We were faced with the challenge of explaining the complex interplay of natural and human-related factors currently driving the decline of woodland caribou populations. Previous attempts at illustrating these relationships were either overly complex, not visually engaging, or both.Steven F. Wilson Ph.D., R.P.Bio
We worked with Soren to create a compelling, accessible graphic that accurately represented current science and also resonated with a broad audience. Soren’s ability to turn our words and thoughts into a graphic that captured the essence of a complex system was impressive.
We have published the illustration in various reports and have shared it widely with others who instantly recognized its utility. We expect it to be used for many years in various media by different groups to inform and educate their audiences and stakeholders.
I would turn to Soren for future projects and have recommended him to others who have faced similar challenges.
Soren developed an illustrated diagram for the BC Boreal Caribou Research and Effectiveness Monitoring Board (REMB) with Arifin Graham at Alaris Design in Victoria. The REMB was established in 2011 to support the BC government’s implementation plan for the ongoing management of boreal caribou.
A seral community is an intermediate stage found in an ecosystem advancing towards its climax community. In this complex diagram, an underlying grid organizes all the factors in a flattened landscape view.
The top row inset illustrations of fire, logging and gas exploration are highlighted with red background text boxes. Elk, moose, deer enter the diagram from the left. Prolific wolves anchor the bottom left corner of the diagram, chasing deer and caribou through the middle of the landscape. The client agreed to the removal of distracting action arrows shown in the first draft of the diagram. This helped to further simplify a complex concept and prevent visual clutter.
Dark brown ungulates and grey wolf shapes in silhouette are placed in an orientation, quantity and relative sizes to indicate both vigour and decline in populations. Silhouette shapes suggest symbolic representation rather than literal.
Background colour scheme and textures are muted to provide a neutral and naturalistic landscape to highlight the human impacts and the action of the animals shown in stronger contrast and tonal values.
Detailed colour line drawings of realistic animals are used for interest and place the key players in the seral community at the bottom foreground or in the centre, as the case may be.
Labelling is given careful consideration. The client simplified the text descriptions to the utmost, allowing the graphics to better explain the relationships. Series labels are pared down to four numbered stages, showing the result of impacts, the relations between the animals, and the resulting decline in caribou population. Space within the diagram is reserved for this text labelling adjacent to the relevant illustrations, rather than callout text boxes outside the entire diagram.
This infographic is reproduced as a two-page spread in the print publication of the BC Boreal Caribou – REMB 2016 Annual Report, designed by Alaris Design.