Carrier services are complex—communicating shouldn't be
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    Cox Business presented us with a series of technical infographics that needed an update. But we knew merely updating these graphics wouldn't solv… Read More
    Cox Business presented us with a series of technical infographics that needed an update. But we knew merely updating these graphics wouldn't solve their real problems: long-term maintenance of their assets and expanding them with changes in their services and business. Read Less
    Published:
Cox Business Carrier Services' communications spread across a variety of media, including presentation and sales information design using our library of icons, maps, and graphic assets.
Carrier services are complex.
Communicating shouldn't be.

Cox Business Carrier Services presented J+E with a series of presentation decks and support assets—principally, technical infographics—that needed an update. A pretty straight-forward graphic design challenge. But stepping back to analyze the problem, we quickly assessed that merely updating these graphics wouldn't solve the client's real problems: the long-term maintenance of their graphic assets and expanding them to match changes in their services and business.

Our solution is both atomic and phased—approaching the design and composition of the infographics as the on-going creation of a modular asset library (including iconography and maps which can be deployed across channels) while also reframing the litany of documents that utilize these assets into a consistent and re-usable catalog of deliverables that can be edited and expanded by clients and vendors alike.

Infographic system

With no previous consistency in illustration or infographic style, we explored and tested a variety of options before ultimately settling on a stylized isometric approach that simplifies individual devices, complement, and concepts into forms recognizable at both large and small scales.

Two line weights and a subtle gradient—all derived from Cox's brand palette—add dimensionality and definition to 3D icons representing everything from the very technical (antennae towers with multiple remote radio units and baseband pool server stacks) to the abstract (cloud networking and capital).

All icons, connectors, and tiles are prepared as individual scalable and transparent files so they can be moved, replaced, or added-to in whatever application infographics are assembled in.

The results just itch to be 3D printed and assembled like game pieces—something our kids never fail to remind us of everytime they see us adding new illustrations to the library.
The basic isometric icon set, as of writing, including a wide variety of broadcast antennae, fixture-mounted equipment, detailed urban structures, technology, transport media, and abstract concepts such as cloud networking, power, and capital. This set is constantly being added to as new infographics require.
Complex diagrams are quickly assembled from prepared component parts—in this case, representing a centralized baseband pool for cell communication. Colored tiles, devices, and connecting lines can all be drag-and-dropped to create and edit a wide variety of technical diagrams. The same basic utility pole and small-cell transmitter icons used for large diagrams can also scale for high-fidelity use, in this case showing an equipment strand mount in greater detail.
Oh, the places Cox goes

Not all visualizations happen at the micro-scale of devices and antenna towers. Cox Business's nationwide fiber-optic network sprawls through dozens of the country's largest cities and in this context the challenge isn't how to visualize the technically complex but how to present something visually overpowering.

Derived from a combination of up-to-date GPS maps and current service data provided by Cox Business and its partner carriers, our solution is a series of maps that scale from metro areas to entire states. And in each, stripping these area down to their most recognizable geographies—typically, waterways and major roadways—and overlaying upon that skeleton the translucent paths of fiber-optic service. This technique accommodates simple service maps (such as Dallas, shown in detail, right) or more ambitious overlapping service maps for multiple carriers (such as Omaha, below).
A variety of metro, state, and national maps were necessary to illustrate the scope of fiber services offered by Cox Business and it's partner carriers. The maps system was designed to service a variety of information levels. In this example, Cox Business' (top left) and partner carrier UPN's (top right) fiber lines are illustrated on discrete maps in blue or yellow, respectively. But they are also shown combined into a single map (below) where their combined coverage is highlighted in a contrasting green.
National maps have to effectively communicate both the metropolitan network of fiber-connected cities—across multiple networks and with various hub densities—but also the broader offerings which disseminate into the states.
A system that grows

This atomic approach to asset creation was originally conceived for onscreen use but has been since adapted to serve other channel needs, as well. As a consequence of developing the library's assets in scalable vector formats with simple executions and modular deliveries, an ever-growing catalog of documents are able to take advantage of it. 

And as new infographic or document needs arise, the library will continue to grow. What began as a simple diagram redesign has already expanded to encompasses more device iconography, an atlas of maps, market-specific content and photography, print and web documents, presentations, and more.

Stay tuned for what comes next.
A dynamic proposal builder system let's Cox Business sales reps customize an entire document for print-on-demand or PDF distribution, with state- and client-specific content throughout.