A difficult design assignment

Every once in a while I get a request for a graphic in which I scratch my head and say, “How in the world is that ever going to work?”

This was one of them. For our upcoming series, “Anchored,” based on the book of Hebrews, I was asked to show the concept of “anchored” and use an anchor and body parts to represent the different concepts from Hebrews. For example, using the eye to see and obey God’s word, heart to focus on Jesus, etc. Each week, one of the body part elements would be in introduced, so that at the end all of them would show on the slide. The anchor refers to our being anchored in our faith in Christ.

My response was, “I’m sorry, but a nautical object and body parts just do not make a good graphic, no matter which way you cut it!”

But I am always up for a challenge. And that was what I found up against today!

After a number of design explorations, I decided to go with a figure of a person, calling out the different body parts. I also decided to go with a different look, something I haven’t done before. (I call this look the iPod look, as Apple made it popular with its advertising campaign, and now this look is everywhere.)

There was no anchor in the picture, but a symbolic anchor with how the lines are tied together in the graphic. I was pretty happy with the result except that annoying “knee” icon. There just is no aesthetically pleasing way to draw a knee!

But the feedback I got on the slide was “a medical slide showing a naked man at sunrise with body parts.”

Definitely not the message I wanted to communicate.

My friend and I explored further brainstorming ideas on what it meant to have an “anchor”. (Trees blowing in a storm, ship tossed in a storm, tents being staked down, hot air balloon tied down, etc.) Then inspiration hit when I found a great photo on iStockphoto.com and converted it to a painted look. Through further collaboration and brainstorming, the end result was much better.

No obvious image of an anchor, but the concept is definitely there!

Then I created a background slide for the text of the Powerpoint slides. Each week the upper right icon will change depending on what the theme is.

All artwork ©2008 Angela Yee. All rights reserved.
A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

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