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How do you make a city more creative?

The Boston Arts Commission did a deep look at the city’s public art process, using a recent Public Space Invitational program as a case study and found a need to make the process easier to understand, and just plain easier for artists and contributors. A few exciting shifts? A new class of projects that are low-risk, and can bypass insurance requirements. Also, this new great infographic that clearly explains the process to prospective artists and public art initiators.

A few elements I think make the graphic effective:

  • I like how the graphic is laid out in a highly intuitive decision tree format, which shows that it’s been designed with its user, an artist or project initiator, in mind. The leader lines and boxes are also really helpful in helping one understand a sequential process that has some key moments, without being distracting.
  • It clearly expresses the ‘to dos’ that an artist or initiator will have to check off their list. Understanding the the ‘unknowns’ and the ‘unknown unknowns’ is one of the most stressful aspects of a project. This infographic gives the initiatior a process and helps them identity at least where some of those unknown unknowns might lie.
  • The commentary (in bright green script type,) which annotates the steps and tells you what to expect from the process. The use of typography and color is really successful here to help the artist or initiator interpret that process.
  • The use of icons which help visualize what each element of the process is and make it feel like more of a step. Icons are tough–they can sometimes look wildly cliche or out of sync or scale with the information. The proportions and use of color on this infographic are great. This isn’t chartjunk.
  • The use of color: Nice color palette, expresses a feeling of excitement and innovation but also a clear, trustable process–I think that navy blue is a pretty nice backdrop. The color does a great job of differentiating the kinds of information present.

Check out the infographic below and in high res here. Learn more about Boston’s public art process here, which I am happy to say is becoming increasingly transparent and accessible.

Mia Scharphie
About Mia Scharphie