Creatively Displaying University Fees with Paint: OCAD U Tuition Infographic

Our Arts Alternative to Pie Charts and Graphs

One of the most common questions students have for OCAD University’s AVP of Students Deanne Fisher is “Where does my tuition go?” and “Why does it keep going up?”.

Students often want to see a direct connection between fee increases and the quality of their education.

The OCAD University team brought us on board to create a visualization to illustrate revenue sources and major expenditure categories.

Rather than creating standard financial graphs, we approached this infographic in a way that art and design students might appreciate more. The paint pouring in from the hanging cups represents the funding the school receives, and the dripping streams of paint of course represent the money being spent.


Infographic: Our visual representation of where tuition and other OCAD U revenue gets spent. (You can also Download a full resolution version as a PDF).

In addition to working through the data and numbers, choosing how to best categorize and display figures and adjusting proportions, the physical process required different colour party cups, a variety of paint, patient paint pouring, and smooth string skills to wire everything together.

Behind the Scenes - OCAD Tuition Diagram - Now Creative Group

We captured the process of making this in-person infographic, starring artist Dorota Pankowska. (This video was filmed at our previous studio location). Enjoy the behind the scenes:

One of the things this infographic explains is that when tuition increases, that percentage increase doesn’t get portioned out and added to a specific program or fund. It goes into the revenue pot and is used to offset increases in expenses among the above categories.

Deanne Fisher, OCAD University’s Associate Vice-President, Students explains more about the budget:

“Factors that impact our operations budget include general cost increases that come as a result of inflation (e.g. power costs have risen almost 375% since 2004), as well as conditions of labour agreements.”

“You should also know that when we announce projects like the Creative City Campus, this represents new capital (i.e. infrastructure) funding that will improve your facilities and student experience, and your tuition doesn’t go into these developments. This is new money that we’ve raised through our relationship building with government and donors.”

For more explanation of the numbers and process from OCAD University, visit this blog. Watch the video here.

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