231. Design Viability: The infographics of a bailout.
Feb 18, 2009 at 01:02PM

I’m a car guy. I grew up amongst car guys and grease monkeys. My brother drove a bright orange 1974 Camaro that I always coveted. I am particularly a domestic car guy. My first new car was a 2005 Cadillac CTS (love that car), and I also drive a new Silverado truck for trips to the hardware store. Yes, I absolutely drool over the new Ferrari California, but if I had to buy a sports car it would be a new Corvette. So I am watching the troubles of the Big 3 with interest – not sympathy as they deserve to be in the situation they are in – but hoping they can figure out the mess. In my opinion, most of their cars are on par with the rest of the manufacturers making an exception for the usual stinkers all companies put out there.

But I’m also a design guy (obviously), so when I heard that both Chrysler and GM have submitted their viability plans to Congress, I was just as curious about what these documents looked like as I was to see which models were being cut and the financial information. My expectation: I would see lots of bad charts and graphs and poorly designed infographics pleading their case, and I wasn’t disappointed. Now, I don’t think it would have been beneficial for either company to walk in with super glossy expensive-looking slides when that could actually hurt them. However, these charts mark an important time in our history and are well worth exploring from a communication design standpoint, so I downloaded both presentations and pulled most of the charts for your perusal. I would say just for fun – but there is nothing fun about it.

Forgetting the context in which all of this is happening: Most of the charts could have been better handled by using a few sound design principles. They could more clearly illustrate a point all without communicating excess if put into the right hands. But honestly, they have bigger problems at the moment. (Sigh.)

I realize this may not be of interest to everyone...but here are the links: Chrysler  / GM. As well as a few teasers.

Nice use of the Starburst:

Another Beaut from Chrysler:


And a typical Big Blue Chart:

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