From the VCG Blog

The Four Ways to Write a Sentence: Know the Structures, Write Like a Pro

The Four Ways to Write a Sentence: Know the Structures, Write Like a Pro

If you've never heard this before, embrace this simple truth about writing: there are only four ways to structure a sentence. That's right! Not twenty or seventy or infinity. Just four.Oftentimes, we hear people say, "I just want my writing to flow." Of course, the antithesis of that statement is,[...]
The Hand-Drawn Infographic Project: How to Enhance Your (and your students' or employees') Creativity

The Hand-Drawn Infographic Project: How to Enhance Your (and your students' or employees') Creativity

Recently, I overheard a scientist say that he (and most other scientists) don't think highly of infographics. While he wasn't explicit in explaining why he felt this way (and I didn't take the time to implore further), I've heard the complaints before: "inforgraphics dumb down information," they "mislead audiences," they're[...]
The Thirteen Types of Plagiarism in Order of Severity

The Thirteen Types of Plagiarism in Order of Severity

You're likely familiar with the term "plagiarism." We're taught, early in our education, that plagiarism is copying someone else's work and claiming it as our own. Sounds simple enough, right? The reality is, there are many ways of being dishonest about the work we produce and giving appropriate credit to[...]
Why Can't the USDA Get the Food Guide Right? A Lesson in Information Design

Why Can't the USDA Get the Food Guide Right? A Lesson in Information Design

I'm kinda bugged by this little problem. In over 70 years, with all the resources and funding that the federal government has access to, they can't seem to visualize a comprehensible guide to good nutrition. In seven decades, five ideas have been created, funded, and distributed across America and into[...]
How to Write a Syllabus Students May Actually Read: Six Quick Tips

How to Write a Syllabus Students May Actually Read: Six Quick Tips

On the World's List of Most Boring Documents Ever, the course syllabus may very well rank number one. It's at least up there in the same company as a lawyer's legal dictionary and the engineering specifications of a toaster.I've been creating college syllabi for eleven years now and you know what?[...]
Millions of Americans Think HTML is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (and other proof we don't know that much about technology)

Millions of Americans Think HTML is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (and other proof we don't know that much about technology)

A coupons website, Vouchercloud.net, recently surveyed  nearly 2,400 adults across this great county to learn how much Americans know about technology. The L.A. Times reported the humorous and rather baffling findings about how little we Americans actually know about the stuff we use every day. Among their findings? That 1[...]
A Photographer's Guide to Image Copyright

A Photographer's Guide to Image Copyright

I was recently introduced to the infographic below--created and published by WhoIsHostingThis.com--which covers some great things to think about when taking, printing, and selling photographs.There's a lot to consider when using others images. Consider reviewing the articles/infographics we have published on The Visual Communication Guy as well: Can I Use that Picture?[...]
How to Organize a Paper: Ten Ways to Write the Perfect Document

How to Organize a Paper: Ten Ways to Write the Perfect Document

Are you writing to give your employees bad news? Or are you writing to pitch a new idea? Or are you writing an essay with a persuasive argument? No matter your purpose, the way you organize your paper is critical to the way in which it will be received. To[...]
How to Use Apostrophes (Infographic)

How to Use Apostrophes (Infographic)

As I passed a billboard this week, telling me the "do's and dont's" of something or other--I can't even recall what the billboard was about because I was so distracted by the error--I was reminded how frequently we see apostrophe errors in all kinds of professional settings. (By the way,[...]
Design Trends in 2015: Keep Yourself Current!

Design Trends in 2015: Keep Yourself Current!

I found this infographic (published by Coastal Creative) insightful and wanted to share it with you. Design trends are constantly changing and it's important to be aware of what is considered contemporary and what is considered cliche.What do you think? Are you and your company's designs keeping with the trends?[...]
How to Create an Awesome About Me Page

How to Create an Awesome About Me Page

Article by Andrew Wise wisestartupblog.comWith the knowledge that 6.7MM people post blogs on blogging websites, it can be difficult for a new blogger to stand out. One sure way to do this, however, is to have a unique and updated About Me page.Potential readers want to know they can trust the[...]
What Does Your Font Choice Say about You (and your document)?

What Does Your Font Choice Say about You (and your document)?

Font choice matters. Beyond just transforming the entire feel of a document, the font you choose actually says a lot about you, too. Do you always stick with the defaults (like Calibri and Times New Roman)? Are you in love with a cliche or hated font, like Comic Sans or Papyrus?[...]
You Can Use a Picture If: Guidelines for Image Copyrights

You Can Use a Picture If: Guidelines for Image Copyrights

A couple years ago, I published a flowchart on image copyright best practices that followed the question, "Can I Use that Picture?" While that chart has been widely distributed and used in schools, libraries, and businesses across the country, I have since wondered if it might be clearer to simplify the[...]
Make Your Boring Documents Look Professional in 5 Easy Steps

Make Your Boring Documents Look Professional in 5 Easy Steps

When you're given the task to write a report or an essay, do you just stick to the defaults? (You know, like sticking with Calibri, 11-pt. font?) If you're like most regular folks (meaning, you don't have a background in design), the chances are you do.Of course, you do some formatting, right? You[...]
Why Spelling Is Hard: The Chaos Poem Says It All

Why Spelling Is Hard: The Chaos Poem Says It All

Read these five words out loud: "rough," "cough," "bough," "dough," and "through." Now ask yourself, does the pronunciation of those words and their spelling make any logical sense whatsoever? Has it ever occurred to you that we, English speakers, are the only ones in the world that actually have spelling bees? Why[...]
Does Your Favorite Color Define Your Personality?

Does Your Favorite Color Define Your Personality?

College Match Up recently published an infographic that shows the relationship between color preferences and personality. While the validity of the infographic is certainly up for debate, the fact that colors express certain characteristics is a well-known fact. Are what colors you're drawn to indicators of your personality? Is it true[...]
How Many Punctuation Marks Can You Accurately Place in Row?

How Many Punctuation Marks Can You Accurately Place in Row?

In a recent course I was teaching, and in what turned into a somewhat off-topic, lighthearted discussion on punctuation (these are the kinds of conversations that may occur in a college business writing course), some students marveled aloud that you could place three punctuation marks in a row--like when you[...]
Christmas Card Announcement: Apostrophes DO NOT Go with Last Names

Christmas Card Announcement: Apostrophes DO NOT Go with Last Names

Every Christmas I see it. Multiple times. And every Christmas I remain politely in silence. But this year I'm speaking out: no more apostrophes on family names in Christmas cards.It's a baffling trend. Apostrophes are for possession (my dog's Christmas stocking) and for omitting letters (it's time to open presents). But[...]
How to Give a Powerful Presentation: Eight Steps to an Awesome Speech

How to Give a Powerful Presentation: Eight Steps to an Awesome Speech

Presenting information to a crowd is an art form. Presenting information powerfully is a talent that can change the trajectory of your entire career.  Some people are natural at swooning an audience but for the rest of us, giving presentations takes practice.The good news is, presenting well in front of a[...]
Use Math to Make Better Logo Designs: The Propositional Density Principle

Use Math to Make Better Logo Designs: The Propositional Density Principle

When most people think about evaluating the effectiveness of a design, they think in terms of aesthetics. They will scrutinize color schemes and layouts and typography and photographic acuity. And they will look for creative approaches to old ideas (like how awesome this cool Martin Luther King mural is, made entirely[...]
Design Principle: Anthropomorphic Form (Or, Why We Buy Stuff that Has a Human Shape)

Design Principle: Anthropomorphic Form (Or, Why We Buy Stuff that Has a Human Shape)

I still remember when I moved away to college and, for the first time in my life, I was in charge of choosing my own shampoo. It was a purchase decision I had never thought about (or cared about, for that matter) and I didn't have a clue where to[...]
Design Principle: Aesthetic-Usability Effect

Design Principle: Aesthetic-Usability Effect

There's an old saying in industrial design (the field of engineering where designers make day-to-day stuff, like potato peelers and hedge trimmers): "form follows function." This basic idea suggests that the design of stuff should be built around precisely what it is used for and how people use it. Chairs,[...]
Design Principle: Chromostereopsis (Or Why Blue on Red Doesn't Work)

Design Principle: Chromostereopsis (Or Why Blue on Red Doesn't Work)

Don't ever design blue text on a red background. Ever. And don't put green on red, either. If the image below doesn't give you reason enough not to, I don't know what will. A visual phenomenon, called chromostereopsis, makes our eyes want to turn a 2D image into something 3D.[...]
Design Principle: Horror Vacui (or, a "fear of white space")

Design Principle: Horror Vacui (or, a "fear of white space")

Document design theories these days (whether from experts or novices) seem to have a running theme: keep it simple and keep it clean. Steve Jobs made a career out of this idea, literally living by the old adage coined by the master Leonardo Da Vinci: "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."When[...]
Women, I Need Your Help: Is It Ethical to Watch CNN?

Women, I Need Your Help: Is It Ethical to Watch CNN?

Dear Women,I need your help. I need to know if it is ethical for me to get my daily news from national media news outlets like CNN and Fox News when they use images that openly objectify and degrade women to sell their content.Please allow me quickly to contextualize my[...]
The Proofreader's Marks

The Proofreader's Marks

Have you ever looked at a paper that your teacher handed you back, with her scribbles in red ink all over the page asking you to revise, and you didn't have a clue what she meant? You're seeing brackets and squigglies and letters with circles around them--it's obvious she has a[...]
A Glimpse into the World's Most Impressive Buildings

A Glimpse into the World's Most Impressive Buildings

If you've ever wanted a quick glimpse into some of the statistics about the world's most impressive structures, check out this cool little infographic by Westerman's International:Please include attribution to www.westermans.com with this graphic. [...]
Ten Awesome Sculptures and Statues for Your Halloween Pleasure

Ten Awesome Sculptures and Statues for Your Halloween Pleasure

On Halloween, we frequently seek the mysterious, the spooky, and even the gruesome. Sculptors around the globe have an awesome ability to creatively capture such emotion-provoking scenarios. For this holiday of fright, mystery, and intrigue, I looked around for some of the most amazing (and spooky) sculptures. This is what[...]
Thesaurus of the Seven Basic Emotions: 308 Ways to Describe How You Feel

Thesaurus of the Seven Basic Emotions: 308 Ways to Describe How You Feel

Regardless of race, ethnicity, or cultural upbringing, did you know that all human beings contract the same muscles in the face for seven different emotions? In other words, angry people in Japan have the same facial expressions as angry people in Iceland, Madagascar, or Canada. And the same is true for[...]
Why We Like Target Better than Walmart: It's a Visual Thing

Why We Like Target Better than Walmart: It's a Visual Thing

I recently taught a class entitled "Information Design in Society," where we talk about the design of public spaces. In the course, we address typography, signage, wayfinding, architecture, colors, and emotional reactions to objects and areas. On multiple occasions during the semester, students brought up Target and Walmart as examples (apparently[...]

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