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Overcoming information overload

One resource the world isn’t running out of is information. It exists in both the physical and digital world, making every attempt to ensure we absorb it and adopt it. Of course information encompasses everything – from daily news to what clothing brand best suits your personality. Sometimes we embrace information. We let it educate us, we wear it on our chests, share it with our friends. But much more often we ignore it. There is simply too much of it and this is what designers have to remember whenever we’re spreading a client’s message.

City scene with lots of information to look at

For over 20 years, our team has been watching the ever-changing world of information and adjusting to what works and what doesn’t. In that time, we’ve found audiences react best to messages that are 1: simple, and 2: memorable, and one can’t work without the other. For example, we’ve all seen an ad that was memorable but then we can’t recall what product it was actually selling, or we’ve read information only to forget the details an hour later while trying to tell it to a friend over coffee.

Focussing on simple and memorable messaging may seem logical, but it’s amazing how difficult it is to create something that ticks both boxes. As you look around you will quickly notice that the preferable option is to simply be the loudest and the brightest. And that’s understandable – it’s the easy option. But these solutions have a short shelf-life.

Through experience we have learnt to turn information into something that is not only easily digestible, but stays with the audience. Often all it takes is a tweak in thinking. Sometimes an illustrated poster can more easily communicate financial information than a text-heavy annual report, or a 1-minute animation can better retain your audience’s attention than a 20-slide presentation. It’s those kinds of simple data visualisation and memorable solutions that have proven to be hugely successful for our clients and their audiences.

It makes sense. Information should be an experience. Because, in the end, it’s all about creating simple memories.

*This post originally appeared in Idealog Autumn 2017.