Design is a different way of looking at something. Improving something. Sometimes just articulating something in a new and visually arresting way is enough to get people to stop… and pay attention. That’s exactly what LPK had in mind when we began exploring ways to use our window displays to spread awareness about the plight of hunger.
As we brainstormed ideas for telling the story of the millions afflicted by hunger in a visual way – we were faced with a pile of numbers and statistics. As designers and visual thinkers, we know people are more drawn to and more able to process dynamic imagery rather than a catalog of numbers. So to bring LPK’s new windows to life, we borrowed inspiration from the art of information design.
In a world where limitless data is just a web search away, information designers have become the synthesizers of important information worldwide. The infographics they create break down complex data into a visual language that helps make dense information easier to understand.
Throughout the course of history, humanity has constantly endeavored for a better way to convey information visually. The first infographics were primitive pictographs – cave drawings and hieroglyphs – predating the written word or the phonetic alphabet. They later encompassed the art of cartography as explorers criss-crossed the globe mapping uncharted territory. Early scientists and mathematicians developed charts and graphs to record their discoveries about the universe. Now, what we traditionally think of as infographics regularly illustrate news articles in publications around the world.
In many ways, the old adage – a picture is worth a thousand words – referring to the suggestion that a complex idea can be conveyed simply in a single image, is the perfect way to describe and define what a good infographic is and more importantly, what it does. Infographics were born out of utilitarian need and later became appreciated for their functional yet beautiful aesthetic. We decided to build on those who came before us, by harnessing those same info design aesthetics in our bid to highlight the hungry, crafting sculptural infographics with white plates as our unit of measure.
We implemented our windows with the hope that they would convey data in an elegant and understandable way. But we know that hunger is more than a math problem and those affected are more than a number. Our goal was not simply to visually represent millions of bits of data. We knew that the true goal of our windows was to prompt visceral comprehension, to educate and inspire reflection and, as an extension of art, to have the power to move people and compel them to act.