In the 5 or so years I have been working as a graphic designer, I have found that occasionally a project will present itself with the perfect mix of challenge and fun. This was the situation I found myself in when a client of ours, Aftermath Inc., a crime scene cleanup company, tasked us with creating a Halloween infographic that would gain national attention.
The idea was pretty straightforward and after several brainstorming sessions the team had decided that as a crime scene cleanup company, the client had an opportunity to attract national attention in a positive and interesting way during the Halloween season. Horror films are known for getting down and dirty, so we used famous scenes to depict how our client, experts in the crime scene cleanup industry, would sanitize a space.
The end result of violent crimes and violent horror movies tend to have a lot in common typically vast amounts of blood everywhere. The challenge in this design was avoiding gratuitous gore and violence – key parts of the Aftermath brand – while visually demonstrating the client’s specialized service and expertise. We needed to deemphasize the blood and gore so that families or victims wouldn’t feel as if their situation was taken advantage of for marketing purposes. Respect is a key brand cornerstone for the client. So the challenge stood: “How do I design make an infographic about cleaning up the aftermath of horror movie murder sprees, without showing any blood or violence, all the while keeping it visually appealing and recognizable?” The answer was, I couldn’t. Blood and gore would have to be part of the design, but because all of the scenes depicted were fake I could take scenes without emotional nuisances and depict them in an accompanying visual style that one would expect from classic horror films.
With the visual style set, and the movies chosen, the next step was a bit more mundane. Organizing information on a page in a visually appealing manner is essential for a strong infographic, and in itself is the central core, the entire point, if you will, of graphic design.
I decided to go with a design resembling a mix of a police report and something I imagine the police would find on a wall of a serial killer’s house. This decision allowed me 3 important things:
- A template to keep the look consistent for each movie.
- A good way to keep lots of information organized in an easy to understand manner.
- Uniform and strong call to action.
As an added bonus, I got to illustrate some of the most iconic horror scenes every shown on film, and have design critiques that included phrases like “move the bloody hand print over just a bit,” and “while you’re at it, make that knife a little bigger.”
I loved the finished product, the client loved the finished product and The Huffington Post loved the finished product. The online news agency picked up the infographic and ran it the week preceding Halloween. That was a biggie, because at the end of the day, the infographic did what it was supposed to do – drive traffic to our client’s website with informative, entertaining content.