Every summer holiday break needs some stimulating reading that isn’t too taxing on the brain. So rather than the latest Dan Brown book, may we offer you our wonderful shiny new Transition infographic? It is the work of Bristol-based designer Trucie Mitchell, who also happens to be the designer of Transition Free Press. It can be printed in a variety of ways, and will hopefully be a really useful tool for communicating Transition (perhaps we should have had it printed on beach towels?).
Already a number of groups are using it, such as the photo below, taken at the recent Transition Thursday in Swaffham:
I caught up with Trucie and asked her a few questions about it:
What were you trying to achieve with the info graphic?
Most people find graphic representations of complex ideas easier to understand than bare stats and factual text, so I wanted to create a visual explanation of Transition - why its important, what it is and how to do it. And I wanted it to be without racial, gender or age bias and for it to appeal across geographical and political boundaries - with easily translatable text - as well as be simple to update and change. And I wanted it to look good!
Why did the take the approach that you ended up taking?
I soon realised that you can't explain Transition without showing people but when you draw figures they are immediately either male or female, black or white, young or older etc etc. Hairstyles, clothing, skin colour all serve to categorise representations of people so I turned to our inner creatures for inspiration. Vaguely organic shapes, with enough variation to show diversity and with arms and legs so they could be shown to 'move' and 'act' and with eyes and ears to convey emotion, but stripping away everything else.
We also agreed to stick fairly closely to the established Transition 'brand' open source font of Calibri and to the colours of turquoise and green, with some warmer background neutrals and red for important highlights.
What do you think that visual information can do that the written word fails to do sometimes?
I think we're hardwired to absorb and process a great deal of visual information incredibly quickly and without much conscious thought and so showing comparisons of relative size, for example, is understood much more immediately by a picture of several circles - one big, one a bit smaller, one smaller still, and one really little - than by a set of figures. Also, I think visual humour and emotion are much more translatable than textual descriptions, something often gets lost in translation between the idiom of one language and another. Basically, I think pictures make things obvious and unavoidable in a way that prose can fail to do.
How can groups make best use of it now? What are your hopes for it now?
I'd hope that groups can use it really creatively and widely as a way to open a conversation about Transition. Using it either as a whole on their own individual websites or printed as a big poster for events, or using the separate parts in presentations or as postcards or stickers. I hope they can use it to reach people in their communities that they've struggled to reach before, outside the circle of 'the already converted'. I rather suspect, also, that groups will come up with uses we've never even imagined or may even be inspired to make their own versions to fit their own local needs, which is even more exciting!
You'll find everything you need to know about the Infographic, including downloading it at different resolutions, here.