Communication Design against Corruption

By A Balasubramaniam

Nobody can underestimate the power of design in communicating compelling concepts. And nobody knows it better than the ruling elite. Whether it is the Uncle Sam’s “The country needs you ” poster or the Nazi flags in HItler’s Germany, the power of design has been invoked time and again to appeal to larger sections of the population.

This morning’s newspapers featured the CAG report on the CWG corruption which was hard-hitting and compelling. But hidden amongst all the crores and uproars was a paragraph that talked about the CAG’s presentation to the media. The report was, er, reportedy, a ‘glossy’, with compelling pictures and charts to drive home the extent of the corruption. The office of CAG had called for a press conference and made a ‘presentation’ that showed the extent of the damage.

Even the commonest man on Delhi’s roads know the extent of the corruption. AS TOI says in its article :“The contents of the report have mostly been already published. They could have shocked few, given that the national capital is littered with evidence of wastage and pilferage of money in the form of shoddy and unnecessary construction.”

So what made for screaming headlines? The presentation.

It spoke of “ a 743-page glossy publication peppered with numerous photographs, graphs and posters”

As the article goes on to say: “If the contents underline the boldness, the presentation points to a willingness to play to the gallery at a time when the government and its various arms have repeatedly let down the public, especially in the fight against graft. None has been spared, none treated with kid gloves.”

So it is possible to move people from their stupor by a compelling presentation, that drives home a point. One that is designed to shock and awe. One that makes the target audience sit up and take notice.

So, government departments do know the value of design. They know how to invoke design to impress upon an audience.  This is a shot-in-the-arm for communication design.

Hopefully, this could lead to the end of boring presentations which assume the audience to be a moron. This will end the irritation of stuff on screen, read out to you. I hope there will be less play with animations in presentations and people will apply their mind before applying the first available font.

If that happens, we can be really grateful to the office of the CAG, for starting an unintended revolution. One, that designers will be grateful for.