In our current Information Design and Communication course we are talking about infographics and how they convey information differently than pure print or pure graphics. They take the best of both worlds and hopefully reach a mixed audience of people that are visually oriented or linear sequential (left to right, top to bottom). I have been thinking lately about how infographics can become animated or even interactive. This is already starting to happen in terms of self-directed information graphics. I have also been thinking about how this will creep into advertising and how we can create more personalized advertising. I recently viewed a video at redsharknews.com that gave me a glimpse into the future: the marriage of art, copy, and code.
It used to be that art was very static and very tangible. Whether it be a fine painting or a sculpture, it is permanent and meant to be viewed by many people many times. Art is becoming more digital and more dynamic. With increasing screen resolution, images are more vibrant than those on a static canvas. Digital can also mean temporary, whether by design or by accident (forgot to back up). This new medium is increasingly being used in print and dynamic advertising and is very effective in communicating the message.
Someone still has to write copy for all of the advertising. In the age of social media, people are looking for concise information and advertising that breaks through the chatter and informs. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and in many cases, more jaded. It does and will take a very talented copywriter to craft the script for future advertising. The same advertisement may be seen on a television, a computer, a handheld device, or other devices. How do you craft a story for all of those potential viewers, or do they each get their own custom version?
Here is where it gets interesting. Because of the dynamic nature of art and copy and a new sophisticated audience, it takes a skilled software person to knit it all together and make it personable, relevant, and timely. As in the example I shared above, the ad needs to be about you, where you live, what interests you have, and what possible connection you might have to the advertised product. It’s about me, here, and now.
In the future, will the same person possess all of these skills or will it continue to be a team effort? Is it possible to have art skills, copy skills, and coding skills in one package? Are we training upcoming professionals in all of these areas or at least to be aware of the other professionals that they will be working with? It will take some skillful teamwork to pull this off but, with the right collaboration, it can be real magic.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT topics that keep him up at night.