Design beyond Excel and PowerPoint.
No Expensive Software. No Code. No Guilt. Professional Results.
- Do you believe in your work?
- Do you think the data you’ve collected has real world value?
- Do you wish you could do a better job of effectively sharing that data?
YOU can, you just need to learn how.
Want to know a secret?
You can’t simply buy your way into better information design.
Organizations make this same mistake all the time. They trade long boring (but often substantial) reports for short visual “professionally designed” reports.
At face value the data and reports might look better, cleaner, and easier to read. But far too often, the design is hollow. It’s a portfolio piece on the outside and meaningless fluff on the inside.
The reason? Because someone who didn’t understand the data was hired to design the report and communications. Someone who probably had a cool looking portfolio but knew very little about the audiences involved or the stories in the data being shared.
What I know.
Regardless of where you currently are on your creative journey, it’s far easier to teach YOU (the data person) how to become a competent designer than it is to teach a designer how to understand your data.
Trust me, we have better technology than we did a decade ago. The kind of tech that makes producing professional designs far more accessible.
I’ve worked with hundreds of data people over the years. They’re usually super smart and highly educated but lack creative training and practice. As such, they often make two big bad assumptions.
- They think that they are not skilled enough to create a professionally designed modern report.
- The think that someone else, more skilled in information design, is better suited to design their reports.
Neither is true.
YOU can design like a professional information designer. And YOU are the best person to take on the job of sharing YOUR work. I launched this academy to help you learn how.
Introducing the Information Design Academy. Helping you learn new tools, get inspiration and support, and start designing like a pro.
What is it?
The information design academy was developed specifically for program evaluators, researchers, data analysts, and the global M&E community.
My goal is to teach you the three things that will make you a competent modern information designer capable of creating professional quality work.
- How to THINK like a UX designer.
- How to REPORT like a Data Journalist.
- How to SHARE like a Content Strategist.
Why should you join?
A successful academy participant will be able to use modern tools to design professional style charts, micrographics, infographics, and other modern reporting content. They will also learn how to respond to modern design challenges, tell persuasive data stories, and leverage these newly developed skills in the modern workplace.
What makes this academy different?
I take a very different approach to information design compared to many of my peers. The approaches and tools I teach are based on my real world experience as a professional information designer.
- The Methods you will learn are rooted in User Experience Design.
- The Tools you will learn come from the fields of Data Journalism (Flourish & Datawrapper) and Content Strategy (Canva).
- All of the lessons are based on real world examples drawn from world-class organizations.
- I teach live. Through weekly show-up-and-learn sessions, coffee break Q&A sessions, and semi-regular in-depth workshops.
- I focus on the practical. Our goal is often to create better designs that don’t take tons of time to complete.
We will NOT focus on teaching you how to create better Excel charts, develop PowerPoint presentations, build Tableau/PowerBI dashboards, layout reports in InDesign, design graphics in Illustrator, or code in R/Python. While I have experience with all of these tools and can often field specific questions during office hours, these tools will not be taught directly.
But honestly, at this stage in my information design career, I barely touch any of these tools. I truly believe that my way of doing things produces better results faster, and makes it easier to create professional quality information designs.
But what about…
I know you have your concerns but I bet I can guess a few. Here are some of the concerns your evaluation and research peers have brought up over the years.
- Worried that you don’t have the technical skills?
The tools we use in this academy are web-based and easier to use than Excel and PowerPoint. They are modern tools used by news rooms, social media communicators, and UX designers.
- Don’t have a budget for new software?
No worries, the tools I teach (and use professionally) are also FREE. They all have premium versions, but the free plans are high quality and all you need to start doing professional work.
- Can’t code?
No problem, there is no coding required.
- Really busy?
This is a low commitment academy. Join when you can, and no guilt when you can’t. I promise to make this academy as easy as possible, just show up and learn.
- Can’t make the main weekly session?
I record it all. And starting in 2023, I’ll be offering additional staggered Q&A sessions each month better timed for Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
- Already taking another data visualization course?
Neat, but that’s not a reason not to join this academy. I teach different tools and different approaches compared to the vast majority of my peers.
- Worried that your clients or organization is too “old school” for you to get value out of this academy?
I have spent a career doing innovative work inside “old school” slow moving organizations. Bringing change is always a bit difficult, but these are often the organizations that need the most help. I can help.
This online academy features:
- Weekly 60 Minute Show-Up-And-Learn Sessions with Chris – Wednesdays at 3PM Eastern.
- Extra staggered global friendly coffee break/Q&A sessions.
- Semi-regular in-depth workshops on special topics.
- A growing Canva & Flourish template collection.
- Weekly inspiration newsletter.
- Access to our private Circle online community.
- Direct access to Chris for questions and feedback.
- A supportive (No-CreHater) community of peers.
- A large archive of past live sessions.
- Practice activities and real-world design inspiration.
If you want to effectively build your information design skills you need practice, exposure, and support. You don’t need expensive tools, lots of time, or guilt.
- Show up and learn. No prep necessary, just come to sessions when you can.
- You are more creative than you know, but probably out of practice. We have to stretch those creative muscles.
- You get more out when you put more in. Ask questions. Share your work. Make requests.
- The tools exist that let us create better designs, faster. And they’re FREE.
There are two plans. Paying annually saves you $100 a year.
Some scholarships are available.
What participants are saying…
I’m sure these could be further improved (the project is finished so there’s no need to) but this got noticed because the standard across the organization is still the bullet point slide. The presentations with new slides got substantially more engagement (questions, comments etc.) than the old ones. It’s working.
Chris has gone the extra length to help me with an annual report and gave feedback on an article I wrote. Our weekly sessions are informative and practical and helping me moving forward in my data and design journey!
I listened to a couple of your recordings yesterday and I was saying to my partner that my investment is already paying off!
The best thing about this group is meeting other people with a similar interest in using data for quality improvement but with expertise and insight from different fields!
These are the first steps and I’m sure I will get better at information design as I practice and get feedback. However, even this was enough to get asked to teach this internally next year. After I showed a few examples to a friend from my university who also runs a small consultancy that provides services mostly to government agencies he invited me to teach this to his staff (which I’ll get paid for). I seriously didn’t expect that when I started learning how to make writing/data easier to read.
Now Recruiting for the Spring 2023 Cohort
The academy will only be open for enrollment 4 times a year. The Spring Cohort will launch in March of 2023. This gives me a chance to run orientation sessions specifically for new academy members.
Applications are now open for the Spring 2023 cohort.
To apply, fill out this Google form.
If you join the academy and within the first 30 days decide it’s not for you, send me an email saying so and you’ll get a full refund. I created this academy because I believe I can help you design like a pro. NOT to hoodwink or bamboozle. If it’s not working for you just reach out.
Have Questions? Join me at the next free OPEN HOUSE!
Who is Chris Lysy?
I am an independent information designer currently doing work for large organizations such as the CDC and Habitat for Humanity International. As a cartoonist you will find my work scattered across the web and inside prominent evaluation textbooks.
But before all of that, at the start of my career, I was just a data analyst and evaluator disillusioned by how our field was failing to keep up with the times. I hated, and still hate, when tons of work goes into an evaluation project only to end up with a restricted use dataset and a dusty shelf report.
I also love to teach, coach, mentor, and support. Helping participants in this academy is my favorite part of my job.