United Ways of Texas (UWT) improves the lives of Texans by building the capacity of local United Ways and enhancing their impact. As a strategy to build awareness of and increase investment in the nonprofit sector of Texas, UWT developed a report to document the impact of the sector on the entire state. Spoiler Alert: the impact is huge, and UWT had as many data points to choose from as they did ways to communicate just how huge it is. UWT partnered with KarliDesigns to develop this report into a product that conveys the breadth and complexity of their findings simply and beautifully.
Process is key to the KarliDesigns approach. Jumping straight into a big project can feel energizing for a client and a designer, but it can also lead to lots of revisions and unnecessary work. I tackled this project into three distinct phases.
Find the Story: With so much information to share, the first challenge was to determine the story to tell through the data. This was the hardest part of the entire project - piecing together the information in a way that takes the reader on a journey. I flipped through all of the papers shared with her to really understand what was being reported and how it could compel Texans to look differently at the nonprofit sector.
Plot the Journey: Once I had the thoughts in order, it was time to make sure that the client wanted to tell the same story. I presented her first version of the report without a single fancy chart, pull-quote or photo. This allowed UWT to understand and agree to the design of the journey before there was anything aesthetic consider. Then I layered in super-simple visualizations of the data to make sure the numbers were clearly taking us on that journey. After a few rounds of revisions, the report was ready to get pretty!
Style the data: With the path set, I started the visual design process by developing two possible look-and-feels for UWT to consider for the report and then applied this font/color/illustration extravaganza to the first few pages of the report for further review. (Not sure if you’ve caught on yet, but I prefer working smart to working hard.) The triple-check on style looked great, giving me the go-ahead to design the full book for publication and PDF.
For UWT, I was more like a sommelier than a drive-through screen. I didn’t just take their order and design a report, I truly partnered with them on a process that got them organized and involved in producing an incredible report. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with all the data, UWT was able to take it step by step, considering the story and the style separately, and getting a better product through everyone’s involvement.
Making it work for you: You are great at making an impact in our community; I am great at designing for print and web. Let’s both stick to what we do best and partner to communicate your impact through clean, engaging design. I promise to make the process simple, interactive and (gasp!) fun!