Shaping Youth – it’s very visual

[A guest post by “Sky”]

Amy Jussel writes about media and marketing, and their influence on kids, particularly their influence on girls, in her blog Shaping Youth. She has beaucoup experience in media and promotion. And she is greatly concerned about how media shape young girls’ perceptions and aspirations.

A while ago, Amy wrote about Visual Insight and what Eileen helped her create for a presentation she was making, and without blowing the horn too much, I wanted to remark on some of Amy’s verbal insights into visuals and into how the Visual Insight process actually works.

It’s true that people who’ve come into contact with this work often think only in terms of chronicling meetings, or otherwise recording in face-time. And there is huge value in that work. But, everyone also forms a visual in their head when they’re talking or thinking or noodling an idea, and even though Eileen couldn’t go with Amy to her workshop session, they decided to work in advance by phone to go over Amy’s methodology, and it was easy for Eileen to sketch out on paper how the words, ideas, and concepts fit together.

Amy’s article is a good example of how you, or I, along with Eileen — together — can work through ideas, regardless of the communication medium we use, to come up with visuals that represent them accurately. Amy and Eileen went back and forth several times, following that initial phone consultation in which she did her ‘data dump,’ and Eileen helped her clarify and distill through a couple of rounds of conversation. This comes from that background Eileen has in journalism — and honestly, it’s just plain old good sense when it comes to writing — you get the facts down, you formulate any remaining questions you have about them, you draft and you refine.

Then Eileen uses her unique talent to draw it on paper. One of the unique things she did for Amy was, since this was a mural for use in a workshop presentation, to leave an empty space in the center for brainstorming – so Amy could fill in additional things as they came up, on the spot. For a creative like Amy this was a natural — she thinks quickly on her feet and evokes conversation spontaneously when she’s talking — so having this empty spot was a really creative idea.

The main take-away from Amy’s experience, I think, is that visuals are unique, and the Visual Insight process that Eileen has developed is very cool, but there’s lots of room for experimentation and expansion, as long as you follow the core processes of journalism (“writing” in general) that help you get to the core of the matter and clearly document and explain it. Visually.

Shaping Youth – it’s very visual

One thought on “Shaping Youth – it’s very visual

  • July 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Excellent analysis of the process and uses, Sky…Another way Eileen’s work with this ‘open space visualization’ for brainstorming in real time would be using ‘post-its’ in any given presentation to be able to recap the convo/reuse the mural in diff settings.

    Reason I say this is after attending the COLab event which Eileen MC’d, the visual capture in real time on the overhead made me think that a ‘fill in’ digital option could be cool for Eileen’s larger mural captures to give it more reuse for diff presos. (hey, I’m a nonprofit, I have to make this art LAST!)

    Finally, I *will* toot Eileen’s horn loudly, as she’s not only a brilliant organizational mind, she’s highly intuitive with her insights, helping shape the convo organically far beyond any artistic ‘scribe’ 🙂

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