Infographic: Where do clients come from?

by Josh Miles

A lesson in relationships, referrals, and building a network.

I was invited to contribute a poster design to the 2010 AIGA Indy member party that told my “AIGA story.”

In 2004, I was noticing a trend: most of our new clients came from our existing clients. I was joking that I should start tracking where all of our client connections had come from. By the end of the year, I started an Illustrator file showing the web/map of all of our client contacts to date. Every year, or sometimes every few months, I would pop the file open and update with our new clients. After a few years, it became a very dense map, and looked slightly neurotic. But for me, this was a very visual reminder of the importance of relationships, connections, and referrals.

So when I was invited to create a poster, this lesson seemed like an obvious concept to depict. In today’s world of online social networks, my poster depicts how my real life social network came to be.

As a look ahead, here’s what the final looked like at the show, as a 24×18″ poster print:

If you’re interested in seeing the process, continue reading below.

First I started with my original file, and printed it out to make a few updates…

Next I converted the black on white file to the color palette I had selected. Each type of relationship was color-coded to read more quickly. For instance, the blue dots represent “networking groups,” etc.

Once I had created the color palette, I began to simplify the “names” into shapes – circles seemed to fit together more cleanly than my original rounded rectangles.

Lastly, I removed all of the labels… I wasn’t sure about removing the labels of the large circles, but in the end I think it feels much more cohesive because of that little change.

So in the end the poster design isn’t just an infographic of this “social networking” concept, it’s reflective of our actual network and how it came to be.

Here is the final output – you can click on this for a larger version as well. If you’re interested in a hi-res version of the poster, tweet this (above) and I’ll send you a link to the PDF.

Final Poster

What do you do to track where your clients come from? Let me know what you think!

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Josh Miles

Principal & Founder

Josh Miles is a caffeine and twitter addict, and the author of Bold Brand - The New Rules for Differentiating, Branding, and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm. Josh’s role at Miles Design consists of driving brand strategy, business development, and firm-wide marketing. Josh was honored as one of the Indianapolis Business Journal's 40 Under 40.

6 Responses

  1. Isaac Arthur says:

    Nice work Josh! We keep track of where all our work comes from, albeit it in a much rougher state.

  2. jeremy says:

    love the story of how you created this. thanks. ciao

  3. Brad Choma says:

    According to your chart, you’re too busy to be working on infographics. Interesting project, Josh. We were just talking about this yesterday – organic growth is the ticket. Actually, earning organic growth is the real ticket.

  4. Josh Miles says:

    Hey all,

    Thanks for all of the feedback, and thanks especially for the retweets this week!

  5. We enjoyed your blogging acumen and believe strongly in brand. Consumers buy emotionally and justify their emotions through logic. Companies need to start investing in competitive intelligence which will navigate them through the storm. Businesses need to invest in Relationships not transactional buyers.

    E Insights Team

  6. Bill says:

    Wow. Sweet result, but now I am tired.

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