10 Examples of Visual ...


Most of us who toil in business communications tilt toward words. We studied mass communications, journalism or English in college. When we went looking for jobs, our resumes touted writing expertise, not design.

Yet, today’s world calls for equal emphasis on the visual side.

I’ve always viewed my blog as a laboratory where I can learn the visual side of storytelling and conduct experiments knowing that an explosion won’t hurt anyone.

With this in mind, I strive to create original artwork for my posts. It’s tricky. Yes, you want to publish images that “scream” at the reader to click and read. At the same time, the shelf life of a post runs 24 to 48 hours, so you can only justify a sliver of time to finalize the art.

What follows are 10 examples of original artwork published this year.



One Action that Automatically Makes You a Better Listener

Illustration of man and woman in a meeting with quote bubble.

It baffles me why communications hasn’t jumped on the illustration bandwagon. It’s the perfect medium for hyperbole, in this case locking up the chap’s mobile phone in a safe so he focuses on the conversation at hand.


What the Hell Does the PR Guy Know About Journalism?

Nixon with quote bubble saying that would be a nada.

There’s something about photos of Nixon that often amuse. The fact that he was no friend of journalists adds another layer. I experimented with the word cloud answering the question posed in the headline.


Unconventional Official Sponsors for our 30-Year Anniversary

The Hoffman Agency Official Alternative Fact.

Our design team put together a graphic that riffs on the White House touting the concept of “alternative facts.” You can’t make this stuff up.


What’s Next for Sean Spicer? Reaction to His Resignation

Sean Spicer in a bake off.

Sticking with the White House theme, I figured Mr. Spicer’s career aspirations would benefit from an environment where people talk nicely to each and wear aprons. “The Great British Bake Off” serves up the perfect fit. Don’t let the face deceive you. Deep down, he’s ready to show the world he makes a mean cherry crumble.


Do PR People Get Storytelling?

PR Memo on a sticky note.

The “word visual” — an image in which the words do the heavy lifting with light design requirements — should be in every communicators’ arsenal. The fun comes from the simplicity.


Calling All Hoffman Agency Alumni


The beauty of a GIF is that it doesn’t take a major amount of animation to deliver a wrinkle to the image. In this case, the classic story arc has caught fire.


Revisiting 10 Symbols of PR Disruption

Google Algorithm Keeps Evolving.

Sketching a chart or graph by hand is another way to create an image that stands out from all the charts and graphics that come off the assembly line.


Trump Plans to Replace the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Trump Statue of Liberty illustration The Hoffman Agency.

Remember when I mentioned that anything is possible with an illustration? Here’s Exhibit B and my favorite piece of artwork published this year.


Reflections on the Agency’s 30-Year Anniversary

Breaking Bad Meets the Wife, The Hoffman Agency 30-year anniversary.

I tend to shy away from stand-alone photography. This shot of Heather taking a break from sanding the walls of our new office is an exception to the rule. I dubbed this image, “Breaking Bad Meets the Wife.”


When Price is the Primary Driver in Selecting a PR Agency

heart surgery discount, Ishmael's Corner.

“The Knick” is one of those TV series that flies under the radar, but once you stumble across that first episode you’re hooked. Dr. John Thackery chirping about the price of surgery — is that look on his face perfect or what — results in the type of incongruence that stops the reader.



I’d like our crack design team, Chauncey Hill (creative director), Bonnie Lamb (editorial services director) and Marjan Giahi to take a bow. The look and feel of the blog benefits from their expertise.

With that said, I’ve included some examples that don’t call for industrial-grade design.

The point is, the path to visual storytelling can take many different forms.

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