Educating through design

Education is key. It is also power. Which is why the idiom “Knowledge is power” holds the reputation it does. But how do you educate to empower to insure convolution and complexity is simplified and easily understood? Quite simply – You use pictures. Pictures really do speak a thousand words and its based on a universal language and understanding called sight.

I love information and love trying to understand as much as I can about as much as I can, so when we get briefed on creating infographics and explainer videos, the cogs of creativity get going long before I even understand the product, service or process we are about to explain because it excites us. Animation or design for the purpose of jaw dropping and startling beauty is one thing, but when you add a message or purpose, the design or animation has meaning and a sense of relevance.

Great design communicates far more effectively than words could ever achieve. Words TELL you how things work, design SHOWS you. With that being said, showing often brings along with it retention. Not only do you now understand what was previously incomprehensible, you can also share what has been learnt. And when you share, you educate.

Design also condenses overwhelming amounts of content into bite size chunks. Its easier to remember and retain smaller bodies of information than it is to store pages upon pages of black and white text. Take your boring 4 hour one sided presentation, turn it into a 60 second animation that says all it needs to and use the remaining 3 hours and 59 mins to now engage and communicate with your audience. Turn your presentation into a conversation and you will soon see how the room leans forward to participate.

Design entertains, and when you entertain, you grab something that is unfathomably intangible – the attention of our targeted audience. Why do we watch TV? Why do we read? Why do we attend shows and concerts? To be entertained. We pay millions of rands to have the best tv, to go to movies, to have faster internet, to attend sold out concerts and shows because we want to be entertained and given the opportunity to escape our everyday lives for a moment. If you can educate and entertain while holding the attention of your audience, you have the winning formula and it’s worth its weight in gold.

What if the design is shit, can it still educate? Quite simply – YES. What it may lose, is all the above mentioned positivity, because in all honesty, no one wants to look at something that is going to make their retina’s burn with pain and disgust.

So, let’s give design the credit it deserves. Let’s acknowledge its place in the world of education. Let’s harness its power and use it to open the minds eye. Let’s turn the windows of the soul into the doors of opportunity.