Envision infohackit 2018

Who: Envision Doctoral Training Partnership, Lancaster University
When: 26&27 April 2018
Where: Lancaster House Hotel

The Envision Doctoral training partnership is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council to provide PhD students with the opportunity to work with several different research institutions and business partners. We had students join us from Lancaster, Nottingham and Bangor across three research themes: environmental change; sustainable use of natural resources and environmental hazards and risk.

Day 1 – Tea and Squirrels

After a stimulating discussion on scicomm, the history of infographics and design principles our first challenge was to draw a red squirrel. There were quite a few different approaches, and some tricky fur, whiskers and especially tails to to draw.

BF Squirrel-01
Beth’s winning squirrel

Nuts about squirrels gallery


How to make a cup of tea

Following on from our how to make a piece of toast challenge in Norwich this time we asked our participants how to make a a cup of tea.
Our winning team created a simple effective comparative graphic, looking at how to make tea for different demographics. Jade, Amy and Charlotte used consistent iconography in a well-balanced composition along with creative use of type to represent the different tea drinkers.

how to make a cup of tea ACJ
A great tea(m) effort

Nice cup of tea gallery

Day 2 – the teams and the graphics

Wave of Change (winning team)

Researchers: Beth Francis, Jeneen Hadj-Hammou, Julia Rulent
Creative: Kladi Vergine (Print my Soul)

Wave of Change took a very well-managed approach where each team member created different figures and infographics to be added to a campaign website encouraging people to eat Lion Fish in the Caribbean. The population of this invasive species has grown rapidly in recent years, and our team wanted to help people understand the benefits to the local ecosystem of removing the fish.

The website was fully designed and populated in Squarespace (they only had 9 hours!) and features a campaign brand, the infographics, volunteer opportunities, campaign information and even a live webshop of merchandise using the brand the team created for the challenge.

Judges were impressed with the volume and quality of work, as well as an excellent and innovative collaborative team approach.


Ice, Ice, Baby

Researchers: Jade Bowling, Sule Muhammad Zubairu, Giles Exley
Creative: Matthew Brown (Design Attic)

Jade, Sule, Giles and Matthew created a graphic Prezi on the possibility of lakes existing under ice in Greenland. As with the winning team, Ice Ice Baby were able to integrate several graphics into a single presentation format.

We were all impressed about some of the 3D illustration in this project, building on some of Illustratorā€™s 3D tools. There was also an audible gasp in the room as the Prezi took us away from earth and made a comparison with the icy terrain of Jupiter.

The Prezi is intended to be digital content to accompany an article in National Geographic Magazine.



Researchers: Charlotte Smith, Christopher Obida, Amy Withers
Creatives: Steve Daniels (Big Torch), Joel Porter (LICA)

Also targeting National Geographic readers, the Amazonians seeked to inform readers about the ecology of 2nd forests. The team were torn between this idea (which was close to Charlotteā€™s research) and a campaign idea to discourage people from buying products that contribute to deforestation.

To ensure their graphic was focussed, the Amazonianā€™s accessed information on YouGov to consider a user profile for their work. A great approach!



Researchers: Iain Goddard, Nick Jackson, Luciana Mendes Barbosa, Vanessa Cutts
Creative: Adele Armistead (Moonloft)

Team Stardust created a localised billboard campaign encouraging people to liftshare, and find out about local services. They presented a couple of sample posters, one for a Lancaster journey and another for Brighton, and demonstrated how the data on mileage, CO2 and cost saving could be changed depending on the local placement of the billboard.

They also expanded their idea into a website concept design.

Praise was given during their presentation to the positive and colourful illustration style, and creation of depth in their landscape.


Lancashire Hot Shots

Researchers: Katherine Howell, Clare Brewster, Guillermo Medina
Creative: Stina Jones (freelance)

After a good discussion about target audiences, Clare, Katherine, Guillermo and Stina decided to create a two-page report card, poster and powerpoint slide to be presented at an imaginary conference of global agriculture policy leaders.

The team created an extremely well balanced graphic, conveying a lot of complex information, which would then be supported with further text in a second page.
We particularly liked the original world map, for which Katherine utilised the clipping mask functions in Illustrator to crop the heat map data points neatly into the abstracted land masses.

Judges were impressed with the overall visual coherence and consistency of this graphic. Clare has also told us she intends to present the graphic at a real conference in a few weeks time (pics please Clare!)

You can read Stina’s blog about her day here


Bug Busters

Researchers: Adesola Samson Ojo, Radim Sarlej, Runmei Wang, Jimmy Boyd
Creative: Jack Knight (Knight Time Creations)

Bug Busters chose an audience of one; the current Environment Secretary Michael Gove. Their presentation was both original and funny as they pretended Mr Gove was in the room with us and presented their infographics on Antibiotic Resistance directly to him.

Whilst weā€™re a little unsure that comic sans would make it easier for Mr Gove to understand (the team convincingly alleged he might be fond of the font from his time as Education Secretary), the presentation was lively and terrific.

The intended outcome of their presentation was to secure government funding for their solution, a water monitoring system developed by Lancaster University.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s