The Content Marketing Machine made its debut in May on SEO Moz’s The Daily SEO Blog. The feedback was overwhelming. People definitely dig the machine, an infographic from Kapost (which powers The Content Marketeer) that details the primary steps of executing a content marketing strategy and explains how to manage your resources along the way. With over 1,500 tweets and 107 comments, the machine continues to inform content marketing teams around the globe.
Perhaps one of the primary reasons for the machine’s success is its beautiful aesthetic, which is the handiwork of Kapost’s UX/UI/interaction designer, Jennifer Gunther (@yennygunther).
In all, it took Gunther approximately 24 hours to design the machine, which she thoughtfully screencasted in order to give others a peek into her process. Not only is it entertaining to watch, but we believe it’s also instructive for the non-designing content marketers among us—an opportunity to better understand the talent and effort that go into producing this popular form of content.
We sat down with Gunther recently to ask her a few questions about designing the machine. A shortened version of her screencast and a link to the full video on Gunther’s own YouTube channel, follow the interview.
The Content Marketeer: This was your first infographic and you nailed it. Where did you seek inspiration for the design?
Jennifer Gunther: Thank you. It was a really fun project to make and showed me how much I enjoy illustration. For a few of the design elements that show up in the machine, I drew on inspiration from different sources: my friend Tony Zellaha‘s artwork showing a plane in the sky and its two-tone contrail; Craigslist.org to find the original, recognizable link blue; and I created some components of the machine with symbols from The Noun Project Collection, to name a few.
The concept of the machine itself came from Kapost CEO Toby Murdock, who referenced The Lorax when he said he envisioned a factory pumping out content, so I tried to keep that original idea in mind when designing.
TCM: What was the most exciting part of working on this project?
Gunther: The most exciting part was seeing the machine get so much visibility, with one in five visitors to the article tweeting it out on the day it came out. Since then I’ve seen the machine pinned about 90 times on Pinterest. I wasn’t expecting any of that and have been blown away by how much attention it has gotten. It’s been cool to be a part of the discussion around content marketing.
After seeing the first day’s response, I was very excited to edit down the video I had captured while making the machine—first, to share it with others and also to see my own work at 2,000 times the original speed. The first time I saw the Warby Parker Annual Report making-of video, I knew that was something I wanted to do. Their video is very inspiring. I’ve seen more really awesome making-of videos since then, and it seems to be a trend. These making-of videos are great because they work well for just about any project, whether it’s drawing a video game character or background in Photoshop, or cutting and creating an area rug out of your own lettering design.
The Content Marketing Machine was a great opportunity for me to experiment with a making-of video. I wanted to bring in a sense of process to my version, so I include Google image search, chat, a document, and grabbing the light-bulb shape.
TCM: What is your favorite part of the video?
Gunther: I love wordless visual communication. For example, the movie Wall-E has very little dialogue in proportion to its length, and that’s what’s great about these making-of videos, too. It’s a journey. It’s interesting to watch a video like this, of me creating my own work, because it makes it look like it all went right the first time—which is not the case—and because I see all the idiosyncrasies of how I work in a way I never thought I would.
I see stuff littering the sides of the artboard, and even though at the time I wasn’t paying attention to the half-finished ideas there, I’ve since changed my workflow to move work-in-progress away from the main piece to facilitate more visual clarity while I’m working. I also have a great appreciation for clouds, and I enjoy watching myself try to capture them in my own stylized way.
Watch the extended version of Gunther’s screencast here.