Corporate Communications

I went back to college full-time in 2009. By 2012 I was wrapping up my degree and looking for corporate work once again. A 7 month contract presented itself, during my last 6 months of classes, which married my years of IT communications with my newly acquired graphic design skills.

Initial planning

(I love organizing projects!) My portion of the project was to build the communication plan for the IT team running the program, as well as the process flow and work breakdown structure. It was fun to apply a simple branding to what can often be “blah” business documents.





Note: While I guided the discussions for our team name (Desktop Refresh), the in-house marketing group created the logo.

I took the logo we were given (a simple logo with blue and gold colors) and built out the brand for the team. They were skeptical about the creative brief and brand guide, finding them quite foreign at first, but once they grasped the idea, they appreciated how it simplified communication and visual decisions.


The business was preparing to do a company-wide revamp of their computer systems. That included rolling out around 10,000 new computers across the company. As the project’s Communication Director, I was tasked with creating email blasts as well as their corporate newsletter for the project. This was a Microsoft project, so I leaned on some of Microsoft’s graphics and added some of my own illustrations.

Note: Marketing had a tight hold on anything going outside of the team, so I believe they nixed the illustrations before this was actually published. It was a bit odd working with a Marketing group that was not familiar with trained graphic designers and their processes. I was told their designers were raised up in-house from the sales team. This was a real-world eye-opener.



I also created the language, including an easy-to-understand phased rollout approach, around our process and built a poster sized infographic that made it easy for the team to explain the process to the hundreds of managers this project would be impacting.


Organizing is always an exciting challenge, but this was also the first time I was able to bring my graphic design training into the corporate mix. The project was a perfect way to wrap up my degree and give me real world experience in using design within a corporate setting.

Can I say that it was a thrill to see it all come together?


The Mother of Modern Infographics

We all learned about Florence Nightingale in grade school – how she was a wonderful nurse, saved lives, was a woman to look up to, and all that. I have to admit, I found it boring in my pre-teen outlook on the world, but that may have been the fault of the presentation style at the time, because she is one very interesting woman.


However, what I want to know is why we were never told she was also the mother of the modern infographic? She created a chart (in 1858) that probably saved even more lives than her nursing, because it convinced Queen Victoria to improve conditions within military hospitals. Wow! The power of data visualization!


Ok, so in my case, we were probably not told this because the terms “data visualization” and “infographic” had not yet entered into mainstream use when I was in school and statistics are pretty boring to kids. That point aside, with over 20 years of technical writing under my belt, data visualization has been one of my biggest challenges. How to do it right, how to convey the correct message, how to present the visuals.

I became suspicious of all graphs after my marketing manager showed me how he *really* wanted the graph to look… thus making our numbers far more visually appealing to the folks paying our salaries. Hmmm. Yeah.

I can finally relate to Florence Nightingale, after all these years, and I am very impressed! I celebrate the mother of the infographic. She has impacted my world directly.

Further reading:

Flowing Data: 9 Ways to Visualize Porportions

Wikipedia: Florence Nightingale

National Archives (UK): Florence Nightingale