What it takes to create news graphics during a crisis

As facts and figures about the coronavirus outbreak flood in, it’s down to news design teams to make sense of them. Harry Ward, News Design Director at Sky Creative Agency, talks CR through the process

Every day, the Sky News Design Department has to create around 20 different graphics – which include anything from images for the website, app and Snapchat Discover, to a TV sequence in the VR studio. The 20-strong team, which includes a pair of producers, is split into two, with one half taking care of daily news output, while the other half handles more long term projects such as branding for new programmes, shows and documentaries. The department works in shifts across a seven-day week, with the earliest starting at 7am.

Often, the turnaround for news graphics is tight, with Sky Creative Agency News Design Director Harry Ward telling CR that teams might only have half an hour to get things finished. Ofcom regulates the design team’s work, meaning graphics have to be thoroughly researched and an accurate reflection of the figures. It’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, which means the team relies on style guides and toolkits to help ease the load, and make sure graphics are consistent.