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As a digital marketer I get to wear lots of hats. Today I’m typing while wearing my “graphic designer” hat and I’m typing this post because of the impact of a graphic I recently came across.

The graphic consisted of a dot, actually 500,000 of them placed on a timeline. And while this graphic is so simple in concept, I’m can’t imagine the amount of work that went into placing each of them. But for however long it took to create, its impact is huge and meaningful.

The graphic to which I’m referring was part of a piece on the front page of The New York Times on Sunday, February, 22, 2021. The graphic was titled “The Toll: America Approaches Half a Million Covid Deaths.” The graphic consisted of 500,000 black dots, each representing a life lost due to Covid-19. There are spots on the timeline where the dots band together to form thick black lines, creating a visualization that is so simple, yet so overwhelming.

As a graphic designer, it’s not uncommon to get lost in the design and over-complicate things. Sometimes it’s at the request of the client, but often it is a self-inflicted process. Sometimes it’s under the guise of being a perfectionist, as suggested in a post I recently saw on LinkedIn from Gary Vaynerchuk which read: “You’re not a perfectionist, you’re just scared.”

So as I reflect on the impact of a simple black dot, I hope it serves as a reminder – to myself if no one else – that sometimes the simplest design speaks the loudest.

    Jon Pickett is the owner and founder of OSO Digital. With over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications, Jon founded OSO Digital in 2018 with the mission to help businesses succeed online. Connect with Jon on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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