January 21, 2018

Telling Your Story With Visual Power

Here’s a heresy. People don’t like to read. They don’t read signs, they don’t read fliers and they don’t read all that web copy. As a writer, I love me some words. But I’ve learned that to communicate a message less is more.

So I wanted to share with you this trend,  Infographics: using visual power to tell your story. This website shows a number of great, nonprofit examples that I think will inspire and challenge you to think differently about how to communicate the value of your library.

Most places I look, I find that libraries are still talking too much — long treatises describing all the detail for programs, book titles and even library advocacy. In today’s society the copy has to be sharp, to the point and action oriented. And visual. That’s why these Infographics have so much power.

A good example from the library world, which I’ve written about before,  is the OCLC Report, “How Libraries Stack Up.” I challenged my team to take our standard one-sheet and add visual punch. Here’s the before and after:

BEFORE (now I say: “ugh!”)

 AFTER: (and I say “ahhh”)

 Do you have an example to share?

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

What is Design Thinking?
From space planning, redesigning services and staffing, to developing more user-centric approaches, design thinking can help you problem-solve through ingenuity and creativity, and better understand and serve your patrons. Our introductory online workshop, Demystifying Design Thinking is designed for library professionals who want to take a fresh approach to tackling their library’s challenges through human-centered design.


  1. What a great demonstration of how cutting words and using illustrations can increase impact.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!