More and more I am trying to self-analyse the process I go through when designing tricky charts for my clients, all with the hope of one day putting all that skill in my presentation design app SlideMagic.

Here is a process I went through yesterday:

  1. Write all the key things that need to come out on a piece of paper (the most important objective of this exercise: the things that are NOT written down).
  2. Cut down the messages to the bare essential:
    1. Re-write them as short as possible, no filler words
    2. Group similar points, eliminate duplications
  3. Underline verbs/action words: "is at the centre", "nobody can do these 3 things at the same time", "integration is possible because of IT", "across all channels"
  4. Map cause and effect/result
  5. Select the most important action (something being at the centre, the IT that integrates everything, a Venn of 3 overlapping things?) and sketch a basic visual concept ignoring any conventional way to depict things in the specific industry
  6. Now fit in the other bits
  7. Re-shuffle, re-position to make sure lines, arrows don't cross and related things are close together
  8. Add colour (selectively)
  9. Make sure everything lines up with a grid
  10. Fix typography, odd line breaks, orphan lines, etc.

I still have some work to do in SlideMagic...

Image from WikiPedia