age of Story: Marketing for a Visual World” at 3:30 p.m., March 10, in Fairmont Congressional A. We hope to see you in Austin, and if you can’t make it, send us photos of your next trade show booth! We can’t ever get enough of great visual experiences.

The post Revisualizing Your Trade Show Marketing Strategy appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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Just as there are thousands of living languages, visual content can speak in such varied ways and across many, many means of communication.

At Killer, we often speak of static work (like infographics), motion graphics, and interactive content as the primary categories that help to define visual content, but in reality, each of these mediums can evolve and work together to create new ways of speaking visually. They can also all be promoted and disseminated in innovative ways — you can use these pieces or portions of them to spread awareness across your site, social channels, partner sites, microsites, and more.

Whether you’re exploring visual communication for the first time, working to define a visual strategy, or embarking on a campaign with a specific unified goal, these mediums can work together to create a clear picture of your message.

Infographics and Other Static Content
Infographics are practically ubiquitous in the online space. Lots of images claim to be infographics, even if they aren’t quite there in terms of balancing successful visual communication, effective and attractive custom design, valuable and reputable content, and ease of use.

But static visual content doesn’t begin and end with infographics — data visualizations, eBooks, newsletters, visual blog posts, and more are all examples of static visual content that can connect with your audience when executed well. Business cards and flyers are still in frequent use at conferences, while posters, brochures, and printed reports still also have their place in conference rooms, workplaces, sales floors, and more. Visual training tools for internal use often also incorporate print collateral for future reference.

Infographics can stand successfully on their own or in a series, but can also be quite effective when paired with accompanying dynamic content that either tells the same story or takes a deeper dive. Motion graphics and interactive content can be excellent partners to your static content.

Motion Graphics
Motion graphics can enhance your presence on multimedia platforms like Facebook and Twitter while also affording access to new ones, like YouTube. They allow you to tell a unique story about your business, your purpose, your customers, your product or service, and more.

Motion graphics are powerful on their own, but they can be highly effective when paired with other mediums — for example, perhaps you are showing a motion graphic during a presentation but need a print leave-behind for a sales pitch or conference. Maybe you developed an infographic as part of a webinar and it was very successful online, but viewers said they’d love a motion graphic to help most effectively pass your message on to their colleagues or boss. Motion graphics can help add a more “human” component to your narrative by incorporating movement, sound design, and voiceover.

Interactive Content
Tasked with goals like audience engagement, detailed storytelling, and a unique experience of information discovery, interactive content shines. It can take the form of a quiz with specific results, an in-depth timeline, a report with multiple levels of detail, and much more. Because interactive content can tell many stories and take a user down many paths, it’s very well-suited to being paired with other mediums in a larger visual strategy. The different paths or layers of information can be broken down into unique infographics; a brief motion graphic can provide a high-level look at the topic before the deep-dive begins.

Interactive content opens new possibilities for translating data that you may have always thought was just too dense for your audience to easily parse. That text-heavy, table-filled report can be a thing of the past when you give users the ability to control the level of information they explore. It can also be a unique way to explore a single-path narrative in a similar way to what a motion graphic can present, but with a distinctly different experience.

Many visual strategies can benefit from interactive content because it’s highly versatile, meaning it can be the right option for a wide variety of stories and goals.

Visual Assets for Distribution
No matter which medium your art was created for, it doesn’t have to be a one-and-done piece. If you’ve created it in-house or purchased the rights from your visual communication agency, you can use the source file to repurpose your design for distribution in other ways. If you don’t have the source file, your agency should be happy to create assets like these for you, whether included in your package or added on after the fact!

No 2 visual strategies are the same, and not every visual strategy requires use of every medium in the visual communication toolbox — but knowing how each of these mediums can contribute to a visual strategy at large is a great way to begin imagining what your own path could look like.

The post Building a Visual Strategy: Infographics and Beyond appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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For anyone who’s ever needed to sell someone on the merits of visual communication — or wondered about the value of using it themselves — we’ve created an all-in-one resource to answer your questions with facts: a new microsite!

Visual Communication: The Future of Content Marketing” was created to share the data and research we’ve collected over the years showing the importance and effectiveness of well-executed visual communication. Much like our ebooks, it offers insight into a specific corner of visual communication — in this case, the benefits of visual communication shown through a data-driven approach.

We built this microsite to help explain the value of different types of visual communication (infographics, motion graphics, interactive content) to the world, providing examples and showing why quality matters for success. As a highly targeted resource, the microsite is an easy way to show your boss, colleagues, or employees the true value of well-executed visual communication.

visualcommunication.agency does not replace our main site here at Killer Infographics! It’s a separate resource for understanding what we do, why we do it, and why your company needs it. With less of a focus on our company itself, the microsite allows both you and those you’re hoping to inform to learn about visual communication, unencumbered by the typically broad reach of a company’s main website.

Click the button below to visit our new visual communication microsite:

The post Visual Communication: The Future of Content Marketing appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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The numbers continue to show how motion graphics help brands drive growth. They can increase conversions by 80%, help business grow revenue 49% faster, and connect with your audiences at a deeper level. For an in-depth look at the ROI of motion graphics, check out this post. But not just any motion graphic will do — to truly hold your audience’s attention, it’s important to consider the craft behind your video’s creation.

There are 2 core components of most any motion graphic: Visual and audio. The visual can be separated into artwork and animation; audio is a blend of voiceover, music, and sound design. A successful motion graphic strikes balance amongst these elements, to deliver a narrative that informs, delights, and moves to action. This requires continuous mindfulness of how every little decision will impact tone, mood, and pacing.

Visual
For artwork, it’s important to consider who your audience is, and how they interact with your brand. Are they young? Old? Location-specific? Do they work in a B2B environment? Are they potential donors to your non-profit? Every audience has a unique set of motivations and desires, and the artwork you produce can connect with them at a very fundamental level.

For example, if you are creating a motion graphic to sell a SaaS platform that simplifies a complex task for your clients, consider an art direction that focuses on simple abstract imagery with plenty of empty space. This will make the process seem simpler, like your platform will transform  your audience’s stress into a calm and enjoyable experience.

With animation, small decisions can create huge impact on how your audience feels. Will your audience respond better to a fast-paced, hard-hitting visual style where art elements are constantly moving around? Or does your story require slower pacing, allowing the artwork to more calmly resolve into scenes, inviting the audience to pause and reflect? For either direction, choices on framerate, velocity, cuts, transitions, easing, and timing should all be made intentionally.

Audio
Audio is often the unsung hero of motion graphics. Voiceover can draw your audience in and build a lasting relationship; music can set the mood, as well as complement the narrative structure of your motion graphic; sound design can tie all the elements of narrative together, applying a layer of cohesion and ambience that can unify elements.

For voiceover, it’s crucial to consider what sort of narrator your audience wants: male or female, old or young, authoritative or conversational. When it comes to voiceover production, work with your audio engineer on technical details. Should the voiceover be filled out at the low-end, and employ reverb to make the audience feel towered over, as if being lectured? Or should the voiceover feel intimate and soft, almost like the audience is being told a secret? Your voiceover talent and audio engineer have an incredible amount of power to create feeling in your story.

Music must always match and enhance the mood and pacing of your motion graphic. It’s important that your composer has an in-depth understanding of your goals, audience, and vision. Light, acoustic, and upbeat instrumentation will create an inviting and uplifting environment, whereas ambient, electronic tones will often establish a darker, more urgent mood. Whatever musical direction your motion graphic requires, your composer must always compose a track that builds energy at key moments and allows for softness and reflection after.

Sound design is one of the most versatile tools in your motion graphic toolbox. It can be used to create ambient sound — filling out a scene with noises like wind in the trees, cars passing on a street, or passersby engaged in conversation — or to draw the eye to key pieces of animation, such as an icon animating into the frame, or a button being clicked on a web form. Just like music, sound design can create either an inviting and upbeat atmosphere or a moody, subdued environment. Just like your composer and audio engineer, your sound designer must have a thorough understanding of the goals of the motion graphic, in order to build an audio environment that engages your audience and always furthers your story.

A successful motion graphic always strikes balance, creating an audio/visual experience that engages the eyes and ears, and delights the viewer. Focusing too much or too little on any one piece can cause the narrative to unravel, and your audience to lose interest. Remember – every single decision should be made in consideration of who your audience is and what you want them to think.

The post The Nuance of Motion Design appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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What a year! 2017 brought us successes both familiar and brand new. We explored new conferences and returned to past favorites, hosted classes both in person and online, earned both first-time and repeat awards, traveled the world for business and pleasure, and adopted or improved on many talents outside the workplace. Here’s our visual year in review.

The post 2017 Visualized: The Year at Killer Infographics appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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When it comes to marketing, visual content is top-notch. It reaches your audience quickly and in a way they can truly engage with; as a result, you might see increased traffic to your site, a boost in leads, a boost in closed deals, or all of these!

But the power of visual content doesn’t begin and end with your company’s target market. There’s another eager audience within your own organization, craving visual means of understanding processes, policies, and expert subject matter — your employees. And while there are many ways to visually engage your colleagues and employees, an annual report may be one avenue that you haven’t previously considered.

In the US, nonprofits are required to provide a certain level of transparency on request — annual reports can be an effective way to do that. Large corporations may only share their reports with shareholders, but they can be a valuable tool for sharing throughout the company too (even if the level of disclosure is a little less for different audiences).

What Should Go Into My Annual Report?
Straddling the line of external and internal communication, annual reports are an excellent way to show off your achievements to devoted customers/donors and devoted employees alike. If it’s important to you that your audience pays attention to, understands, and retains the information in your annual report, increasing the amount of visual content is a strong way to go.

Whether you modify your reports to share more or less with each intended audience, practically everyone can agree that seeing a company’s achievements is far more impactful than only having the option to read about them.

Keeping your target audience for each report in mind, try including information like:

    •     Where you operate
    •     Where your customer base is located
    •     Company values
    •     Areas of focus
    •     Industry rankings
    •     Major initiatives, projects, and accomplishments
    •     Insight into leadership activities and successes
    •     Year-over-year revenue and/or profit
    •     Personnel/departmental updates
    •     Marketing and social presence

How Should I Visualize My Information?
The rules of data visualization are around for a reason. Your 5% compound annual growth rate can’t be shown in a pie chart, because they only show a piece of a whole — not a growth, which indicates something is more than it used to be. Similarly, be careful about juxtaposing numerical data onto strange shapes, like a map or a person — even with the best of intentions, this can distort the data and affect your viewers’ perceptions of the information.

In addition to choosing the right technical application, be sure to consider overall aesthetic as it plays to your audience. Fun and playful illustrations may not be the right choice for your CEO (…or maybe they are!), while an overly minimalist approach might bore your employees if they don’t have further incentive to review the report.

How Much is Too Much?
Your visual annual report can reduce the amount of time it takes your audience to absorb the information you’re sharing. That being said, adding too many visuals can be a turn-off that loses your viewers just as quickly as a text-only report.

If you’re having trouble letting go of that elephant illustration or the 3 sets of revenue history charts, put yourself in the viewer’s desk chair. Does the elephant explain more about your work with local zoos, or could the illustration be working harder to show that? Is your annual report focusing on all of your company’s history, or just a brief recap of what’s happened since your rebrand last year?

If the answer is that your visual is enhancing your message and driving your narrative, you can probably keep it. If it’s just fun, or just makes the report look more robust, you can probably scrap it.

The potential for visual communication within your organization is vast. While a highly visual annual report might benefit you, high-quality execution is the key to making sure your information isn’t ignored.  With each business’ unique needs come a unique set of possibilities — and we’d love to talk through them with you.

The post Visualizing Your Annual Report appeared first on Killer Infographics.

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