Central Saint Martins graduates have produced a series of illustrations highlighting facts about human decision-making to promote economist Noreena Hertz’s new book, Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Decisions in a Confusing World.
Hertz’s book, published by HarperCollins, is described as a guide to making informed choices when bombarded with data. Using findings from scientific studies, Hertz warns against becoming over-reliant on expert opinions, massaged figures and marketing speak – in a study of 82,000 predictions by 284 experts over a sixteen-year period, she says, experts got no more right than a monkey randomly sticking a pin on a board.
It also offers practical advice on how to make “smarter” decisions, encouraging readers to eat before making tough financial choices and meditate to improve their rational thought.
The finished collection will be used in press coverage of the book, on the Eyes Wide Open website and on social media. The project was led by Tanya Brennand-Roper, a content producer at HarperCollins and a lecturer and former student at Saint Martins.
“As Hertz’s book is full of facts and statistics – something that might be considered quite dry, visually speaking – we wanted to create a visual language for online communications,” she explains. “We hope they get the message across and offer something different to a traditional pie chart or graph. It’s a little lighter, and more engaging for a younger audience who can like or share the images with their friends,” she adds.
It’s one of a series of projects HarperCollins has worked on with Saint Martins – students recently designed a cover for the late novelist William Wharton’s book, Birdy – and Brennand-Roper says the recent graduates offered a fresh take on design.
“Sometimes, working with more experienced designers can produce a more corporate finish. People fresh out of art school have a different way of looking at things, as they’re still experimenting and developing their visual style and everything they’ve learned is fresh in their mind. And for the students and graduates, it’s a chance to gain experience of working with different clients on live, high-profile briefs,” she says.
It’s a witty set of designs from a promising group of illustrators, and an interesting alternative to traditional data visualisation. “It kind of adds an extra layer to the book and the way we as book publishers as choosing to market our content,” says Brennand-Roper.