Creating an umbrella diagram...Ideas, please!

Apr 23, 2011


I'm building a course related to sales and need to define an important term: account.  The requestor would like to use the concept of an umbrella that is overarching the various other terms that are types of accounts, ie) customers, competitors, prospects, and customer/competitor combo.  While the umbrella graphic might show the proper relationship, it is out of context for the rest of the course.  Any ideas of how to graphically represent this relationship?  Thanks for your help!

6 Replies
David Anderson

Hi Jill,

Great question and one I think you can do a lot with. For something like this, I'd use Design Mapping to identify all the players, objects and elements of your graphic:

You sort of have that with accounts: competitors, customers, products. But maybe design mapping each into its own map would also help.

Accounts: What are the various types of accounts? What types of visual metaphors and concepts can be used to show one or more accounts? What's the relationship between account and subject--is it a process? explanation? description? cause-effect?

  • Folders
  • notebooks
  • bank
  • check book
  • SalesForce database
  • envelope

or something more product specfific--say gum manufacturer accounts:

  • stick of gum with dotted lines showing how much each customer or competitor contributes or "chews up"
  • pack of gum with 20 sticks and highlighted with two or more different colors to show profits, losses, etc

(gum is on my desk so that's fresh in the mind)

Here are some infographics I thought might help for your project:

Hierarchy, "umbrella" approach:

Diagram approach:

Description, explanation of each account:

Timeline graphic to show evolution of your accounts:

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