Does a picture tell a thousand words?
Everyone has a story to tell. Some people like shouting from the roof tops and others mutter under their breath or incessantly describe every event in minute detail.
So how would a famous artist interpret these different narrative styles into a picture? There are obvious parallels with the respective work of Andy Warhol’s bold and brash pop art, Mondrian with his minimalist lines or M.C. Escher and his very detailed etchings?
How do you choose the right ‘Artist’ for your message?
In the business world we swap ‘artists’ for designers and a company’s ‘message’ forms part of their corporate marketing strategy. Customers are most likely to experience content through websites, email campaigns or printed literature. Design agencies are experts at producing digital images usually seen no larger than the size of your dinner plate but are these agencies best placed to create large format graphics for your exhibition stand?
Caged chicken or Free-range?
I’m officially a product designer but I hate being pigeon-holed. I prefer to consider myself with a range of business skills and some of them are design related. I would be the first person to accept I’m more comfortable producing 3D concepts than flat 2D images. It puzzles me why so many companies assume that because you are a ‘designer’ you naturally have the skill to create fantastic concepts across a wide range of media. A graphic designer is great at producing work usually viewed on a screen whereas an interior designer will create a wonderful room setting to install the screen.
Where do you stand?
It’s all about perspective. I recently attended a meeting and the client started scribbling their ideas. It helped explore their thoughts but they kept sketching their exhibition space from above like a bird flying over a house. The exhibition stand would never be viewed from this angle so it became difficult to really understand the space. Change your viewpoint and imagine looking out from within your space. You’ll quickly realise you can’t sketch everything in one drawing and you’ll need a series of vistas. Unlike fish we can’t see all around us, we need to turn our heads for the full picture.
My advice would be to not expect your digital design team to possess the visual agility to translate your corporate message effectively onto large wall areas normally reserved for interior designers, however don’t be narrow minded and rule that option out either!
The solution lies within the question.
- Do you need a thousand words?
- What style suits your message?
- What perspective will the viewer see it?
- Which creative team has the most appropriate skills to interpret your message?
Follow these top 10 hints to transform you digital profile onto large format graphics.
- Work out the message you want to tell.
- Express it in a way that your customers will be able to digest.
- Don’t expect one picture to represent the whole book, break it down into bite size chapters.
- Editors are there for a reason. They trim out written clutter and streamline articles. Appoint someone in your team to act as a visual editor and protect over- indulgent artistic flair.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for impartial and honest comments.
- Understand the environment where the imagery will be viewed and how it relates to the physical structures and activities nearby.
- Look at the image from the customer’s viewpoint and appreciate the length of time available to absorb the content.
- Build synergy with your creative team. It’s a partnership not a battleground.
- It’s your story, make sure customers see it in the manner you want it viewed.
- Simply ask your creative team to follow the advice of my Design Tutor…
“Draw what you mean and mean what you draw!”
…hopefully your finished exhibition graphics will articulate your message in your own style!