Design Applications II • Spring 2019

1 month • January–February 2019

Project Type

Illustrator, InDesign
01 Problem • noun • a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution.
The objective of this project was to create an infographic that was focused on bringing awareness to a specific social issue. The social issue I decided to pick was deaths related to school buses. Although school buses are deemed one of the safest vehicles on the road, I wanted to analyze the data and determine truly how safe they are.
The purpose of this project was to pick a social issue that I felt was important to convey in an infographic. The purpose of this would be to shed light on a topic that may or may not have existing infographics designed around it. An emphasis was put on collecting background research. This research would help guide design decisions throughout the project.
The goal of this project was to have a comprehensive infographic based on background research. Graphic elements throughout the design would be dictated by the data gathered in the research phase of the project.

Final design of Death by Education infographic.

02 Research • verb • investigate systematically.
Stop, Look and Listen
When determining a social issue to cover, I wanted something I could passionately get behind and had personal experience with. I felt like by doing this, I would be able to push my project an extra step further because it is something I feel passionately for.
At this point in my life, both of my parents were school bus drivers. After countless after-work conversations with them discussing issues they ran into throughout their workday, I knew what I wanted to cover. This was a topic that unknowingly was a slow build-up. This is because my father who had been driving for 5+ years at this point would always bring up instances where he had to report drivers for breaking the law. This could be speeding, distracted driving, or illegal passings.
Illegal passings and distracted driving were the main two I wanted to focus my infographic on. This is because distracted driving has been an increasing issue with the technology boom of the early 2000s. These distracted drivers lead to other issues when it came to school bus safety and I felt that would make for a cautionary yet informative infographic.

Spreadsheet with all illegal passing violations.

03 Brainstorm • verb • produce an idea or way of solving a problem by holding a spontaneous group discussion.
Become Inspired!
An early part of the design process for this particular project focused on collecting existing infographics for inspiration. These existing designs would then be analyzed so I could pick out what elements worked well in the design and where it may have fallen short. This was an important step because not only did I not have experience in infographic design, but an emphasis was put on ensuring that it was factual, well researched, and delivered effectively.
Knowing your Audience
When it came to finally develop a visual style, I had to choose between two potential directions. The first was the path most traveled. This was the cartoon-esque style where it directly applied to the younger audience who was the typical target audience. Since they are young and new to riding the school bus, school districts and parents need to teach good bus safety practices. This is often done in this style because it aligns well with the interests of the students.
Another option I was balancing was a bit more unique. I wanted to take a direction that pushed a shock value. This would be something blunt and simple. What I had in mind was something close to anti-smoking or vaping campaigns. Health classes often showed this shockingly real imagery when teaching kids not to smoke/vape. I figured this brutally honest approach could be applied to this topic very well. What I had in mind with this approach is that it is more focused on the parents who would be shocked at the imagery/statistics as opposed to the kids being drawn in my cartoons.
In the end, I attempted to mix the two with a rough brush texture, bold typography, and statistics as well as vector artwork for the bus.

Design inspiration collected during the sketching/concepting stage.

04 Create • verb • to produce through imaginative skill.
Before I began to dive into creating this infographic, I first needed to ensure everything was finely tuned. The background research, visual inspiration, color scheme, and even typography were thought out well beforehand. This was intentional because I knew what information I needed to convey and how I wanted to display it. Now came the time to just go out and make it.
I knew I wanted this infographic to be school and bus-related, so the obvious choice for the colors was black and yellow. This played well in my favor because not only did it depict both of those topics well, but also an aspect of caution. Yellow has a very unique connotation. I often assign yellow to education, caution, bus, youth, and sun/happiness. All of this can be worked into this design.
Make it Unique!
With an infographic, a big challenge often faced by the design is how to make it unique and interesting. At the end of the day you are trying to inform your audience on a particular topic, often by providing facts or statistical evidence. This isn't often the most interesting mode of communication, so I had to look at ways of making it visually intriguing to interest the viewer.
With my infographic being focused on school bus safety, I felt that I should have incorporated elements of a bus into the design. This way you know what the topic is focused around and how it relates to you. If a parent sees a school bus, they can often associate that back to their school-aged children. One approach that I thought was very effective at doing this was rounding the top edges of the design. This gave off the illusion of a bus because I also included the stoplights at the top. Add in the strong yellow and black colors, bold sans serif type, and a school bus illustration you can get the hint that this will be about school buses.
Another subtle design choice I enjoyed exploring was the use of paint streaks that could resemble abstract tire tracks but also provide a sense of danger/caution.

Initial sketch (top); early rough draft (bottom)

05 Test • verb • take measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of (something), especially before putting it into widespread use or practice.
Hierarchy is King
The critiques provided on this project differed slightly from some of my others. They often focused on the order of information. The background research provided statistics, so the only text that needed to be written would be describing what the statistics and infographic were discussing.
Combining the provided statistics and written text with the color scheme and graphic elements, there weren't too many design changes that needed to be tweaked. It ended up coming down to the following questions:
• What would be the best order for the information?
• What statistics were more important to show than others?
• What title would invoke the correct feeling and accurately describe the infographic?

Final infographic distressed over bus stairs.

06 Improve • verb • make or become better.
Deciding on a Title
When it came to a title, there were several directions I was looking to go. My Professor had very valuable insight when it came to this decision. Since I wanted to go with some sort of shock value, it was important to emphasize the seriousness of this while also not overwhelming a potentially young audience. 
Death by Education was the route I ended up taking because it focused on the amount of deaths associated with this topic while also showing its impact on education. The title also works well because at first glance it makes people stop and reread to ensure they read it correctly. Typically death and education aren't used together and when they are, it's often to be an attention grabber.
07 Solution • noun • an answer to a problem.
This project was a very rewarding experience and taught me a great deal about an effective design process. This was the first instance of a research-heavy design project during my time at Sinclair. With such a large amount of time spent on collecting the statistics and doing background research, it shed a light on how design is practiced in a commercial sense.
Another perk was that I was able to develop a portfolio piece that tied in well with my parents profession.
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