Style and substance

Make it look pretty.

I get that marching order a lot. As a graphic designer, a key part of my job is to take a large amount of raw information, dress it up and send it out into the world.

After 15+ years in the graphic design field, I have a fairly good handle on how to do that, but it’s important to remember that’s but one piece of the product. Slick fonts, pretty pictures and a pleasing color scheme certainly elevate a product, but they’ll only get you so far. Content and visual appeal must work hand in hand. To think otherwise is a disservice to the product and all those who use it.

Throughout my career I’ve worked with some ridiculously talented people to create products that honor the design-content symmetry. At the Rocky Mountain News, I teamed with top-notch reporters, photographers and editors to produce one of the nation’s finest newspapers. At CU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, I worked with many of the world’s leading climate scientists to present complex scientific data in relatable terms.

Based on this track record, it should come as no surprise that I am thrilled to be working with the remarkable group of research analysts and health data experts at CHI. Bringing together talented people with unique skill sets is the best way to produce great results. Because of this, you can expect our group to present accurate, informative and relevant data with rich layers of visual appeal.

Speaking of rich layers of visual appeal, we’re not stopping at just our print products. It’s an exciting time to be at CHI, as we are on the front end of a push to increase our visual storytelling across all forms of multimedia. In the coming months we will be developing our photo, video and interactive graphic capabilities, and further down the road we will launch a fully reimagined website that capitalizes on all the technological tools at our disposal. It’s still all about the data, but it’s also going to look really good.

I’ve been with CHI for a month, and it is easy to see why the institute is held in such high regard. There is a an amazing energy surrounding CHI right now, and that is sure to fuel the fantastic projects we have in the works.

If you’re ever in the office please stop by and say hi. You can’t miss my office. Just look for the one shining Mac in the sea of PCs and you’ll know you’re in the right spot. I’d love to hear your ideas about how CHI can enhance its presentations and visual storytelling opportunities. This is by no means an original statement, but I’ll borrow it anyway: the best way to have one good idea is to have lots of ideas and weed out the ones that won’t work. I’m ready to get busy bringing those ideas to life. I promise to make it look pretty.

Brian Clark is the manager of creative services at CHI.