Making Report Wrappers and Stickers for Chocolates
At The Smarter One we love data and we love chocolate, so what could be better than creating bite-sized chocolate reports? Of course, these would be only one piece of a broader reporting plan, perhaps as a way to get a discussion started or for nibbles at a datadive. Let me share how to make them:
- How to create charts in Microsoft Excel – I recommend Ann Emery’s Excel Tutorials on Chart Creation
- How to manipulate text in Microsoft Word
- Color printer
- Microsoft Excel and Word
- For Nugget Wrappers: Paper – 24lb bright white such as this HP paper works best
- For Kisses Stickers: Avery (or other) 3/4″ round printable labels (these come in multiple colors – the link is to the white version)
- Narrow double sided tape – 1/4″ Scor-tape is a great option
- Chocolate - Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses or Hershey’s Chocolate Nuggets
- Templates – download The Smarter One Templates for free from the link below
Assuming you have everything you need on hand, this will take 30-60 minutes to make 20 chocolates. Once you’ve got everything prepped, more chocolates take only a few minutes.
- Gather your materials, noting that the dots in particular may need to be ordered.
- Decide whether you’ll be making Nuggets (like at the picture that starts this section) or Kisses (like the picture at the top of the page).
Smart Tip: The dots for the bottom of kisses can be difficult to align in some printers. Before investing time in designing these, try the kisses template, with its example rows of completed dots, in your printer and printing on the Avery printable dots. Check that the text shows up fully within the dots. Some printers can’t maintain the alignment needed on the smaller-than-usual dot sheets.
- Create your chart. You can use the insert -> chart function in Microsoft Word which will kick you into Microsoft Excel within Word to create the chart. Resize the chart until it matches the examples on the template.
Smart Tip: Keep your graph simple so it is readable in this tiny size. Use good design principles that you’ve learned from Stephanie Evergreen’s data and design blog.
- Create your text. For the dots, you’ll need to use the Wordart option and then wrap it around in a circle. For the parts of theNugget, you’ll need to use multiple text boxes, including one for the top side that you then rotate 180 degrees so it appears upside down (but right side up when wrapped around the chocolate).
- Set the Wrap Text setting for all components so that they lay in FRONT of text. The location of the menu for accessing this will vary from version to version of Microsoft Word. This will ensure that the components float around over the underlying template guide.
- Layer the components and add transparency as needed so that all components show through and are aligned within the confines of the circle or rectangle in the underlying template.
- Print a test version of the single item. Does it look great? Any fiddling needed with the layout, sizing, colors, or font?
- Once you are happy with your single item, select all components and group them, then paste the grouping as many times as is needed to fill all of the circles or rectangles on the template.
Smart Tip: Paste one row, then check your alignment using Arrange -> Align Top, then fiddle again if needed. Then select your whole row and group and paste the full row into the remaining rows.
- If making Nugget wrappers, cut out the strips.
- Attach your handiwork to the chocolates and admire your little works of art.
Smart Tip: When making Nugget Wrappers, place a small piece of two-sided tape half hanging off of on one end of your wrapper and stick that end to the back of the Nugget, being sure to get things aligned, then wrap the wrapper all the way around, holding it tight with one hand while you peel off the backing for the two sided tape with the other, then stick the final end on top of the first. Your wrapper will be stuck to the Nugget foil as well as to itself. Be sure to do this in the direction that pulls the foil of the Nugget tightly in the closed direction rather than in the direction that unwraps the Nugget. Your tape should be small enough that the wrapper completely covers it and there is no sticky end left exposed.
Sounds easy right? These took more time than they should have, at least for the kisses. For our first try, we made the dots for the kisses in Adobe Illustrator, importing a quick screenshot of an appropriately sized pie chart to be sure that the pie pieces were well proportioned. It worked quickly and perfectly and we were done in 15 minutes. If you know how to use Adobe products, go this route. Being stubborn and waving my low-cost accessibility banner (yes, I know that Microsoft Office isn’t free, but it is ubiquitous), I was determined to make the dots in Microsoft Word. This is definitely pushing the limits of Word’s functionality. I’ve shared the templates, but realistically Wordart does not work as smoothly as Illustrator at tiny sizes and I fiddled – a lot - to find a font that was readable and to get everything to stay in place (the loop of words kept resizing as we moved it). Good luck!
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Data for our example reports came from Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) vision cards 2011-2012 report. I’ve had folks from SPPS in my dataviz workshops and they are passionate about their work, their vision cards, and chocolates! The idea for the Data Diva’s Chocolate Box started with a comment by Sheila Robinson on Stephanie Evergreen’s blog post about placing findings in fortune cookies. Stephanie does great work helping us all to be attuned to clarity and creativity in reporting.
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