Introduction:

Viking Pump, Inc. has been a pump industry leader and innovator since its founding in 1911 and is building an ever-growing experience to deliver innovative pumping solutions (including custom designs) to thousands of customers who use millions of Viking pumps in some of the world’s toughest applications. “From one pump in an Iowa quarry to millions of pumps worldwide.”

Process:

I was approached by Viking Pump, Inc. to create a visual roadmap for their first “Smart Summit.” At this event, distributors and sales managers were gathering to see how they could bridge the gap between the company’s traditional way of working and transitioning to the future with a new generation. The client provided their goals and all necessary information and images before the project began.

 

The layout was the most important aspect of this piece. The strong history of the company needed to be drawn out, along with a desired future and steps needed to get there. I sent a rough digital draft (drawn in grey lines) to give the client a feel for the layout and determine if it was what they needed. The client provided helpful direction and minor revisions after seeing this first round draft, and the final layout was set from there. The roadmap was finalized in black lines, and digitally illustrated on an iPad Pro using the Procreate app. This black-line version was sent to the client for final approval. The client had several minor revisions (mostly cutting information to simplify and adjusting placements of illustrations), all of which improved the overall piece and were easy to complete given the digital nature of the project. Once this final layout was approved, I added grey shading to the black outlined illustrations to add depth and character to the piece.

 

The final illustration was received by the client and printed on 11x17″ paper for every Smart Summit attendee to keep as a memento.

Goals:

The goal was to create an illustrative lettering roadmap to help Smart Summit attendees visualize how to bridge the gap between the company’s strong history and the desired future of putting pump knowledge to work using outside-the-box, modern thinking. The piece needed to appeal to an older generation of workers and also the young millennials coming into the workforce.

Challenges:

  • The amount of content posed a challenge, and I had to determine the hierarchy of what should be large and what should be small. The client provided clarity on this when I was unsure.
  • Determining the layout was a challenge. Initially, I wanted both the “history” and “future” portions to take up equal amounts of space, but after drafting and working with the content I decided the “history” section should be larger for several reasons:
    • 1) The history holds a lot of the company’s identity. It’s important not to skimp on that aspect, but to explain it in full to help inform the future.
    • 2) The history is foundational to the future. The foundation isn’t going away, but changing. In order to show how things would change in the future, I needed the space to show how they were in the past. An example: I illustrated a large binder (which is actually a much much smaller representation of the real thing!) in the “history” section, and a smaller ipad with a digital file on the “future” section.
    • 3) The “future” isn’t here yet. It made sense to visually dedicate more space to the “history” side and to give a smaller preview of what is to come on the “future” side.

Reception:

The illustrations were a hit! The client especially loved the viking characters that helped tell the story. “This will be something massively different moving forward and we are grateful for your skills.”

What I learned:

  • Involving the client is essential to successful illustration projects. Sometimes the client won’t know how to communicate an idea until they see a draft, and it’s important to be flexible in early stages. All good illustrations start as rough drafts until they are ready to be finalized and move on the the “inking” stage (even in digital formats).
  • I will always share what I think will look best with the client, but sometimes the client knows their audience better than I do. Instead of a “perfect-to-me” project, I want something the client loves, needs, and feels will reach their audience best, even if I disagree.
  • I loved this project! I felt like I was able to insert my personal style and humor into the piece, especially with the viking characters. I can’t wait to do more projects like this one!