In my job I conduct a large amount of research, and but also create plenty of presentations. To help design good research, we have access to hundreds of published research on research papers. Yet when it comes to designing presentations or using any form of visuals, we have to rely largely on gut instinct and experience to evaluate what works best. There are plenty of well-established working practices and graphic design experts who are exceptionally good at what they do, but very little research to help us to understand the impact of different graphic design techniques, certainly in the market research arena.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that that graphic designers and market researchers don’t encounter each other very often.
A joint quest: researcher and graphic designer
Last year part of the Guardian’s digital graphics unit responsible for creating some of the most famous infographics circulated online, formed their own company, the Graphic Digital Agency and happened to move into the same offices as our research team in Westminster and we got talking about infographic design and the lack of research to understand how it works. I was curious to know what they knew about the science of design and I found out they were as curious as me. So we though, using our experience in conducting research on research and their skills in graphic design to produce the source material this represented a very good opportunity for us to work together to do some experimentation. We sent out on a joint quest to try and learn more about how visuals really work.