No reason, no rhyme


One in seven lacks access to clean water.

Earth Month 2010 is a worthy cause and I feel guilty that I am distracted by the visualization. But I am, and I keep counting, six, seven blue icons, how many is one in seven, shouldn’t there be one black icon for every six blue icons, I am confused, maybe it is just me, everyone else gets this, I am sure, argh, stupid me, stupid t-shirt.

You don’t want this to happen in your audience. One in seven does not get your numbers. We are ten finger animals. Anything beyond 10 needs time to sink in. Much more time than you think it does.

  • So make your numbers easy to see, not just easy on the eye.
  • Make them mean something.
  • Eliminate built-in distractors.
  • And talk us through. All of us.

Make sure your cause does not get lost in the translation of foggy visuals. And if in doubt forsake the pretty layout for a clear one. Especially when you are talking about people. People should be more than icons on a t-shirt.

If you are more interested in causes than looks: The campaign was run by Aveda and so it made me think after all. Hair salons must use an obscene amount of water. The campaign logo on the Aveda site is very clear, by the way.

One in seven lacks access to clean water.