Picturing the future by Karen Birnholz

The impact of changing demographics and social change.
This was the overall theme of ING Bank online magazine The View, issue 8.

The request was for an animated infographic that explores the effect of demographic and social change on the workplace, education, society, the economy and companies.
It’s title: ‘Seven facts that could define our future’.

The challenge
The first challenge was in finding a common denominator for these 7 pieces of information.
1- An aging workforce
2- Flexibility of working hours
3- A divided society due to inequality of wealth
4- The effect of automation and AI on jobs
5- New education and skills needed for the workplace
6- New business models
7- Changing demographics (aging) and its effect on healthcare

The second was that this client wanted to use photography to illustrate the information. (We already established this as a ‘preferred’ style over the years.)

And the final challenge was a limited budget.

The concept:
The most common denominator was ‘people’. (But I didn’t want to use people.) Through the use of ‘ants’ I was able to portray people/society in general. Ants are known for their social structure and working relationship. Their size was a plus in being able to use few props to convey the different pieces of information without distorting the size relation of components. Animation also offered an opportunity in giving focus to the data through the use of ‘pie’ like charts on almost all of the information.

Less is more:
I believe the less ‘stuff’ you bring into the visual helps give importance to what you do decide to show. In this case, I wanted to be as abstract and simple as possible since most of the information was unrelated.

This was the first time ING Wholesale Banking used an animated infographic for ‘The View’. I was thrilled to be able to use the knowledge I received from the ‘Information is Beautiful’ workshop, and especially pleased the client agreed to try animation for the first time.

The results support the usage of animation. The infographic was one of the best performing pieces of content in ‘The View’ with over 4k visits on the website and an average dwell time of 2m19s, which is extremely high. Global impact was huge as it was visited by 78 different countries.

A win win situation:
Not only was I able to have ‘free range’ on creativity, (something that is not normal for the banking sector), but this infographic gave the client reason to continue using animated infographics in the future.