visualise your message

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Women & Memory Forum image

Plan your action

  • The animated folktales from Cairo (above) used symbols or characters, as a way to take a volatile issue and turn it into something easier for a reluctant audience to approach.
  • The visuals and materials you create can be quite practical. For example, the maps from Lebanon had multiple uses: as a historical record, for crisis reporting, and to plan relief and aid work.
  • Interactive visuals can use photos, illustrations, videos, and other submissions contributed by many different people. With the Tunisian Google Earth and YouTube mashup, new videos were added automatically as people posted them online and geo-tagged them.
  • To reach people without fast internet connections, complex visualisations can also be shared offline: as videos for download or on VCD/DVDs, as large-scale posters, printed flyers or public space projections, or on USB memory sticks.
  • Effective visualisations should not just make something visually appealing or entertaining. What’s more important is that they shape understanding and clarify meaning.

Do it yourselfAsk

  • What’s most important for your visual campaign: to communicate across languages, to present dense information in simple graphics, and/or to surprise and engage people with creative, appealing visuals?
  • Is your campaign focusing on a single concept or slogan? How might you design it so that it is understood quickly by the people you most need to reach?
  • How can you involve people in adding to your campaign – by contributing photos and videos, by collaborating over distance or in person, or by sharing your videos, maps, or animations with others?
  • What action will you ask people to support or take based on your campaign? Is sharing your media the action? Who are you asking them to share your media with – key people in government, local or community organisations, the media?
  • How will you publicise your campaign’s visual media for those who do not have internet or computer access?

Different ways you can do this

  1. Make your own version of a tourist or city map that not only includes key landmarks but also information about your own specific campaign issue. Hand it out to visitors to the city, students or others who can be mobilised to take action.
  2. If you don’t know how to make an animated video, you can make a video from a series of still photos, adding music, subtitles and voice-over to unite the images around one story.
  3. Design graphic stickers that can be used to re-label products with information that corporations don’t readily make available: for example, criminal investigations into the company, or ways the manufacturer supports armed conflict.
  4. Give people cheap video cameras to record personal stories and use the videos to build an interactive map showing how different people in different regions are impacted by the same issue.
  5. You don’t have to be an expert with graphics to create visualisations. A tag cloud – a cluster of words that represents a larger body of text – can be a simple way to visually explain your issue by highlighting key words from an important document or website.