In the past two years, Brafton’s editorial staff has more than doubled in size, with new and skillful writers, video producers and designers onboarding nearly every month. While we value our full team’s hard work, CEO Richard Pattinson has started the tradition of recognizing the MVPs across the three related departments (editorial, graphics and video). The honorees reflect not only some of our most talented staff, but also those who have set themselves apart in terms of consistent results for our clients and standout leadership within their teams.
We’re proud to first introduce this year’s top designer: Annalise Ogle.
Annalise was that kid who wanted to be everything when she grew up. After all, where’s the fun in settling for one career path when you’re interested in so many different fields? Science, health care, psychology, education, marketing… Annalise’s list goes on. But she knew from a young age that any possible career would involve her greatest passion: Art. It helped that she had an art teacher grandmother, who encouraged her to find the visual possibility in every school project.
“I enjoy making art that has a defined purpose and value, and I’m a little nerdy. I guess that’s what led me to information design, which is a perfect combination of the two.”
“As early as kindergarten, I would make the most elaborate glitter-glue posters for school projects,” she said. “I took every ceramics and darkroom photography class offered, then did independent studies my senior year of high school because I couldn’t get enough.”
Through experimenting with different forms of visual media – around the same time when computers were becoming a staple in every classroom – Annalise discovered graphic design, and she quickly became interested in data visualization.
“I enjoy making art that has a defined purpose and value, and I’m a little nerdy. I guess that’s what led me to information design, which is a perfect combination of the two,” Annalise said. “Information design is an educational tool, it’s a psychological tool, it’s a marketing tool. It’s something that does its best work without people realizing it’s information design, if it’s done right. They say ‘good design is invisible, bad typography is everywhere,’ and it’s true.”
The art of marketing: Annalise’s real-world results
It’s said that the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, and infographics act as an ideal educational tool on the web – especially when they’re made by Annalise. Her commitment to creating “graphics with purpose” comes through in each project.
As Brafton’s designer of the year, Annalise has excelled in producing some of the department’s most challenging designs in terms of subject matter and branding. She’s thrived in the face of every new task, while mastering sensitive subjects and representing complex topics visually has become her specialty. Plus, Annalise has a real talent for reflecting her clients’ brand personalities seamlessly into designs, and creating visuals that the ultimate viewers will love.
Some of her clients shared the results they’re most pleased with from Annalise’s work, and we know these stats highlight her strengths. Here’s a peek:
She knows hot to craft a headline and design theme that will catch the right audience’s eyes (and clicks). One of Annalise’s infographics drew more than 26,000 visitors within a short time of its initial publication – a nice lift for this client’s website. And the graphic proves to have staying power: The traffic to her infographic page drove 23.27 percent of the site’s total blog traffic for the first six months it was live.
Annalise knows web graphics are meant to be fun to share - and she crafts them to be good conversation pieces across networks best suited for clients. For one client, Annalise’s infographics have seen more than 23,000 Pinterest shares, representing visibility on a high-converting network for this brand.
Good design should make any topic interesting, and Annalise takes care to create diverse visual stories that keep viewers engaged on client sites. Sometimes Annalise has the opportunity to take on fun (or intriguingly bizarre) topics like Mad Men-inspired makeup or a gout awareness campaign. The challenge comes when she’s asked to make equally interesting infographics about subjects that are more complex, like behavioral billing and CSP profitability. She proves her ability to entertain with one of her global information services clients: Their service relate to dense subjects, and the site has struggled to keep its traffic on its pages. In the past quarter, the traffic to Annalise’s infographics have seen longer dwell time and significantly lower-than-average bounce rates, meaning viewers are sticking around to really dip into her infographics and check out other resources on the site.
Designing a good work environment: Annalise’s team contributions
Beyond her undeniable artistic skills, Annalise is a teammate who’s always willing to lend a hand. Alongside Steve Colombo, Brafton’s Lead Designer, she has assisted in hiring new designers and organizing training documents. She’s also made it her personal mission to create a collaborative environment for her teammates and colleagues in other departments.
“Annalise has the creative mindset that we’re stronger as a team, and she doesn’t hesitate to help out beyond her standard, assigned work,” Director of Marketing Content and Communications Katherine Griwert said. “Annalise has a positive attitude, shows enthusiasm around clients’ brand and has the confidence and skills to make smart and beautiful recommendations.”
Staying inspired & sharp in the year to come
2013 was a milestone year for the design team – both in size and production, and Annalise expects 2014 to be even stronger. The appointment of Design Director Ken Boostrom brings an unprecedented perspective to the team, which she expects will “enable us to push our design skills to the next level.”
Annalise makes it a point to constantly improve her game, a quality she said is important for all new designers to take into consideration. She gets daily inspiration from Dribbble, an online design community where she shares her projects, spots new trends and styles, and gauges outside feedback on her creations.
The best piece of advice she can offer to a blossoming designer? Be open to learning.
“When designers are just starting out, it’s easy to get stuck in a certain style, and not every client is going to want that style,” she said. “Some clients want fun, some want serious – it can be difficult to adapt to what the client wants versus what you want to do. Sometimes the best graphic for the job is also one you personally love, and that’s a great feeling. At the end of the day, however, it’s about delivering infographics that are on-brand, successful and polished.”