Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Inspiring Hand Turkey

With Thanksgiving on its way, I started remembering art projects my teachers made us do each year to celebrate the upcoming holidays. One in particular stuck out to me. The ole' make-a- turkey-out-of-an-outline-of-your-hand art project the teacher trotted out each year to be displayed on refrigerators across the country to accompany the cranberry sauce and stuffing during Thanksgiving meal. It looks something like this:

It's so simple, yet what amazes me is that someone looked at their hand and thought, "Huh, that sort of looks like a turkey. If I color my fingers to match a turkey's feathers. And then add an eye and a beak where my thumb is. VoilĂ ! My hand now resembles a turkey."

Who came up with the idea of a "hand turkey"? They need a special prize. A special recognition. Because the more I consider it, the more interesting the idea becomes.

And the more I wish we could all come up with our own "hand turkeys."

Well, I don't want the graphics world populated with "hand turkeys," but this art project illustrates a point I challenge my students to do.

Think visually.

When creating graphics for your company, your audience, your students, think about various ways your service, product, or idea can be presented in a compelling, unique, and memorable way that represent your topic. Consider these suggestions:
  • If you are creating a piechart for an article about Thanksgiving, how about making the piechart out of a pie—a pumpkin pie?
  • Your company sells lumber and you need a barchart for a quarterly report. Maybe you can make the bars out of lumber?
  • You want customers to know that banking with you will insure their cash grows and give their financial goals a step up. A stair graphic made from incremental piles of cash would be a memorable visual.
  • A silhouette of your product can be used as a segmented graphic to show percentages of growth and sales. In fact, Coke uses this technique with their campaigns, since their bottles have become icons synonymous with their product.
Write lists of items related to your business that could be used as your graphic. Then sketch ideas related to the items on the list. (Make sure they are relevant to your topic.) Don't be afraid to let your imagination go, like you did as a child. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a child invented the "hand turkey."

I challenge you to invent your own "hand turkey" this season.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Beth Wingate said...

Great insights, Mike! Every industry can apply your suggestions to create more "meaningful" graphics for their audiences.

Mike said...

Thanks, Beth! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.