Graphic Design

During this course I built up a small portfolio of design works which aim to represent complex facts in an interesting visual way.

The first assessment piece in the Graphic Design course at UQ (DECO2200) involved five small design works completed fortnightly. Each time, we were given a selection of facts from issues of Harper’s Magazine, and tasked with representing the complexity of the fact in a more understandable way using graphic design elements.

Week 3 - Simple number based facts

Just The Facts - Week 3

Original Fact: “Average per capita income within 3 miles of a major U.S. coal plant: $18,400”

I settled on this fact from the selection as I found it to be simple and straight-forward with a lot of potential comparisons to draw. I needed to find an average national figure to compare $18,400 to in order to help comprehend the size of the number, so I chose the national average income figure represented in a green colour to reinforce the idea that this is good and fair. I then placed the rest of the information below this to display that it is lower and of less value, with the final figure being the difference between the two.

I decided to draw a simpler comparison between the two figures by breaking it down into a weekly approximation, and then further comparing it to the average weekly rent. I felt as though this would help people understand what a difference this amount of money could make, so that they would be more emotionally affected by the fact.

Week 5 - Portion/percentage based facts

Just The Facts - Week 5

Original Fact: “Portion of U.S. jobs held by humans today that are at high risk of being automated by 2024: 1/2”

I selected this fact because of its inherent simplicity, but also because it is quite striking. I restricted my colour scheme to only black and red for the purposes of simplicity, but also to represent the seriousness of the figure. I included 10 icons in total to make the percentage easy to grasp, and switched out the 1/2 from the original fact for 50%, whilst also aligning the icons to resemble half and half of the total.

I also placed the ‘50%’ in the middle of the two rows to create somewhat of a divide or invisible line between the two, with the purpose of further representing the icons as a ratio of half and half. I then coloured a section on top of each robot the same red colour as the text to solidify the connection between the two.

Week 6 - Extreme number based facts

Just The Facts - Week 6

Original Fact: “Amount by which Dollar General outbid Dollar Tree in an attempted August take-over of Family Dollar: $700,000,000”

I wanted to focus mainly on giving the viewer an idea of the size of $700 million by using a measure and scale they would be able to grasp. I chose to do this by distributing that money between all employees at the company, and was left with a figure of $7000. This is much easier for someone to understand, and the fact that $7000 could be given to each of 100,000 people clearly represents the massive size and scale of this figure.

I wanted to refrain from using excess illustrations as that seemed unnecessary with the content of the fact, so the only two illustrations I included were that of a black gavel and 100 people icons. I included the gavel purely out of aesthetic reasons, and to add a more interesting element to the top block of text.

Week 8 - Representation of nested facts

Just The Facts - Week 8

Original Fact: “Number of Academy Award winners in the past 20 years who thanked God in their acceptance speeches: 7. Number who thanked Harvey Weinstein: 30.”

For this fact, I decided to wherever possible incorporate graphics that related to the fact, as my previous submissions were quite minimalistic and lacked more illustrations. I used the typical film reel to show the comparison in two sections, and used small academy award icons to represent the number of winners who thanked these people. I also chose to highlight the important text and numbers with a colour used in the academy award logo, to again tie these figures back into the fact itself.

Whilst it may still be difficult to fully understand for those who are unfamiliar with Harvey Weinstein, there was really no option to include extra information to clarify this without messing up the simplicity of the design.

Week 10 - Wild card

Just The Facts - Week 10

Original Fact: “Income at which North Carolina Representative Fred Heineman believes the lower middle class begins: $100,000. Chances that an American’s income falls short of this: 39/40”

I began by simplifying and re-arranging the fact to have 1/40 instead of 39/40 as it was easier to represent proportionally. I designed a small person icon to look like Fred Heineman, as I thought that may help emphasize the fact that this was simply one man’s opinion. I felt as though it would also help users understand who he was.

I grouped the text right beside his icon to help make the connection, and separated the rest to show that if his idea was true, only 1 in 40 Americans would be considered at least middle class. I represented this figure with a simple pie chart, with the American flag used to draw a connection with the country again.