The “Grande Finale” Animation: An Exemplar Case Study


My client called it her “Grand Finale” graphic: The summation animation that would bring the whole of her argument, testimony & presented evidence together into one final and compelling, composite picture. Via it’s multivariate depiction of the total body of evidence, this animation became the collective “nail in the coffin” against the defendants in the case.

Background: In an antitrust matter, our plaintiff team were tasked to show that suppliers of a common and essential construction industry product colluded to change purchasing habits from an historic bid-based practice to a new non-negotiable fixed price, and uniformly set that fixed price non-competitively among the suppliers with periodic, agreed price hikes.

The Goal: The individual pieces of evidence were offered by my client during the course of presentation with the goal to link that sequence of evidence into a connected, meaningful story … but one can not assume the cognitive capacity of each juror to retain, assemble and associate that string of evidence into a clear composite picture of causation and collusion.

This “Grand Finale” animation answered the problem: How to best imprint in the jurors’ minds the over-arching, composite story that the individually presented body of evidence infers?

“Get your audience out of the puzzle-solving business.”

                                                                                    – Edward Tufte

The Solution – Compose multivariate content (2 or more quantities of information) and multi-dimensionally (time, quantity, degree, etc): In summation, the animation first quickly re-reviews & compiles all of the previously discussed key evidence into meaningful categories. Key pieces of evidence re-appear on the screen, then transform into color-coded icons which then flow into, accumulate and build each category silo, to readily show the full quantity of evidence for each of those categories. With this sanitized version, we have reduced the number of pop-up evidence to just a couple exemplars.


Click on image to launch full & functional ‘Grand Finale” animation.

At the end of the re-review and quantifying of all evidence into category silos, the totality of evidence against the defendants can be appraised by the decision-makers.


Click on image to launch full & functional ‘Grand Finale” animation.

Show Cause & Effect: With the building and quantifying of evidence complete, the accumulated evidence icons flow out of their respective category silos and plot themselves on a time bar. With the evidence plotted in this new temporal context, the story of complicity and causation is not only made clear, it appears obvious. The plotting of the defendant communications and actions on the time bar visualize their direct causal effect on the subsequent happenings – the uniform price-setting, agreed among the manufacturers.


Click on image to launch full & functional ‘Grand Finale” animation.

The “Grand Finale” animation convincingly conveys what otherwise a sequential presentation of the evidence alone may not accomplish – an engaging composite picture of the total body of evidence as a single, viewable “visual story” – both quantified and illustrating causation. When left to their own mental devices, the decision-maker may not be able to sort through the evidence and assemble a plausible story. It was our job to visually compose that story for them – to help assure informed decision-making and a successful outcome.