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Future of Blockchain graphic
Client: Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Print Media | Design (Print) | 100. Illustration/Graphic Design/Infographic
It's a honor to participate in your awards competition. This will be the first time for us!
What follows is a bit of an overview of this project and campaign:
The U.S. government client requested a striking visual element that would serve as a snapshot of the use of blockchain (distributed ledger) technology by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to further modernize and streamline import-export processes, facilitating and accelerating international trade. The division director sought a visual to use in presentations to describe the division's work and generate support -- and in some cases funding -- for the division's continued efforts to evaluate the viability of the new technology. The division's aim is to enhance the process of exchanging data with trade partners during the cargo import examination process. The director envisioned graphics (the submitted item is one of two final products) that captured both the futuristic and advanced technology aspects of the effort to apply blockchain to the unified entry process.
Strategy and tactics
The designers reviewed existing information and materials on the division's work assessing blockchain to date. The team also met with the division director and staff to hear a description of the technology and its application to the agency's operations. The director drew parallels between the basics of distributed ledger technology and the physiology and functioning of the human brain. “Wouldn't it be compelling,” he wondered, “if we could conceive a visual representation of that parallel?” (The graphic depicting this concept is the one submitted for this award category.) He also described an alternative approach to depict the transformation and evolution of technology that figuratively represented the transition from old to new worlds, perhaps with a planetary motif (included in the supporting materials section). The team then got to work.
The designers began developing the two approaches, experimenting with color schemes, visual landscapes and text treatments that captured the vision conveyed by the division staff. The team incorporated design elements created for other related materials, including an information sheet developed to precede a proof-of-concept initiative report (cover also included in supporting materials section). This was done to integrate a consistent design theme across the totality of the materials for this initiative. In the initial meeting to review to the two concepts, the director found both compelling and ordered the team to move forward with both. A succession of meetings to review subsequent versions led to a honing of the concepts before arriving at the final versions. The designer aimed to communicate the message effectively through visual form that was originally handed off as technical material, including process flow graphs, and large amounts of data. Creative meetings were held to develop a strategic plan through a process of creative thinking. Adobe Creative cloud tools were used to deliver a concept and vector art that supported the message that the division staff were aiming to achieve. Execution required visualization capabilities as well as good technical understanding of the block-chain process and how it applies to the process put forth by CSP.
The division director expressed his high satisfaction with the graphics and stated his intention to incorporate them as regularly as possible into his presentations and other occasions when briefing on the division's work to improve the flow of modem trade to a wide range of stakeholder groups. These include internal stakeholders such as the other government agencies and at times congressional committees that allocate funding, and external audiences including key trade groups such as the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).
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