When I think back over the past couple of years and how thought leadership has evolved, one of the biggest changes has been in the visual presentation of insights. A few well-crafted charts used to suffice to lend some interest to a web page or PDF. Now, companies are investing, rightly so, in interactives, infographics, and dedicated microsites with splashy animation. And the search has intensified for new ways to tell a story across traditional and emerging channels.
We have also observed clients express much more willingness to eschew a static PDF as the desired end product in factor of more imaginative, creative formats. In the content audits we have conducted, we have alternately been impressed by thoughtful, well-coordinated efforts by some firms on the visual storytelling front and surprised that so many companies invest so little in design and presentation.
Internally, we have altered our narrative development process to include discussions of design and visuals at the outset of a project. This shift is important, because the best design is often about creative problem-solving: how to distill and visualize complex, technical ideas; how to use exhibits to communicate frameworks that can ground a conversation; and when the combination of writing and visuals can elevate material and make a lasting impression on readers.
This kind of creativity isn’t instant or automatic; it takes time to explore and experiment. When done right, it’s also the furthest thing from transactional. Often, our designers are tasked with visualizing a new perspective or innovation for which there is no precedent.
Luckily, we have a design team that excels at these kinds of challenges. We quickly realized that as we expand our design services and take on more production work, our team would need to grow.
So I’m pleased to welcome Katie Edwards as our new design associate. She brings with her an impressive suite of talents: as with our other designers, Katie joined us with a firm grasp of the fundamentals and aesthetics of exceptional design. In her short time with the company, she has proved herself to be a quick study, exhibiting confidence and a fearlessness to take on new things.
Katie previously collaborated with design firm Studio Blue, adding brand and spatial identity development and typesetting and layout to her portfolio of work. Through these experiences she’s built a strong foundation as a designer who blends empathy, practicality, and imagination, and one who is thoughtful about how people interact with physical space and consume content. She is also a talented hand letterer, which takes discipline and patience—both of which are crucial for success in our work.
As we continue to explore new types of visual storytelling, Katie will be a valuable asset. Her studies included, among other areas, examining the links between traditional design and social media. Although many of the design fundamentals apply across formats, understanding how to adapt them in new ways will be important.
Katie lives in the Ukrainian Village and has excellent taste in music.
You can check out Katie’s portfolio here.