Posted on October 29, 2020
How can a cartoon image be useful for providing messages and information in a business, educational setting, or professional organisations?
Aren’t they just fun pictures to provide a laugh or lighten a situation?
Well yes, that is one side of cartoons. But there are many invaluable ways cartoons can be incorporated by organisations in their educational and work development processes.
They are often used in Graphic Recordings, Mind Maps and Infographics where images are used within a bigger layout that uses words and symbols as well to communicate ideas and processes.
But the visual element of cartoons can draw people’s imaginations into what is being communicated and connect them personally.
The style of cartoons used can also have a big impact in this way.
The more humorously drawn a cartoon figure is the lighter the observer will take the message. But this style of character can be a great one for demonstrating problems in organisations, difficult issues, and problematic outcomes in groups.
Humour, or a humorous character, is well known to be a lighter way of looking straight at the issues which can be intensely serious. These issues can be difficult to approach and using a light humourous approach bring everyone on board the discussion.
Outside of using such characters within a bigger image like Mind Maps, Graphic Recordings, or Infographics they can be done as standalone cartoon images.
These standalone images can be single cartoon images with captions like a traditional carton. And these can be used to represent actual situations or situation outcomes, as they are in real time.
The other way cartoon images can be used is well demonstrated in the sample above with the bus illustration.
This image is symbolic of the issue needing to be covered in a major mining company at the time of commission. It evolved into its final version after some development and brainstorming with the client.
It ended up being used as a metaphor to represent the issues of in-house communication and integrating different personalities into functionable work groups.
Let us take a quick look at how this cartoon image works and represents the company in addressing serious issues. The bus represents the company. But it could easily be the branch, or the specific working group using it. The bus is a metaphor and symbol of a vehicle which in this case is teams and professional groups within the organisation.
On the bus we see the range of characters as passengers in the vehicle, or in the team. As we move towards the back of the bus, we see the people getting more and more out of hand and undisciplined. This ends with angry people at the back of the bus destroying it. This compares, in contrast, to the compliant ‘yes’ people at the front of the bus.
With the image done in a humourous way it takes away any personal attack on anyone. But all observers will find themselves in the bus and recognise where they sit in the bus. It might even bring up how people see themselves, but in contrast their workplace behaviour is seen quite different by fellow team members. Or as in the image other bus passengers.
By using such an image, it can be fun, but underneath highlight a serious message or question. Hence such an image would stimulate discussion, brainstorming and hopefully solutions.