Our 13th Year – “Information Graphic” in a courtroom context

Carbon Water Sketch

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One of our recent cases required us to illustrate the way trees “work” in nature to help an expert witness educate the judge in a dispute about the value of a forested plot of land. We were reminded of the often-overlooked distinction between an illustration and an information graphic.

Having recently finished The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, it is fair to say there is more than meets the eye when considering all there is to know about “a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground.”[1]

What is clear however, is that the subject matter provides a basis for demonstrating complex systems by way of visual teaching – to get under the hood of the information graphic vehicle.

We are often asked to “pretty things up” for courtroom presentations, especially now when so many attorneys have some facility with PowerPoint and other visual design applications. There remains a great value to that task, one in which we derive great satisfaction. But developing a strategic visual plan using graphics to help teach concepts (as opposed to decorate) is something altogether different and just as vital to winning over a fact-finder.

Stay tuned for a series of visuals that go the extra mile in educating the viewer much the same way our best courtroom graphics have done, by using trees as a subject matter to demonstrate the value of using pictures to “show rather than tell.”

2023 seems like a good time to launch into this series using trees as our muse to elaborate on the true value of sophisticated information graphics, making it more like “twenty-twenty-tree.”

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[1] Oxford Languages and Google