The world had to adjust in many different ways to the new COVID-19 virus. Almost a year later, we’re still learning how it behaves and what we need to do to mitigate the risk. Graphic design has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. Designers have been offering news and information to reassure the public and guide customers where they need to go.
Designers already know how to solve problems, so it isn’t surprising they jumped right in with business owners’ solutions. Graphic design has a history of drawing people together during difficult times and helping the public understand how to respond. You’ve probably heard of Florence Nightingale and her nursing abilities, but were you aware she also created an infographic to illustrate her concerns about the high percentage of preventable deaths from diseases?
Today’s graphic designers might work on projects for physical stores or online consumption. Here are some of the ways they are helping the world through the crisis.
1. Graphic design for COVID-19: Let customers know you are open
Some businesses changed hours during the pandemic. Many restaurants have a carry-out and delivery-only model right now. Graphic designers can help companies develop the messaging to let clientele know when they’re open and how they’re accepting foot traffic.
Use digital signage or window displays to keep your customers informed about operating hours, grand reopenings, and more.
2. Graphic design for COVID-19: Social distance with floor decals
The CDC recommends 6 feet of space between people for proper social distancing measures. However, some folks don’t understand precisely how much room that is and get far too close to others. Floor decals are a perfect solution to show customers where to stand in high-traffic areas, such as checkout lines.
A graphic artist ensures the decals grab store visitors’ attention. They can provide information, such as adding an arrow to show what direction the line moves. A well-designed decal may have words and images and match store colors. Simultaneously, it needs to contrast with the flooring color, so it’s easy to spot.
Another use for floor decals is to show people which direction to move down aisles or hallways. While some consumers ignore the messages, it isn’t easy to keep 6 feet of space when you pass one another in a grocery store aisle, for example. Office buildings often have the same issue. Setting up directional cues may reduce interactions that allow the virus to spread.
3. Graphic design for COVID-19: Offer online information
Nearly every business and organization have new policies in place to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19. One of the best ways to get this information to the masses is via corporate websites. Graphic designers have created pages explaining the policy. They’ve also added stickers to the top of landing pages to let people know fast facts and direct them to more detailed information.
Other creators may have crafted an email to send to a mailing list. One example would be where there are local mandates that restaurants can’t have in-person dining. Those businesses send out messages to their regular patrons explaining their new processes. Graphic designers also kept companies afloat by adding their creativity. They helped brainstorm ways to keep current customers and reach new ones in a very different economic landscape.
Many restaurants now offer family carry-out meals. People still don’t want to cook some days, but they can’t dine out. They can stop by the restaurant and grab curbside pickup, though. You can thank a graphic designer for helping design many of these concepts.
4. Graphic design for COVID-19: Inspire people during challenging times
Graphic designers have used art to inspire others throughout history. During WWII, designers created posters encouraging patriotism. COVID-19 artists came up with messages such as “We’re All in This Together.” Everyone can agree essential workers stepped up to the plate to help fight the pandemic. Nurses, doctors, public service workers, and grocery store clerks kept the country running when everything else shut down.
For Freedoms is an organization of artists. It created posters letting essential workers know people appreciated them. It placed the art on 1,800 digital Link NYC kiosks around the city.
5. Graphic design for COVID-19: Simplify complex information
Understanding how the virus spreads and learning what we can do to reduce our exposure risk is complicated. Graphic designers played a role in creating infographics and messaging to make these concepts easier to understand.
If you know specifically how the virus spreads, you can likely thank a graphic artist for the detailed infographic that illustrates the point for you. Even small details, such as the proper way to wear a mask, were likely learned from a sign or infographic you saw online.
Business owners shared information on window decals and standing signs illustrating the rules for safe shopping. The CDC released infographics to help people better understand the number of cases and how the virus spread. There are many ways graphic artists broke down complex data and made it easier for the general public to understand. Their efforts likely helped reduce the spread of the disease.
You may not be a nurse or a grocery clerk, but you can still do your part by spreading important details in new ways. People are at capacity for dealing with the pandemic. If you don’t present additional information engagingly, they’re likely to tune the facts out. Graphic designers help distribute data, cheer people up and provide direction during these turbulent times.
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Eleanor Hecks write this article. She is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.