Communications and Behavioral Graphics are my specialties, and my study on the effects of graphics on behavior is ongoing. Art, Design, and Analytics are the tools used to engage behavioral research. My goal is to identify unique behaviors associated with graphic arts.
The movie 'Gravity' starring Sandra Bullock, and how she went through different international space stations and couldn't read the control panel buttons of other languages, made me think about a universal symbols language everyone could understand. An adopted graphics language that everyone contributes to and agrees upon.
From this, I came up with the idea of Graphic Hieroglyphics.
How can a toddler still in diapers that can barely read be able to navigate through an interactive program on a tablet without help? What strikes that child's imagination to push certain buttons to get through the program? It is simply the graphics.
But what graphics entice the user's curiosity? This is the effort I am going to explore.
In a child's blissful innocence to playfully interact with a program on a tablet, the child is subliminally conditioning their memory to recognize pictures to navigate the game. As the child enthusiastically browses the program, they are learning simultaneously.
As a behavioral graphic arts specialist, I am always looking for ways to minimize the learning process thru graphics. I have been a lifelong designer thru work in the high-tech sector. I am now interested in researching and developing techniques to communicate with pictures for education and universal communications.
An infographic is a visual representation of information, a picture with a message, and images that tell a story. We learn from them; we teach with them, and they are the most used and probably unnoticeable form of communication we take for granted. Prehistoric cave drawings are the earliest forms of infographics.
Fast-forward to the present day, with the introduction of the Internet, digital design technology has emerged as the new medium for infographic design. The emergence of Social Networking has propelled the desire for infographic design on the Internet. Graphic arts evolved into multi-media digital design. With so many programs to choose from, it is evident that I chose the programs most used in the industry.
It was somewhat cumbersome changing from hand-drawn sketches to digital design. The transition was at the same level of difficulty I experienced, migrating from drawing with a pencil on a drafting table to drafting on a CAD system. As soon as I got the hang of creating digital graphics, the reward came when making design changes. The payoff is in how fast and easy you can make modifications. The learning curve was quite an undertaking, but the changeover was well worth it.
Functional design became essential to train the viewer’s eyes in recognizing features that help navigate through web pages, menu displays, shopping mall directories, museum tours, and maps, to name a few examples. I believe if there is a discipline to developing infographics, it is the goal to make the infographic as simple as possible, straight to the point, and more in the communication sense and less in the artistic mind, a working graphic metaphor.
When I first attempt to create an information graphic, I imagine a message theme first and try to make a graphic as much as possible without text explanation. But suppose the text is necessary to help explain the fundamental characteristic of the graphic message, then as a designer. In that case, it’s up to me to find the right balance in the graphic-to-text combination and achieve the best infographic result. If I can get away without using text in the graphic-message, I feel I have created a successful Graphic Metaphor.
When I first attempt to create an information graphic, I imagine a message theme first and try to make a picture as much as possible without text explanation. But suppose the text is necessary to help explain the fundamental characteristic of the graphic message, then as a designer. In that case, it’s up to me to find the right balance in the graphic-to-text combination and achieve the best infographic result. If I can get away without using text in the graphic message, I feel I have created a successful Graphic Metaphor.
Imagine yourself in a situation where you’re trying to communicate with an extraterrestrial, you wouldn't be able to speak to him-her-it, and you most certainly wouldn’t understand each other’s writing, so what would you do? The only natural thing you are forced to do is to draw a picture in the sand and use silly erratic body movements to emphasize what you're trying to say. When verbal communication and body motions have been exhausted, the next thing is to draw something to help aid in the effort to communicate.
Infographics are created just for that purpose to aid in communication. Good examples are stop signs, public bathroom characters on doors, and app icons on your phone. They subliminally teach the viewer to recognize that graphic symbol for future use.
Just think about how difficult it would be to live in a world without graphic symbols. Imagine how difficult it would be to explain something without graphics. Infographics are an essential part of our daily interactions, and they bring life to all forms of communication, and the graphic metaphor is the non-text component of the infographic.