If you’re an art director at a media outlet, odds are you have to assign and commission each data visualization you publish. That gets time-consuming, even when the graphic in question is nothing but a small pie chart running alongside a feature story.
Visage, a newly launched platform, provides custom templates for graphics. There are myriad tools on the market that do this (for a gander at 30 of them, check out this list), but Visage is the latest, and it's gaining traction with designers at Mashable, MSNBC, and A&E.
That's due in part to Visage’s offerings, which are designed to be more flexible, and more personalized, than other services. "These art directors are saying, ‘This is a way for us to be able to sleep at night, knowing the brand can be represented, but we won’t be working on a large volume of stuff,’ " says Visage co-founder Jake Burkett.
Burkett is one of Visage's four co-founders; the others co-founded Column Five, a five-year-old information design agency that was early to the space. They created content and infographics (novel at the time) for Mint.com's blog, gained momentum, and then hired Burkett to create their software division (Burkett is the CSO). They grew quickly, and saw the demand in the market for beautifully designed on-brand content.
That on-brand bit is where Visage shines. "There’s a spectrum of how people define ‘on brand,’" Burkett tells Co.Design. "What’s sufficient for most people are fonts and color palettes." Visage's tool has what Burkett calls "canned logos and color palettes," but they’ll also produce templates in customized color selections—free of charge. "Give us your brand guidelines; it just takes us a little time," Burkett says.
For taller orders, the Visage team will build a more sophisticated set of tools to channel a company’s visual language. They’ll be available only for the company in question, and even be made as open-source templates, so designers on staff can tweak them on the go. "Everything is designed to be dynamic," Burkett says. "We are of the position that you can never replace a designer."
*This article was updated to correct Visage's role in creating content for Mint.com, and to include a link to Visage's site.