I recently worked on a couple pieces for Corporate Counsel, which should be out now. One was for an article urging those in legal departments to write in plain English, as opposed to legalese. Even if the person reading the documents is a lawyer, staying clear of the technical jargon will be greatly appreciated.
The second illustration accompanied an article about a recent SEC rule that would have made U.S. mining and petroleum companies disclose if they had given money to foreign governments, but was vacated by a federal judge. The article explains that the rule provided much needed transparency, and followed rules adopted in many European countries. The author further adds that the SEC should re-propose the rule, in order to get back on "the transparency rails."
As you can see in my sketches above, I was originally focusing on the transparency angle, as well as the fact that it affected mining companies (what with the canary and all). But the editor wanted the image to keep with the metaphor of a train from the article title, and have the focus be more on the U.S. versus the European countries. Since it emphasized how the U.S. is now falling way behind, with regard to transparency, I thought it would work well to show the Euro countries in the form of a high speed train, and the U.S. as a slow pump car. I suppose it would work for a story about our actual train/transportation system as well.
Thank you so much, Paul!