Number 19 of 20 for 20 – Public Service


Well conceived and executed graphics enrich our understanding of an idea and in many cases inform action. Belgian designer Karim Douïeb tackled the familiar U.S. election map by representing population density rather than fully colored state shapes to more accurately represent the people who voted rather than the place from which they voted. Its significance reminded me of my aha moment when I first saw Minard’s drawing of Napoleon’s 1812 Retreat from Moscow.

As soon as I first saw graphic representations of SARS-CoV-2 related data, I began searching for ways to use graphics to deepen understanding and spread actionable information. If our work can help persuade one person to wear a mask, stay distant and sanitize often, then we’ve used our skills for good.

More than “making it pretty,” we continually explore ways to convey difficult concepts in an accessible and actionable manner. The esthetic certainly has a place in our work, and we will expound on that more in 2021. Meanwhile, we have been focused on doing our part to help circulate information responsibly and effectively, motivated by the same curiosity and urgency we have felt since the pandemic began in the U.S. Of particular urgency is the growing number of Intensive Care Units that are filling to capacity as we find ourselves in another surge nationwide.

Like Minard’s map and Douïeb’s representation of the electorate, we are striving to raise the level of comprehension with our latest Public Service Announcement.

This is our way to play a part in persuading people to adjust their behavior to help slow the spread of the virus at this crucial time before the vaccines are distributed widely.

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