BLOG: Simple Infographic Poster on Personal Resource Consumption

PROCESS INSTRUCTIONS (time required: 3-4 hours over two days):
You are a volunteer at the Narragansett Bay Exploration Center. You are tasked with designing a personal consumption awareness poster as part of Environmental Conservation Month. They’ve asked you to draft a poster to be featured throughout the aquarium. 

Rhetorical Situation:

  • Purpose: Learn to make observations for exploring data visualizations
  • Audience:   General public who may not be aware of their personal consumption.
  • Context: . A simple infographic  (small poster  11″x17″)  to be displayed at a distance of 5 feet away. 

Day 1: Conduct research to find out your water or energy usage over a day.

  • Track: Observe your water or energy consumption over a day. Take note of any daily usage habits over one day. Create a list documenting how often these resources are used.  Transfer your data to Google Sheets or Excel.
  • Research: Use estimations and calculations to determine your daily usage.  For example, investigate common appliances at home or at school.  Note how long you use water  or energy for various tasks.  Make estimates for common items or look them up online. There are many online references on how to calculate water or energy consumption.   
  • Explore your data in a Google or Excel spreadsheet. Experiment with using different chart styles to display the information using Google Spreadsheet.  You will need to add extra rows or columns to your table to track your calculations. Create at least one bar chart, pie chart, and line chart.  Think creatively about what the data means: Do you have any insights or theories about your usage of these resources? How much does this consumption cost? Is there any way to reduce this consumption? What are the most greedy or frugal activities/devices?  How does this compare to people from other walks of life? 
  • Create and compare at least TWO different graphs/charts of the same data with multiple variables that tell that story. Save them as images (.jpg or .png). Q. Which format does the best job of conveying helpful information?

Day 2: Transform the table of data into graphs, charts, and then an infographic

  • Decide what story you want to tell with your charts. Q, What type of imagery would be useful to include?  Write down a call to action for your infographic.  Q. What data do you use to support your message?
  • Keeping Tufte’s principles of good design in mind, select at least two of your charts and select imagery to create a single-page infographic. Sketch at least three thumbnail sketches showing how the elements may be laid out. You may have to customize your charts or use online infographic creators (e.g. infogram, vengage), which have more aesthetic offerings. Q.  Describe how the visual narrative captures the cognitive thread.
  • Paste your images and charts into a single infographic (using Google Slides or Photoshop)  Add annotations, including your call-to-action message. Export this slide as a high-resolution image.
  • Write a 500+ word blog post reflecting on your design process. Please answer the questions above, in addition to the usual questions: What problems did you encounter? What was your AHA moment? What would you do if you had more time? 
  • Only describe the tools you used if they were not Google Sheets, Google Slides, Excel or Photoshop. 
  • Include the following high-resolution, properly rotated images:
    • An image of your table showing raw data
    • One pie chart, line chart, pie chart from initial data exploration
    • Comparison of two different graphs/charts using the same data
    • 3 (or more) thumbnail arrangement sketches
    • Final infographic 11″x17″ poster design containing charts and call-to-action
    • Citations to any images, calculators, and references you used.
  • Print and paste the final poster of your work in your sketchbook. Mark it up with things you’d like to change.
  • Fill out this checklist after you have completed your assignment and posted it in your Portfolio Blog:

Conservation Infographics Poster

TOKEN: Shepard Fairey AS220 Pop-up Gallery from now until Nov. 16 in Providence

For the next week, AS220 in Providence is hosting a pop-up gallery exhibition by Shepard Fairey. It’s a free event showcasing Fairey’s work, with his 100th mural displayed outside the venue. You can earn a Token by attending the exhibit and blogging about it (see below). You can earn an additional Token by creating a Shepard Fairey inspired work of your own and adding it to your blog post.

Time estimate: First Token: 1 hour 15 minutes (1 hour visit + 15 minute post) not including travel time to Providence. Second Token: 1 hour 15 minutes.

"Facing the Giant" Shepard Fairey Pop-up at AS220

  • Token 1. Attend the event – document it and write about it.

    • Take a selfie at the event (showing your swag).
    • Add a photo of the large mural outside to document your presence.
    • Add at least one photo of notes, doodles, or drawings you made at the event.
    Post these 3 or more photos and a 300+ word essay answering the following questions:
    1. What did you learn?
    2. What was your AHA moment?
    3. Did you talk to anyone there, and if so, what was your reaction?
    You can be awarded ONE (1) TOKEN for attending this event. Spelling, grammar and word count are required. There is a limit of 10 submissions (possible 10 tokens.) for Event Attendance Tokens.
  • Token 2. Homage to Shepard Fairey

    For reference, watch the following short films:

    Write down some quotes that you find relevant.
    When you go to the exhibit, take note in the visual motifs he uses, such as color and symbols he frequently uses. Note his composition style, how many objects does he usually portray in a frame? How are they positioned?
    Then, select a topic for your poster/ flyer/ sticker design.  It could be about any interest – music, sports, fashion, etc. You can be inspired by a poem, (school appropriate) song, book, short story, etc. This poster could also be an advertisement for a piece or event, show, or exhibition you are working on outside of class.

    Create a list of visual elements such as colors, arrangements, and symbols that are usually associated with this topic and how they are usually depicted, clean lines, ornate details, etc. These will serve as criteria for the your artwork.

    • Grab some magazines and cut out some images relating to your idea.  Arrange your visual elements and photograph them separately.
    • Using the list of visual cues as a guide, create a collage that relates your point of view with your topic. Keep in mind the collage is to be quickly reproduced and distributed.
    • Go to photoshop and rearrange and resize the different elements to create your composition. OR, create your own stencils and use spray paint to layer the elements. Spray paint or paint over your stencils to create your own Shepard Fairey style work.
    • Watch the colors you are using! Use the color blends that Shepard Fairey implements in his artwork. Example: Red, beige, Sky Blue, and Navy Blue – like the OBAMA “Hope”. poster.

    • Add to your above blogpost another 100+ word paragraph describing your process, and the design of your collage. Post your collage to your blog AND also post to a social media site (e.g. reddit, Pinterest, facebook) Add the link to your social media post.

  • You may earn two tokens for this event. The first token involves attending the event. The second involves being inspired enough to research Fairey's artwork and try to make your own version.

TOKEN: 50+ page flip book

Create a 50+ page flipbook using what you know about narrative transitions, framing.

Come up with a story that can be performed in 50+ pages. Any paper can be used, but make sure the page dimensions are no smaller than a 3×3″ post-it.

Check out some video tutorials or on articles on how to make a Flipbook

Create a 300+word blog post along with a video of your flipbook in action. Also post photos of the work in progress. Write about the idea, your AHA moment in creating the story. Discuss the framing shots used, along with any narrative transitions. What is the story and how do people respond to it?

Submit the form below.


  • Section 1 is 3:30-4:50 pm Section 2 is 5-6:20 pm

BLOG: Explanation Graphic

PROCESS STEPS (time required: 1 to 2 hours over a one week period):  
You are a graphic designer for an educational website aimed at middle schoolers. You are given the task of designing a physical poster to be included in promotional material for the company. This poster is designed to be hung in classrooms.

Rhetorical situation:

  • Purpose:  Explain an educational concept using an explanation graphic that reduces cognitive load about an interesting topic.
  • Audience: Children between the ages of 10-14.
  • Context: A poster no larger than 11″ x 17″ finished size

Criteria: Create an Explanation Graphic that educates and reduces cognitive load about a physical or civic system.

  1. Research a topic and identify the essential elements. Sample School House Rock,  Image Searches, Imagine Magazine, daVinci style drawings,  Wikipedia  and other sources  for inspiration..
  2. Select a complex physical or civic system you want to learn more about.
    • Example physical systems:  camera, sewing machine, car engine, escalators, water pump, computer, etc.
    • Example civic processes:  passing a bill, writing to a congressman,  running for office, voting, applying for a visa, becoming a citizen.
  3. Determine what is most interesting to you about the item or process. Plan to show how the systems is made up from parts  but investigate any interesting parts in greater detail.
  4. Sketch a flow chart describing your research of the system. Ask yourself:
    • In a physical system, how does the item operate. What are the essential parts to focus on?
    • In a civic system, document the order of operations. What steps are confusing or most troublesome for people?
    • Select the 7-13 most important elements and insights to draw the audience’s attention. Use these elements to determine which parts should receive the most detail in your drawing.
  5. Plan your document. Use appropriate isometric or front view(s) to demonstrate parts of the system clearly.  Annotate your system with lines, arrows, and  text using a 3-4 different thumbnail sketches. Experiment with different layouts to reduce cognitive load.
  6. Design your final poster.  Select from the thumbnail sketches and execute your design. Make sure all writing is legible and colors are pleasing to the eye. One may use computer generated graphics for this purpose. It is fine to print out and position accompanying labels and explanation text with tape on top of your drawing for maximum legibility. We will assume that corporate interns will integrate any attached elements to your specifications.
  7. Write a 500+ word blog post explain your design decisions. Describe how your diagram reduces cognitive load using Schriver’s model of text-image combinations.  The graphic should display only relevant parts of the system and demonstrate how parts of the  system functions together. There should be some detailed information about interesting elements.
    • Include high resolution,  correctly oriented images of:
      1. The annotated diagram explaining an educational topic.
      2. The flow chart created while researching the topic.
      3. A minimum of 3-4 thumbnail sketches to demonstrate  layout possibilities.
    • Cite your research appropriately.

Fill out this checklist after you have completed your assignment and posted it in your Portfolio Blog. Note: All parts of the checklist must be filled out in order to be successfully submitted. You should receive an email confirming the submission.

Graphic explanation

  • This is the web address when you click "Visit Site" in the upper left hand corner.