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Graphics for Government Organizations

The following are tools, solutions, tips, tricks, secrets, and best practices for government organizations. Be sure to share this page with your colleagues so they can benefit from them as well.

Government Web Resources

Government Knowledge

Government Graphic Do-It-Yourself Resources

The Internet Public Library (IPL)
USA.gov
TechRepublic
FedWorld.gov
International Documents Collection
United Nations
The European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD)
Governments of the WWW
Webcontent.gov

 

Get My Graphic
VisualBee
Microsoft PowerPoint Tips
PowerPoint PlugIns


Government Graphic Resources

U.S. Government Photos and Graphics
Library of Congress Photo Archive
Flickr Creative Commons
Business Graphics Library
Stock.XCHNG (Free Picts)
PicFinder (Free Picts)
Get My Graphic
Wikipedia Public Domain Images
iStockPhoto.com
Dreamstime.com
BigStockPhoto.com
StockXpert.com
GettyImages.com
Visual Literacy Periodic Table
Visual Literacy.org

U.S. Government Images:
Defense Visual Information Center
DefenseLink
Army
Navy
Air Force
Marines
National Guard
Coast Guard
NOAA
U.S. Government Photos and Graphics
NASA

The Influence of Graphics in Government Agencies
Graphics make it much easier for your audience to understand and remember your presentation or any other materials which will communicate your organization's services/ideas. Studies have also shown that we need words, concepts, and ideas attached to an image or else we won't remember the product or service. Visuals paint the picture of who the presenter is, what they stand for, and how the audience may benefit. Graphics sell because of their ability to influence quickly and be remembered. How you use graphics greatly affects how you and your organization are perceived.

Studies show that we often ignore formal decision-making models when deciding on a purchase because of time constraints, incomplete information, the inability to calculate consequences, and other variables. Intuitive judgment (judgment based on emotions) is employed for most decisions. Visuals in presentations and other communications can quickly affect us cognitively and emotionally. When used improperly, the consequences can be dire for your organization. However, when graphics are consistent, clear, and compelling, you will leave a lasting, positive impression on your audience. In addition, the same theory can be applied to presentations performed interdepartmentally or to executive-level officials. Consider the following:

  • Professional, visually appealing graphics increase your likelihood of success by 43% (3M-sponsored study at the University of Minnesota School of Management).
  • Research at the 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
  • 83% of what we learn is through our eyes according to a study by the United States Armed Forces
  • According to Dale Carnegies Training, graphics allow the audience to follow at their own speed because visuals accommodate all learning styles.
  • 200% improved learning when visuals were used. (University of Wisconsin study)
  • 40% less time to explain complex ideas with visuals (Wharton School study)
  • 38% improved retention because of graphics. (Harvard University study)

This does not mean that graphic communication is better than text. However, the combination of graphics and words has a communicative power that neither singularly possesses. J.R. Levin said it best in A Transfer of Appropriate Process Perspective of Pictures in Prose: "Pictures interact with text to produce levels of comprehension and memory that can exceed what is produced by text alone."

Creating Government Agency Graphics
When creating graphics for your department or agency consider the following:

  • What should this graphic say about your service or idea? (And why does it matter to your audience?)
  • Who is your audience? Would they understand technical terms or prefer an overview?
  • How do you want to say it? What form of graphic (photograph, area chart, illustration, timeline, etc.) will best reach your audience and help them to understand the idea/concept?

Seven Rules for Creating Government Graphics

  1. All graphics should play a specific role and have a reason for being chosen and incorporated.
  2. Stay consistent.
  3. Show or say it correctly. Don't try to be original.
  4. Keep it clean and simple. Too much visual clutter can be overwhelming and lose the primary objective of your message.
  5. Label elements directly to avoid confusion. This rule is especially true if you are introducing new image and ideas.
  6. Use recognizable imagery. Seeing a familiar face evokes trustworthiness in your audience. This is one reason celebrities are used in advertisements.
  7. Focus on your audience. Show your audience in your graphics. Allow your audience to see themselves learning, applying, and benefiting from your services.

Using a Graphics Template
Consistency throughout your communication materials is the main reason to create a template for your presentations and maintain a database of graphics. You don't want your audience wondering why certain slides in a presentation are colored differently (if there's no reason) or why different illustrations are used to explain the same concept. These differences will distract from your message and you want your message to be communicated clearly and remembered.

To maintain a database of graphics for your organization, consider the following:

  • On your server create a folder specifically for graphics (primarily photographs, illustrations, charts, and logos).
  • Create subfolders for each graphic type (i.e., Photos of Department Members, Photos of Organization Events, Charts of Financial Statistics and Schedules, Organization Logos).
  • Inform everyone in your organization of the availability of these images.
  • Create a standards guide to inform your associates when, where, and how they can use these graphics. Include the following:
    • Photo or illustration size limitations
    • Colors
    • Fonts
    • Type of communications in which to use the graphics (i.e., for presentations, interdepartmental communications, PR materials)
    • Logo guides for size, colors, and style
    • Guidelines for stationery such as margins, fonts, logos, colors, and basic set up of body text and address

To create a template for presentations in PowerPoint, use the following as a guide. Open a blank document and populate it with this information:

  • Title slide template
  • Background templates (be sure to include all versions for different sections or larger titles)
  • Colors
    • Primary color
    • Secondary color
    • Tertiary color
    • Color palette of boxes tinted with your chosen colors
  • Font and text styles
    • Font style
    • Font size (For graphics, use at least 12 pt. for best visibility when projected on a screen)
    • Font color
    • Bullet styles
    • Labeling styles
  • Box styles (different boxes for org charts, flow charts, benefits boxes, etc.)
  • Arrow styles
  • Line style (width and color)
  • Logos for your organization and any partnering agencies
  • Samples of graphic icons/photos used in other graphics (e.g., blue cylinder equals database)
  • Samples of graphic styles (area charts, bar charts, etc. used within presentation)

Government Graphic Solutions
You need to share complex information and solutions quickly. You need to share critical data and make sure it sticks. Unfortunately, you have to make it happen with very little time, money, and resources. You want your briefing or document to look great, command attention,, and leave the best impression. Then you need high-quality, powerful graphics. What do you do? Great news, you have a choice:

1. Do-it-yourself graphics guide
2. Ready-to-go graphics on DVD
3. Graphic training
4. Fast Class seminars (1 hour quick classes)
5. Business graphic library

Government employees use Billion Dollar Graphics solutions to help conceptualize powerful graphics. Other professionals like you use the easy-to-learn processes to turn their ideas and words into clear, communicative, compelling:

  • Briefing graphics
  • Presentation graphics
  • Storyboard graphics
  • Information graphics
  • Technical graphics
  • Management graphics
  • Tactical graphics
  • Battlespace graphics
  • Resource Allocation
  • Any visual solution needed

Don’t waste anymore of your energy, money, and time over explaining ideas and getting nowhere. Help your audience better absorb your solutions, concepts, data, processes, and ideas. Increase learning and influence and motivate your audience to take action. Use this easy-to-use guide and learn to quickly communicate your ideas effectively. (Learn more about the book.)

Kick start or add to your existing graphics library. The Billion Dollar Graphics Master Collection DVD contains 111 editable graphics (Illustrator and Photoshop CS2 or better for Mac and PC).

All graphics are professionally conceptualized and rendered at print resolution. (Learn more about the DVD.)

Billion Dollar Graphics training/workshops will show you how to use visual communication to reach your goals. The training is applicable to anyone who needs to communicate information for a desired result. Whether you are a business developer, presenter, financial consultant, teacher, attorney, graphic designer, sales or marketing specialist, or in almost any other profession—visual communication training will help you and your organization succeed. (Learn more about the Training and Workshops.)

Custom Solutions for Government Agencies
Your challenges are unique. Perhaps your goal is to increase the quality of your visuals or analyze your existing process and develop a better system for generating clear, communicative, compelling graphics. Allow Billion Dollar Graphics to be of service. We are available for consultation. (Learn more about custom solutions.)

Design Services with 24 Hour Company
Billion Dollar Graphics and 24 Hour Company work together to provide:

  • Graphic production (conceptualization and rendering)
  • Desktop publishing
  • Editing

(Learn more about 24 Hour Company.)


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Billion Dollar Business Graphics Book + Free Virtual CD ($49.95)
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Only $4.95 per graphic.

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