3.24.2010

Snoopy's Daily Dozen


This past weekend, I was browsing in one of my favorite neighborhood vintage shops (I rarely buy anything, just enjoy looking at all of the mid-century finds) The Other Shop, and I came across this spiral bound oversize book called "Snoopy's Daily Dozen: 12 Physical Fitness Exercises". Drawn by Charles Schulz and printed by Hallmark in the 1960s, the book features 12 pages of Peanuts characters engaging in various exercises such as the "Inch Worm Walk" and "Halloween Hop". And of course Snoopy is there to interject with his little quips throughout.

I had been wanting to give my personal trainer some sort of "thank you" for being generally awesome and working with me to reach my personal fitness goals, so I quickly snatched this up!

A little more research on Google led me to find that this was produced in the early 60s when John F. Kennedy led a Call to Physical Fitness. He "pushed to strengthen the President's Council on Physical Fitness" and "started running advertisements encouraging people to exercise. Influential figures signed up to back the initiative, including Charles Schulz". (via http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21938059/). The JFK museum in Boston recently exhibited the "Daily Dozen" in their exhibit "Shaping Up America: JFK, Sports and The Call to Physical Fitness".

Another item from the exhibit (borrowed from the JFK Museum website)


We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.

John F. Kennedy

3.04.2010

What I do

For my parents, friends, family that still don't know "what I do" as a Graphic Designer, it is many things, but broadly, I design "stuff" to clearly communicate a message. That "stuff" is delivered to me in many forms—a creative brief that simply describes a lofty concept for a logo; a badly formatted, multi-page Word document; scribbles of lines with which to "make an ad"—and the list goes on.

Many times, I have to re-create graphics or charts to accompany a document. This is done for many reasons. First, I want to ensure that the graphic maintains the same "look + feel" as the rest of a document which means using the same fonts, colors, etc. Second, there are many times when the graphic provided does not do a good job of visually communicating the message. In that case, it's my job to re-interpret the data and create a new visual representation to better illustrate the content. Lastly, I want to reader to WANT to read the graphic! So there are times when I can infuse the data with an element of fun (also goes hand in hand with my second point).

Two graphs or charts that I re-designed today serve to illustrate these points.

BEFORE: Completely unreadable if you're interested in the actual data. The 3-dimensionality has made it almost impossible to tell where the points for each age hit on the numbers. Because of this, it also fails to do a good job of visually comparing the volume of the difference between the salaries for "high school diploma" vs. "college degree"


AFTER: Nixing the 3-dimensionality really cleaned things up. And rather than using two solid, over-lapping shapes, I used a heavy line and a solid color. This really serves to provide a strong contrast between the two sets of data and allows a quick and easy visualization of the difference between salaries over time.



BEFORE: Readable but boring.

AFTER: Fun and visually telling. Uses graduation cap icons with dollar signs to visually convey the amount represented by each degree.