, if Visual elements must support and enhance the words. Customized graphics can ensure a consistent visual language that integrates with the overall style guide within a project and throughout an organization.
Simple, universal, and relevant are the goals. Ultimately, they should guide the audience to intended conclusion(s), and not distract from the content.
Typically I'll build one in black and white, then create other monochromatic versions in reverse, grey, one or two colors within the established color palette. Depending on the material, I may create versions with multiple colors, if it works within the project.
Post-production, I will clean up and make sure all versions are accurately named and archived. Graphics should be adaptable and reusable.
The Character Factory
The Character Factory(tm) was born of a need for a consistent, iconic graphics to represent family groups for example-driven courses. There are two groups of the Character Factory; the stick figures, and the head shots.
The stick figure set includes action postures that support changes in circumstances. There are also stick figures for pregnancy, and perinatal, infant, and toddler aged children.
The headshots are simple faces, essentially a PowerPoint version of paper doll parts, that can be mixed and matched to create distinct, diverse, and inclusive personas.
Skin tone, lips, and hair colors were developed based on cosmetic product color lines. Hair styles are intended to be adaptable to different cultures. Simple accessories are also available such as eyewear and headdress.
Sometimes a concept is well-known to the audience but needs subtle distinctions, especially when there are similar concepts, such as different types of documents or income and expense types.
They're simple, versatile, and easily recognized visual cues for what is often dry content.
For a curriculum that discussed several types of income and expense, I created an icon set using an abstract dollar icon, categorized with upward arrows for expense, and downward arrows for income. When appropriate, additional text would be added to further define the income or expense (such as child support, medical, royalties, etc.).
The goal is to be quickly adaptable while adhering to an established visual style that enhances understanding.