When Course Hero initially approached us in 2015 with the idea of developing infographics based on classic literature, we jumped at the chance. We knew this would be a great opportunity for our internal team—many of whom are avid book lovers—to develop content and designs related to material near and dear to our hearts.
What started as a test project turned into multiple subsequent projects, averaging 8–10 graphics at a time. Both teams quickly found a rhythm working together, and our productivity continued to increase over time—so much so that we completed 200 literature infographics in approximately 24 months.
With the help of a very structured review schedule and a solid team of trusted freelance and internal designers, we were able to develop efficiencies, resulting in a large deliverable output, while keeping our team passionate about the work they were involved in.
When we began our test project more than two years ago, the idea of planning several hundred graphics at once seemed near impossible. But strategic planning and driven talent made it possible. Then, after the success of the first 200, Course Hero was back with an even bigger request: They wanted 400 additional literature infographics in 14 months.
Even with a much higher output in a much shorter timeframe, past experience gave us hope that a strong partnership opens a world of possibilities. So, we were up to the task.
By The Numbers
Infographics in 14 months
Most titles from an individual author, William Shakespeare
Total genres covered
Most graphics simultaneously in various stages of production at any given time
Tackling an engagement of this scale presented its own set of unique challenges, including:
Developing a workload that enabled us to stay efficient without getting behind schedule
Finding the right number of people to handle such a large graphic count
Strategizing a batching plan and creating a timeline to deliver fully completed assets by the desired end date
Revisiting our internal and external approval processes to find a comfortable rhythm for all parties involved
We wanted to create a strong, streamlined foundation to build upon. This started with a refinement of the style of our first 15 infographics, and resulted in a robust guide to ensure that all infographics adhered to the visual language we developed alongside Course Hero. The style guide gave C5 and Course Hero a shared platform for quality assurance, as well as allowed C5 to bring additional designers into the engagement and ramp them up quickly.
Schedule And Scale
With an additional batch of graphics beginning each week, maintaining a single schedule detailing specific timeframes for each design and review stage has been critical.
Knowing we could not rely solely on our internal team, we worked hard to bring on a team of talented external resources to help complete the large volume of work ahead. Together, we spread the bulk of the core design work amongst a team of ~15 trusted freelancers—with internal designers reviewing each title—and a team of 3 producers at the helm.
With the project still underway (set to complete May 1, 2018), our time spent planning has paid off. To date, we've published more than 150 graphics, with 48 more at various stages of development—from initial brainstorm through near-final design.
Reader responses continue to be very positive. Although most of the traffic goes directly to Course Hero’s website, many of the graphics have gained thousands of shares and repins on social sharing platforms, like Pinterest. This has driven traffic to other Course Hero resources as well, including the accompanying study guide for each graphic.
"Column Five has been an absolute pleasure to work with. We love the team, and it always amazes me how they can take our rough concepts and bring them to life visually. They have created some amazing content that has helped engage our users and grow our business. We look forward to a long-term relationship!”
Vice President, Marketing and Partnerships
The Next Chapter
We highly value our partnership with Course Hero. Working alongside a company that continues to develop compelling educational content is something we’re extremely passionate about. Thankfully, this industry has a lot of opportunity, and Course Hero continues to value creative thinking and experimentation—getting us excited for what’s to come.