Complex Visual Problem Solving

A client recently took a look at my blog, made a confused face and said he couldn’t work out what the key theme of all my work was. Not great. I spend so much time trying to communicate on the part of others, I had obviously neglected to communicate my own message.  So I decided to make it really clear by summing it up in one sentence:

I CREATE IMAGES AND TEXT THAT HELP PEOPLE ENGAGE WITH COMPLEX CONCEPTS.

That could mean posters, fliers, live graphic recording at events, pitches etc, infographics, social media posts, blog material. I work in various sectors, primarily business, education and charity, helping my clients spread their messages.

Essentially, you give me your problem concerning communication of your idea and I give you a visual solution to that problem. I can draw but more importantly I CAN THINK. That’s really what you’re paying me for. I listen to you, ask questions about your organisation, your clients, your project and then I provide you with something that will really help you break through all the noise out there. It’s not just a lovely drawing, its something witty as well as pretty and it will make people look again at what you have to say.

And why is that important? These days we are all constantly bombarded with bla bla bla, every second of the day from every angle. I aim to make work that is not bla in any way. Instead of being easy to consume, it has a little edge, asks a little bit from the viewer. I try to compel the viewer to look again, to get the joke, to connect the dots. I believe it’s good to make people work a bit and flex their ‘little grey cells’ – they feel respected, and they appreciate the challenge.

So I hope that explains clearly what the whole point of me is. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

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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