Conceptual image of idea and innovation

Inspiration for Visualization

Jamie Myers, Radius Insights, Radius Global Market Research 2021/10/jamie-myers-bio.jpg

by Jamie Myers

Executive Director

The research is in, the data is complex and definitive. You’ll have about 10 minutes with the executive team to review the findings and convince them to invest in the launch. There’s no time to take them through each chart.

What do you do?

Build a brief Executive Summary that incorporates the essential findings with images and visualizations that work together to clearly illustrate insights.

The challenge of “less is more.”

Images and visualizations help to communicate the story clearly and meaningfully, saving precious time. You could show a dozen charts to the C-suite that explain the how’s and why’s of the cookie’s success in the research phase, but the combination of a hungry kid and the impressive statistic below tells that story in three seconds or less.


Six guiding principles - visualization example

90% of the kids tested love our new cookie.


Creating a compelling Executive Summary.

We don’t see the data, text, and images as three separate entities in a report. In effective story reports, each element supports the other to guide the audience through a narrative that highlights insights and reveals opportunities.

Make a great first impression.

Taking a holistic view, an Executive Summary should appeal to the reader at first glance with strong, scannable descriptive headlines, and uncluttered, visually appealing slides. Thoughtful design and layout set the tone and draw the reader in, forging an immediate sense of trust and connection with stakeholder audiences.

Reveal your point of view.
The visual appeal of a report story also helps to establish a clear point of view about the research results. Carefully curated images and data visualizations do the heavy lifting, replacing paragraphs of text to deliver insights at-a-glance that infer meaning and help the reader understand the implied conclusions.

Connect stakeholders with customers.
The voice of the customer is also a critical persuasive element in report stories. Describing consumer reactions or reviewing complex sentiment charts takes time, but a well-placed pull-quote or a single image that looks and feels like your customer puts your stakeholders in the scene with the people who use your product or service to show what the opportunity at stake really looks like.

Get and hold their attention.
Highlighting the most compelling aspects of the research with a mix of narrative, statistics and images, at the right pace, helps you capture and hold attention while delivering the key insights that inspire action. Another bonus: Powerful imagery helps stakeholders retain the information after viewing the report story.

Developing report stories takes time, planning, and expertise, but when stakeholders are inspired to activation by a few concise pages, the effort is well worth it.

We don’t see the data, text, and images as three separate entities in a report. In effective story reports, each element supports the other to guide the audience through a narrative that highlights insights and reveals opportunities.”


When we need inspiration, here’s where we turn.

As we’ve evolved our approach to strategic storytelling over the years, there are a few resources we’ve turned to for inspiration. Each of the authors below has influenced our thinking – and perhaps they might inspire you, as well.

Nancy Duarte
Nancy Duarte’s expertise in developing presentations for top brands, causes, and people makes her a go-to resource for best practices and strategy. Visit her website to explore resources including training that will inspire your teams, and while you’re there, get a copy of her book, Data Story.

Edward Tufte
For a deep dive into data visualizations along with best practices, consider Edward Tufte. He is the modern father of data visualization, helping anyone who works with data find clearer, more prescient methods for illustrating results. His work helps teams bridge the gap between data science and graphic presentation. Visit the website to access books, training, and more.

Ellen Lupton
Ellen Lupton’s latest book, Design is Storytelling, “explores the psychology of visual perception from a narrative point of view.” Ideal for designers who want to complement narrative effectively, the book is packed with examples and strategies — and so is her website.


Learn more about how to select visuals that support your report story.

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