Authors looking for good examples of storytelling graphics & visual brand-building can learn a lot from New York City’s The High Line.org.
Since Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded High Line, it has used first-class graphics to tell its story and build its brand.
But, the postcard that arrived in the mail today takes The High Line’s use of graphics to a new level of function and efficiency.
By adding a single word to a existing graphic, The High Line has simultaneously reinforced its brand, updated its story, and introduced the next phase in its development.
The graphic builds on The High Line’s success in creating a “park in the sky,” 30-feet above New York City’s streets.
Following the successful opening of the first segment last year, The High Line refocused its attention on the hotly-contested remaining section, extending to the railroad yards adjacent to the Javit’s Convention Center and Pennsylvania Station.
Immediately after winning approval for completing the park, with one new word, The High Line skillfully re-engaged its membership by visually signaling the transition from “saving” to the challenges of “building.”
The graphic replaces the possibility of a complacent membership and ignites enthusiasm for the new challenge ahead…expanding The High Line and maintaining the standards of the original park, in a far more difficult economy.
Lessons from a simple, story-telling graphic
- Context through simplicity. A lot of the graphic’s power comes from its simplicity; no streets, no text, just the iconic curve of the High Line as the line gains altitude while circling a busy railroad yard.
- Flexibility. The graphic works both horizontally and vertically. (The above image, online, is only about half the full graphic that appeared on the front of the postcard.)
- Typographic contrast. Although an apparently “simple” graphic, note the contrast between the original Save the High Line and the note the hand-written immediacy of the Build! typeface and the way the original Save was crossed-out. Finally, notice the white background behind At the Rail Yards which breaks a long phrase into 2 shorter parts.
Branding and writing success
As authors, we tend to concentrate on words, as if words, alone, can be enough to tell our story and build strong, lasting, relationships with our readers. However, words are not enough. Take the time to study the brands of the best-selling authors in your field, and you’re likely to find a few, iconic, graphic images that tell a story and reinforce the brand. Books come and go, but brands remain.
You may wonder, Can I afford quality graphics? But, the real question may be, Can I afford not to use quality graphics?
By the way, if you like a good story, told through a partnership of words and graphics, I highly recommend The High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky.