PSFK has a broad audience but it got me thinking about who is interested in what we do.
Why would advertisers be interested in data products? (the upcoming Cannes Lions creativity festival will likely be more film that app heavy)
The answer to this is that many advertisers are interested in anything that grows a customer relationship with a brand or product.
Data-enabled products do this at their core - they take in data (often from the customer - blood pressure, miles run, food bought) and feed back recommendations or show the activity of others.
Nike+ is the classic example of these 'personal analytics' - they do so well because they are collecting the data as well as presenting it and as advertisers will know from their travails with the market research industry, decisions/products are only as good as the data collected.
The main problem facing advertisers - who are by large a smart bunch is their clients inability to commit to the length (cost is secondary) of projects that require this software/product development, data collection and feedback.
This is one reason that the companies (such as MassiveHealth) develop their own consumer analytics apps. But not all companies have capable development teams - and that is where advertisers may get involved - if they don't, the clients will look elsewhere. They may not have the internal capability (data-product development teams in agencies?) either - and that is where companies like us come in.
So I think there is a place for advertisers to get in on the act with creating data apps for their clients - there is no doubt that such work will benefit their relationship with the clients as well as their clients customers. Even people who like words like CRM will be happy. It just needs the right client to see the light.
The new eye magazine is out and I've got a couple of articles in it.
And there is another one that features in a look back at important information design from history.
If you don't know Eye magazine, it is the best graphic design magazine in the world. It is generally a challenge to get designers to say anything insightful, but Eye manages to find those that can.
It is also a marvelous piece of design in itself. Many design magazines abdicate a mission of beauty, worried that their customers will gripe - but Simon Esterson and team are more than up to it.
It is about video data graphics and how to to them.
The video refers to this one which I showed at the conference.
I'm not sure if the actual conference talk is up yet, but the interview is a decent summary.
There was a lot more about how video design can teach UI design a thing or too also.
In case you have come to this blog to find out whether it will be worth selecting my talk at Strata, let me give you some clues and you can make up your mind.
The talk is about video graphics and what makes good ones. But it is also about how the design principles of decent graphics can be applied to interface design.
It is more likely that people at Strata are involved with the latter, so at the end of each segment, I'll be stating some ideas on where visualisation interfaces should be headed.
I'll be showing some examples of videos but if you want tonnes of that, that's what the internet is for - especially here.
I'll look at why video graphics are becoming popular and also some of what they are not so good at.
I'll spend a bit discussing what compelling stories are - because without these, any video is unwatchable. I think it is important that video graphics have as much craft at the story level as at the visual level.
I hope to see you there.
Eye magazine asked me to pen a piece in their current information design issue. It's a beautiful issue and it's all about the important stuff.
Here is the piece - that suggests we should teach information design to all design students.
Needless to say if you are interested in graphic design and yearn for good content, superbly presented then you need to subscribe to Eye.
Designnet is South Korea's top Design magazine, so I was pretty flattered to be interviewed for their Information Design special report in the recent issue.
Nice to see the articles prominently featured.
Me in South Korean.
Bit of a rubbish photo but you get the message.(better ones to come)
Below are the comments I sent about each included spread.
It was a challenge to sum up one insight about each article - but here goes (I have linked to the blog entries)
Subject: Flak Fills the Sky
Client: WW2 Magazine
Date of Issue: September 2009
Description: At a glance, the magazine reader can sense the subject from the compositional essence of the gun crew on the 'ground' and the data in the 'sky'
Subject: The Spitfire's Finest Hour
Client: WW2 Magazine
Date of Issue: November 2009
Description: : The main illustration signposts the subject matter, using technical drawing for the planes and expressive humane lines for the people.
Subject: The Norden Bombsight
Client: WW2 Magazine
Date of Issue: January 2009
Description: The colour-coding of the line-drawing introduces a consistent syntax for the rest of the spread.
Subject: The Birth Of The Assault Rifle
Client: WW2 Magazine
Date of Issue: November 2007
Description: Multiple variables are presented on the 'range graph' while sensitive use of color draws attention to the key data.
Here is some of the text I sent for the piece, in response to their questions -
On graphics in different media...
Information graphics in the mass media are different to those in specialist media. Mass media graphics need to signal the subject of the content to the reader who can then choose whether to engage. They then need to balance this signpost with the finer resolution data to provide a balance of access points and layers of content. Broadcast graphics need to attract and also keep attention. They typically use a lower resolution of data, but can tell complex relational stories, more like text, over time. Web graphics also need to start with a basic signpost or instruction and then allow user to explore the data for themselves.
Designers need to make sure not to create unintentional relationships between elements due to Ill considered use of type and colour. Colouring elements the same colour is the best way to communicate a relationship between them. Readers will assume an intention behind groupings of elements. Use desaturated colours for large areas and most of the data - bright colours should be used only to highlight the most important elements in the story.
On being a credible designer...
Designers often moan that people don't respect them when they do little to earn it. The only way to gain the respect of journalists or any client is to understand their business and the subject. News designers will not have respect of their journalistic colleagues unless they can discuss the stories in the news with authority. The more they understand about the subject, the more they can suggest which subjects will need visual explanation. Some call this discipline 'visual reporting' - whatever it is, when it works, it is the harmony between an original idea for a story and the means to tell it visually.
Thanks to Mina at Designnet for her help. And thanks to the team at WWII magazine - their editing makes these what they are.
For those who saw my talk at the recent Information Design Association conference, here are links to some of the things I mentioned.
Malofiej17 - The Society of News Design's annual Information Graphics Summit has just taken place in Pamplona, Spain.