Strategy Creative envisions what an “engine for empathy” would look like for Optimal Workshop

With illustrator Loryn Engelsman, the studio created a deconstruction diagram showing what might go "into and out of such an engine” for Optimal’s 2021 Strategy Document.

11 January 2022

New Zealand-based agency Strategy Creative has recently produced a 2021 Strategy document for the UX platform Optimal Workshop. In the process, the agency was tasked with bringing empathy, a vital trait within the UX industry, to life for its clients with a brand book centred on an “engine for empathy”.

“The 2021 Strategy document was intended to inspire and engage a wide range of audiences, and so the document needed to be easily digestible, clean, and professional, yet withstand Optimal’s core values of being approachable, curious, and bold,” comments Strategy Creative. “From a design point of view, it needed to create something uniquely playful.” To meet this challenge, Strategy collaborated with illustrator Loryn Engelsman, producing a series of illustrations that showed “people working together within a machine to see the world through others’ eyes,” says Loryn.

The engine is shown in its entirety on the front cover before being “deconstructed” in the following pages, depicting how each piece of the engine fits into the overall Strategic vision for Optimal workshop. Chris Flack, design director at Strategy, comments that there were a some challenges along the way before arriving at this approach; they tried out a few ways of “showcasing the engine and all the parts working together” in the process.

Illustrations with a “hand-drawn linear look” were used as the main communicator, “to visualise complex ideas and concepts in the simplest of ways,” says the studio. Abstract characters were also used to “represent concepts, objects and people, switching up the colours, shapes, expressions, and limb length to make each one feel unique and quirky”. The agency summarises that the result is a product which engages, while familiarising readers with Optimal Workshop’s ethos.

GalleryStrategy Creative: Optimal Workshop 2021 Strategy Document (Copyright © Optimal Workshop, 2021)

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Strategy Creative: Optimal Workshop 2021 Strategy Document (Copyright © Optimal Workshop, 2021)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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