Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Product Marketing Manager
The complexity of the important issues of today and the reduction of these topics to sound bites, invective and the outright misrepresentation of facts by print and broadcast media, as well as blogs and other social media, is so commonplace today it’s a cliché, a banal sideshow that we’re bombarded with at most every turn in our modern lives.
But we are still faced with the issues, and no matter how involved and convoluted, we still struggle to extract the facts and craft our own opinions, at least those of us who care or who are threatened in some way by either the issues themselves or their possible outcomes.
Good graphic design can make these complex subjects more clear. Just as a good teacher can make even the most difficult subjects exciting, thoughtful graphic design can combine the mediums of print, motion graphics, video and interactivity to bring clarity to convoluted problems, and be visually elegant, entertaining and downright fun as well.
Two cases in point:
Jonathan Jarvis, and his video The Crisis of Credit Visualized, is an ingenious explanation of how our credit markets ended up in the mess we’re still struggling to understand and dig ourselves out of today.
The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
In addition to being a lively thinker and dissector of issues, Jonathan’s a wonderfully talented designer. Check out his Process as Drawing, where he’s captured 24 30-minute illustrations created using Illustrator and Photoshop into lively 90-second videos that are just pure fun to watch. His inspiration for these exercises came from participating in the Cut & Paste Design Tournament last year. Cut & Paste 2009 is just wrapping up in Europe before heading to the Asia-Pacific, and back to New York City for the final, global championship June 20.
Jonathan evolves this rapid illustration technique in The Stimulus: Unpacked to deliver an on-the-fly analysis of a speech by President Obama.
Jonathan’s work in The Stimulus: Unpacked called to mind sosolimited, a group of designers and artists who used their custom software to remix the 2008 presidential debates into Reconstitution 2008, a live performance that deconstructs both the spoken words and the body language of the candidates. And does so beautifully.
We may face a noisy, often hostile world of “news” and “entertainment,” but it’s a delight to discover designers and artists who are turning this media barrage inside out, in ways equally thoughtful, provocative and beautiful.