Making a Complex Concept Tangible

Jim McManus, July 7, 2017

Visualizing challenging concepts is often critical to effectively communicating with an organization’s most important audiences. Visual stories can crystallize mission and purpose for those who might benefit from an organization’s services, and can excite those who might fund its future growth.

Take the example of a project we recently finished for the Open Learning Exchange (OLE), which is focused on improving educational systems in low-resource areas of the world. They came to us, as many clients do, for help communicating their difficult-to-explain mission more simply and clearly — they work in partnership with educational entrepreneurs in local areas, providing strategic advice and technical support at municipal, regional, and national levels.

While OLE came to us with a narrative in place, they knew words alone weren’t enough to quickly communicate their impact. They understood the potential power of telling their story more visually, of literally showing potential partners and supporters around the world what they do, how they help, and the difference they make. And they asked us to work with them.

We began by having an in-depth discussion with OLE’s founder, President & CEO Richard Rowe. He directly shared his vision and strategy, and explained OLE’s overall ecosystem. That gave us the foundation we needed to sketch a rough visualization of OLE’s core story…

Open Learning Exchange Graphic

We then worked with the OLE team to refine and expand the visualization until we had a final product — one they were excited to share, and we were proud to have created:

This graphic is now a primary element on their newly relaunched website, and we’re hearing that it’s been quite successful.

OLE, like all of our clients, found that combining some minimal amount of their time with our skills and effort resulted in a clear, sophisticated, and accessible visualization of their story – one that’s much more effective than a clunky home-grown effort.

Want to see more? Check out these examples of other conceptual graphics we’ve created for a variety of organizations.