Humanizing communications is a central goal of Humantel. The insights & research industry is deeply concerned with circulating useful information to an audience in need of clarity. Design provides not only organizational, objective clarity of communications through easy-to-read visuals, but also subjective context by leveraging symbols and references experienced throughout a person’s life to signal the emotional intent behind the message itself.
Our company aims to provide a more ‘human’ approach to data-backed research, and we do that by discovering the narrative thread that ties our insights together. We use design to communicate this narrative in more than just plain words and graphs, but a total visual experience. My role as a designer for Humantel is to develop a unique and consistent interaction between our audience and the content we create. In that way my role is to service both the story being told within the data and the consumers’ consumption of that story. Tooling with typography, color, scale, photography, and other creative elements allows designers like myself to add meaningful visual context to the reading experience geared toward a more emotional, resonant form of storytelling.
Design is integral to the future of the research / insights industry. As more data is gathered, analyzed, and distributed second by second, the end-user of this data is ever closer to their own personal capacity for information – they are ever closer to a state of overwhelm. As future generations enter the world of research and big data, these generations grow more accustomed to bite-sized feeds of visual information (e.g. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) and are looking for familiar ways to experience data both on-the-go and on-the-fly. If the current situation at the time of this writing tells us anything about the work-life of the future, workers are evolving to be more autonomous in their productivity scheduling and are craving flexibility in their media consumption. Innovations in the research industry are going to need to take notes from media companies and content creators as the world audience demands information to scale to their needs.
Users trust research companies to separate the wheat from the chaff and deliver highly customized, relevant insights. But delivering content is only one half of the challenge. As sources become more plentiful, successful companies will outpace the competition when they focus on making their work memorable.
It’s no surprise that companies are only getting better at discovering the secrets held in the numbers. The real revolution to the industry is going to come from innovations concerning not just insight generation, but retention. Design is the secret to making insights ‘sticky’. Too often we see data communicated through cold numbers and spreadsheets, but there’s nothing sticky about a spreadsheet. Personality is the hook our brain can hold on to when retaining and recalling information.
The personality of textual, written, or visual information is born almost entirely from their design. By layering in the emotion behind the data, taking advantage of its intrinsic visual format, we create content that sticks in people’s minds, that communicates in their own tone of voice, and that relates the too-often abstract, impersonal truths of data insights with their real-world sources: real people, real thoughts, and real feelings.
Jake Cooper is the Creative Director for Humantel. He has spent his career working with Fortune 100 companies and solo creative entrepreneurs in an effort to create more meaningful, accessible interaction between people and brands. Jake’s creative work serves as his expression that design and technology together empower individuals and society at large to build a more meaningful, human-first future.