A visual approach to research data for the Technology Strategy Board.

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Half the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this is set to increase. Cities want to provide a thriving economy and maintain a good quality of life, with a reduced environmental impact.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB)*, in association with Arup**, commission feasibility studies into how cities will tackle future challenges, and the resulting opportunities for UK business.

mark-making* designed the research report that communicates all the data collated and examined by Arup. It clearly relates and comfortably houses a huge selection of content. It describes innovation themes identified by TSB as ways of future-proofing cities.

The information is accessible to a wide audience, both in the UK and globally, covering local and national government, industry, academia and other interested organisations. The objective was for the recipient to want to share the publication with others, and encourage them to get involved in future proofing the UK’s cities.

The design was an exercise in communicating information whilst avoiding the cold, clinical effect that statistics can have. Text was interspersed with colour contrasting quotations and bullet points, and a translucent circle device was used to reflect the idea of focus, displaying certain quotes and facts. These helped to cut through the sheer volume of content, acting like spotlights on key bits of information.

The large body of report data featured in the brochure consisted of tables, Venn diagrams, flow charts, maps, graphs, word-clouds, quotes, and other infographics. All this information was laid out carefully, with plenty of whitespace, to make it easily digestible.

We colour-coded the subject areas, to take the reader on a journey from the introduction, through contextual data, into projects, their impact, the wider findings and assessments of the studies’ data. We maintained visual consistency at every stage, using photographs where appropriate to improve context and aid the communication of certain data.

The cityscape photographs were carefully selected for their panoramic perspectives, to complement the analytic nature of the report. The images also fitted in with the colour coded sections in which they featured.

We used quality, uncoated paper stock. The end result is a 60 page A4 publication that feels not glossy but credible, well-produced but not extravagant.

*The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is a business-led public body, established by the Government. It promotes and supports research, development and exploitation of technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business.

**Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants, and technical specialists.