Use images to delight your audience and they might just learn something…

Everything I have to say is VERY interesting and important and it’s probably the same with you. So why risk presenting your pearls of wisdom and rubies of wit to people in a way that will cause them to flee the room in fits of bored tears? It is well known that human brains tend to switch off after a certain amount of one particular stimulus and that most people learn better visually than they do through words alone.  So how can you expect people to remain focused on 465,000 slides of text delivered in a warm room on a Friday afternoon? Open the windows, give everyone a fortifying biscuit and COMMISSION ILLUSTRATIONS for your presentation. slide_235.jpg

Not just any old illustrations of course. Ramming a load of stock images of smiling people running on a beach at sunset or shaking hands next to a lightbulb is really not going to do the trick. Images like this might be slightly less boring than text on it’s own, but they also smack of laziness and do nothing to delight your viewer. And in the communications business, DELIGHT is King. nemeses.jpg

Delight, like Mary Poppin’s spoonful of sugar, often helps the ‘medicine’ go down. Delight is the added sweetness that makes your message more inviting, engaging and memorable. Stock images are not delightful. They’re like they dreary, never-ending stories your grandma tells every time she’s been at the sherry – predictable, dull and meaningless.

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Commissioned images on the other hand are like rip-roaring tales told by a skilful raconteur that you can’t peal yourself away from and that keep echoing in your mind long after they’re finished. They are relevant, witty, beautiful and intelligent. They make your client feel cared for, and they are dripping with DELIGHT.

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But don’t take my word for it. Using images to get your point across is also scientifically proven to be more effective. Pictures like this may seem daft, but processing images uses a different part of the brain to processing text, so including both in a presentation deck allows the viewer to use multiple parts of the brain at once. It gives the brain some variety of stimulus and allows thrilling new neural pathways to open up. This multi-channel approach actually increases the likelihood of the viewer understanding the information and committing it to memory.

So… FEEL THE RAW POWER OF DELIGHT and strongly consider harnessing the forces of art for your next presentation.slide_167.jpg

Illustrations made on Photoshop

 

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Clubbing! (book clubbing)

A while back I started a book club and I didn’t want to be a loner with no friends so I made a poster to promote it. (That’s how you get friends right?) People actually came so I was pretty chuffed. We read The Tiger’s Wife which was excellent.

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Here was a sketch in pen of the original layout.

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this image was made by layering photos, vector images and text in Photoshop.

 

 

Using Illustration to Help People with Low Literacy Levels Stay Healthy

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Rural Sierra Leoneans have very little access to dental care. In order to improve access and raise funds, King’s College London Dental Institute wanted to gather data in the field. But to do so would mean getting permission from rural people who had very low literacy levels and for many of whom, dentistry would be a foreign concept. So the Kings team contacted me to create a simple information sheet and permission form that would empower semi-illiterate people to be part of the project.

From previous experience, the Kings team knew that Sierra Leoneans would not want to take part in the survey or the study unless they felt comfortable and safe. Therefore, the images were to be informative but also fun and warm. They were to reflect the cultural and racial heritage of the people being interviewed. They were also for all ages, so they had to be simple but not too juvenile.

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Illustrations had to be demonstrative, warm and easy to identify with.

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Colour-wise I originally began with the bright red of the Kings College branding but feared that it was too reminiscent of blood for a dental project! So instead, I took inspiration from the warm reds of the Sierra Leonean soil and used a less saturated tone of the Kings red to soften the colour palette.

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a warm colour palette taken from the rich colour of the Sierra Leonean soil

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My initial sketch for this project included a ‘thumbs up and down’ — visual shorthand for approval or disapproval. However, after researching symbolic gesture in Sierra Leone I discovered that ‘thumbs up’ can have a very rude meaning indeed in Sierra Leone! We therefore replaced the sign with a universally comprehensible smiling and frowning face.

Although this project involved pretty graphics, its most important goal to help rural Sierra Leoneans understand the survey that was being carried out and help them give their consent. This would give them access dental care and empower them to improve their future health.

I am delighted to say that the project has secured funding and is now going through tests before it is applied in the field. I look forward to the results and incorporating the feedback in my practice!

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Images made in Photoshop and formatted in Indesign