If you’ve worked with a graphic designer but aren’t one yourself, you might wonder how our designers find inspiration for illustrating scenes, visualizing data, and creating characters. In this post, we’ll sit down with Andrew Willoughby, one of our Senior Designers, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation Annual Report, to learn more about the important role a graphic designer plays while driving projects toward success.
What’s your background? How did you get into graphic design?
I bounced around from job to job after high school. It was great, because I didn’t feel immediate pressure to dive into a career. It gave me the opportunity to explore different options and find out what was a good fit for me. I’d always loved drawing for fun, so I decided to go back to school for graphic design. It turned out that was a great decision. I had a natural knack for design. Everything fell into place after that.
How has the industry changed since you entered the field?
The industry is ever-changing. The programs are always getting more comprehensive and younger people are exposed to the industry at an earlier age so competition becomes fiercer. Right now, animation seems to be more popular among designers. The medium of animation has become a lot more accessible thanks to robust programs like After Effects, and streams of plugins created by third parties.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a great design?
I’m a big believer in less is more. I think balancing the right amount of visual elements that are engaging and accessible for the viewer is most important. If your viewers are engaged and the content is accessible, you have a good design.
How do you integrate this into your work with Killer?
The Marguerite Casey Foundation had a lot of data, as well as a lot of additional supporting information. The challenge was leveraging the additional information to support all the data visualization and keep it interesting. I made sure to add just enough visuals for the data to still be compelling, but keep the viewer engaged through the supporting information. We wanted to illustrate their data-driven story, while retaining visual contents.
How was designing this document different from designing a traditional infographic?
Annual reports are more of a long form infographic. The key is to break it up in a way where the information is easily digestible but not tedious to get through.
What do you want to express in general with your work?
I want people to appreciate the less is more quality of design, and understand why it works so well. I think simplicity is beautiful, and I want my work to reflect that.
What is the greatest challenge in the business? And the greatest reward?
Sometimes it can be hard to educate people on design, as not everyone is a designer. They have an idea of what they want, but they have difficulty expressing it. Not only is that the greatest challenge, but it’s also the greatest reward when you can find that common ground with the client and deliver something they truly love.
Learn more about how to think like an infographic designer here!