Laurie Roche, our Head of Creative Services, explores opportunities and tips to elevate visual communications in the infrastructure industry.
Entering the world of infrastructure, the NSIPs, DCOs, MPA, TCPA, LPA, EfWs (for the uninitiated, glossary below), it’s evident that:
A – the industry loves an acronym
B – there’s an opportunity to be creative in the way we translate complex messaging to engage the public.
For example, an infographic is an effective way to present information quickly and clearly, particularly if we are able to simplify complex ideas to help communicate project benefits. Our audiences are often time poor with no prior project knowledge and by illustrating key messages graphically, we’re helping them to better understand our messaging without the need of a glossary.
The power of a brand
What if we approached every infrastructure project as an opportunity to create a brand? From the naming of the project (is it short and pithy? does it say what it does?) to the visual identity (project logo, use of fonts, colours and imagery) these brand elements can help:
- build trust
- be an assurance of quality
- reflect project values
- engage audiences
Thinking about the look and feel – the design strategy – of project communications at the outset can help bring stakeholders on board and attract investors – the two audiences that are often critical to the success of the project. Applying this approach is common sense – why wouldn’t we want to visually join up project activities to reinforce messaging?
Back to basics
Creative doesn’t have to mean complex. A considered newsletter, poster or leaflet design can be as equally impactful as a website, animation or podcast. And when combined as a multi-channel campaign, it is most effective when design and design strategy has been at the forefront of its ideation.
What if, even at a project level, we were to think of every document or presentation as an opportunity to visually elevate communications and make an impact? We are visual creatures, so why not consider the aesthetics of our outputs and aim to excite as well as inform our audiences?
Although there are no hard and fast rules to good design, the following points are a good place to start when you’re next producing materials to share:
- know your audience – this will inform the how and what
- think about visual hierarchies – what is the most important element on the page?
- embrace white space – allow your content space to breathe
- keep it simple – you don’t need lots of fonts, font sizes and colours to stand out
And if you’re considering using Comic Sans for your next report, perhaps it’s time to call in a professional…
NSIPs – Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
DCOs – Development Consent Orders
MPA – Major Projects Association
TCPA – Town and Country Planning Association
LPA – Local Planning Authority
EfW – Energy from Waste