A Case for Complex Visuals

Q. When is simple not the answer?


A. When complexity is the message.


It’s not always about a simple graphic. Often I’m asked “how do I present complicated data?” My answer is usually “it depends” (classic consultant’s answer).

You see…it’s not all about simple – if the message you want to get across is how complex and even overwhelming the information being presented actually is.

Take this example. The image here is a representation of the digital marketing landscape done by Buddy Media for the launch of the social marketing software agency’s new suit of measurement tools.

If your one message for this one slide is to show the current state of overwhelm in social media marketing…you don’t need to do anything more than show this slide! Not a word need be spoken.

One concept per slide.

That is what I mean by selecting the right image (picture, diagram, word) for the topic. The lesson here is to know your content, know your audience, and know your style. Then – select the visual that has the most impact. Even though this slide is complex, the message still comes across:

simply – briefly – clearly