Have you ever taken a low-level job with a major corporation? Maybe you were a sales associate or a burger flipper? If so, you likely sat through at least a day of employee orientation, filled with management lectures, videos from corporate and, worst of all, those posters filled with acronyms. W.A.S.T.E.O.F.T.I.M.E.
If you have any interest in inspiring the corporate troops, take a lesson from these amazing illustrations by Jack Hudson and INT Works for London’s Channel 4. They explain how the media property functions, not by using unwieldy charts or boring orientation materials, but by providing a total visual extravaganza. It’s smart design and smart internal communication: A piece of visual branding that over time will leave employees with a greater appreciation for how the company actually works in all its various departments.
Take the first graphic, that draws Channel 4’s online team like a city filled with transportation vehicles. It’s complete sensory overload. Rather than under-stimulating its audience, the poster overstimulates. It challenges our cognitive capacity.
“I think my aim was to create an entire world in which the audience could get lost inside,” Hudson writes Co.Design. “Initially I want the work to give people a positive feeling, and then secondly I’d like them to investigate further into the little hidden joys within the illustrations. However, the main thing is for the workers at the Channel 4 HQ to understand and learn exactly how the company works, but also to sustain their attention.”
So he created this intricate design in which every department is a different vehicle. Product Management is a cargo ship, reliably carrying goods as they’re associated with customer loyalty. Meanwhile, Multi-Platform Commissioning is a jetskier flying through a flaming hoop, as that department creates glitzy, groundbreaking interaction experiences.
And the surrounding city itself is a sort of mise en scène, reflecting the departments inside. “The bottom right harbour is a forward thinking, researching team that also commission talent so I decided to make the buildings and boats very futuristic and modern in that area,” Hudson tells us. “Whereas the Multi-Platform Commissioning department search for new talent so we decided to represent that section with a lighthouse.”
In Hudson’s second illustration, this one for online Product Management, he works off a more familiar corporate metaphor: Everyone is a cog in a greater machine. This simple idea could be conveyed in a lazy acronym way, but instead, Hudson again painstakingly mapped interrelated department synergy throughout the image.
“I’m not going to lie, it was difficult to begin with as there was so much information that had to be included on these posters,” Hudson tells us. “INT Works came to me with all of the technical diagrams and data and then it was my job to structure this functional world that represented the information in a clear but innovative way.”
His resulting pair of illustrations are so good that they’re not just notable to new employees. They’re striking enough to hang on a wall without context. Hudson’s prints start at £30 and are generally available upon request.
[Hat tip: Creative Review]