Does the first draft of your report or slideshow have way too much text? Are you looking for strategies for transforming your wall of text into an effective visual? Do you worry that you’re just not a visual person? Are you hesitant to add visuals to your projects because you think it’ll take forever and blow your budget?
If so, I wrote this article for you!
This is one of mannnny techniques for transforming words into visuals.
Let’s say you’ve got a bullet point list about U.S. states, like this:
This is a good first draft, but let’s keep going. Icons can boost the memorability of our findings. So let’s add icons:
Let’s add more icons—the arrows, which I downloaded here from the Noun Project—to further help our viewers understand that we’re talking about a variable that increased or decreased:
And don’t forget to color-code and bold a few key words to make the remaining text more skimmable:
Want to make something like this? I hope so! It’s easy.
I’m going to show you the magic trick I used to create each of the state icons.
I typed some letters into text boxes on my slide:
And changed the font to StateFace:
StateFace is a magic font that lets you turn regular ol’ letters into state outlines:
How to Install the StateFace Font
Here’s how you download the StateFace font onto your computer.
Font Squirrel is the website where I download lots of my custom fonts. (I also download fonts from www.google.com/fonts.)
2. Click on the Download OTF button
Within a few seconds, a Zip folder will begin downloading onto your computer.
Do you work for a Federal or state government agency? Or an organization with strict downloading rules? This is where you might need to pause and get your IT administrator’s permission. It’s worth the extra paperwork! StateFace is such a versatile font. I use it all the time in my visualizations.
3. Open the Zip folder
Mine ends up in my Downloads folder.
4. Click on the StateFace Regular file and select Install
My Downloads folder has two files in it. Click on the StateFace Regular file. You’ll see a pop-up window, like this one. Click on the Install button.
5. Begin Using StateFace in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, etc.
Your new font will show up in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and so on.
You’ll want to refer back to the Keyboard Map regularly to figure out which letter produces which state shape. You can view the Keyboard Map here: https://propublica.github.io/stateface/
Within minutes, we’ve transformed our forgettable bullet point list into a straightforward and great-looking visual. We could include this visual in the executive summary of a report or as one of the introductory slides in our presentation.
Have you used the StateFace font in your project? Comment and let me know how you used it! This is just a fictional example, and we’d all benefit from hearing about real-life scenarios where it was helpful.
Bonus: Download My Slides
Want to explore how I created this simple visual? Download my slides and use them however you’d like.
(I’m using custom fonts and colors here–Montserrat and StateFace–so the file will look a little different on your computer.)