Shared Assets

Mapping thought…

Shared Assets is a think and do tank that’s spent five successful years working on common good land use, through research, advocacy and developing new ways of doing things.

The latest in a series of communication and information projects for Shared Assets has been a set of local land economies resources for community food enterprises and local authorities.

These pose a challenge: there’s a lot of useful information but it’s necessarily dry. So we’ve been commissioned to use design to help people find their way around it.

For this set of resources, I’ve used graphics to explain how local land use can add up, making landscapes from maths symbols and using them to describe connections and interaction. Shared Assets’ colour palette is used to differentiate the six publications in the set and clarify types of information within resources. Primarily PDF downloads, there are also small quantities of digitally-printed resources for events and meetings.

The symbols and graphic language have been developed over three projects, first for a set of trading cards introducing Shared Assets and next, for its 5th anniversary event.

To celebrate its birthday, Shared Assets wanted to produce a short report or publication. Getting together to discuss what Shared Assets had been doing, and what it wanted the publication to communicate, the knottiest problem turned out to be to show, rather than tell, what Shared Assets does and what it means when it talks about common good land use.

So I mapped it.

A map is relevant to land but as important is that it can be used to describe directions of travel, systems and ways of getting from one place to another. I’ve used the way a map folds to engineer the information, differentiating process, case studies and background on Shared Assets as a social enterprise. And it’s small enough to pop in a pocket or bag – which has made it pick-up-able at Shared Assets’ 5th anniversary party and a leave-behind that’s easy to take to meetings. High-quality digital print has made it possible to print only as many hard copies as are needed without compromising on quality.

The results have been useful design that presents a growing body of work from this lively, knowledgeable and successful organisation.