Graphic design examples for math textbook/guide

My organization is publishing a 20-page guide that explains to other companies how to do certain statistical related calculations for forecasting production. I want the guide to be visually engaging with images that help explain the text. I’m trying to find inspiration from similar guides or math textbooks that do a good job of including illustrations that communicating the mathematical content. I’m trying to 1) get ideas that I can apply to our content and 2) share examples with the graphic designer we select for the theme we’re going for. If you know of any resources please put the link or a few screenshots in the reply. Thanks!

Why are you doing what you’ve hired the graphic designer to do?

A good, smart, well-educated designer is specifically trained to sort through these and other similar communication problems before developing solutions for them. You seem to assume that you need to do the prerequisite ground work for this designer yourself. Unfortunately, that risks saddling the designer with your preconceived ideas rather than letting this person have free rein to use his or her expertise to solve the problem in the best way possible.

I’m not saying that your input isn’t needed — it is. However, your question reminds me of someone with a mysterious ache who, after a bit of internet research, diagnoses it himself, then heads to the doctor after having already decided what the doctor should do about it.

Then again, perhaps I’ve misinterpreted and made the wrong assumptions about your question.

4 Likes

@Just-B a good designer should be able to do that. But first my job is to find a designer that fits the bill. I would like to hire one that has some experience producing educational resources, particularly those that communicate complex mathematical concepts. Unfortunately, I have not had much success coming across these kinds of resources that have been designed well. I’m looking for good examples of what’s out there others can recommend.

By phrasing it that way, you’ve just eliminated the majority of designers who would be able to do the job because what you’ve described is a rarity. There’s nothing inherently different about educational resources and communicating mathematical concepts than there is in taking any other difficult concept and presenting that in a way that resonates with the target audience to help them understand.

It’s difficult finding the right designer, just like it’s difficult for me to find the right roofer that I’m looking for this week. All I can do is search the internet, rely on reviews, ask around and, in the end, make a decision and hope for the best. I understand the difficulty.

I’m guessing a bit, but it sounds like the target audience for your visual explanations are intelligent, educated adults who need to conceptually understand how statistical calculations can be applied to real forecasting problems.

If I’m right, this calls for a specialized type of graphic design of a sort related to infographics, where numerical data is translated into visual representations that are more intuitively understood. What you’re asking for might not be quite the same thing, but it would be a relatively easy jump for a designer who specialized in complex infographics.

Much depends on you and the subject matter, though. If it depends on a more illustrative approach, an infographic specialist with illustration skills is needed. If not, someone with another style might be appropriate.

Have you ever heard of Edward Tufte. He was a professor at Princeton and Yale who published three influential books on the subject: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, and Visual Explanations. Tufte’s books were essentially academic treatises regarding how best to communicate certain kinds of information visually. His books often dived into difficult concepts related to physics, engineering, and meteorology.

During that same period (1980s), there was another person named Nigel Holmes who created infographics for Newsweek, if I remember right. He published a book titled, “Designing Pictorial Symbols.” Holmes work was geared toward everyday readers of news magazines who enjoyed overly simplified and entertaining illustrations that were, in many ways, fancy pie and bar charts.

There’s also the more recent software called Tableau, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, that takes database information and displays it in various ways, which again, isn’t really what you’re looking for but is similar enough in general to be related.

So rather than searching for a designer with experience in educational resources that can communicate mathematical concepts, look for an experienced infographic designer who is familiar with the kind of thing I’ve been talking about and who has a solid portfolio of work along those lines to show you. That person might not have worked for academic publications and their work might not be directly related to mathematical concepts, but if you can find someone who, for example, can visually communicate something as cryptic as the Coriolis effect’s influence on the Earth’s weather patterns or diffusion from extracellular fluid through a cell membrane, you’ve likely found a person who can handle your problem.

So where to find this person? Be prepared to wade through a whole load of crap and really study their portfolios of work. Search for infographic designers on Google. Head on over to Behance.com and look for the same. If all else fails, post a job for infographics specializing in technical subject matter in UpWork.com. Also be prepared to pay these specialtists considerably more (double or triple) what might seem like the going rate you see on UpWork. You’re not, I don’t think, looking for cheap stuff from amateurs.

3 Likes

damacri—If you read Just-B’s comments then you know he is the man for the job. Run, don’t walk, straight to Just-B and hire him right away! (assuming Just-B will take the job!—he is a highly sought-after designer, so it might be tough to get on his schedule.)

I get what you’re after. Its kinda like asking to find a race car driver for a 1920s Rolls Royce. In that there’s lots of great designers who have great infographic abilities, but very few who do mathematical statistical which are highly designed. And those doing high end mathematical type setting won’t be doing high end designing

No, not me. There are better people for this kind of thing. I spent several years creating infographics for newspapers, but I haven’t done much of that in years.

Thanks for mentioning these, @Just-B ! I’ll definitely check them out! :+1:

©2021 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook