Information visualization is like the black swan of design: you think this body of data couldn't be more inaccessible, but you see it transform into a beautiful infographic through graphic design. Visual journalists can provide us all with a fresh new perspective on a body of knowledge that may be unaccessible otherwise. This Issue we have an interview with Gerson Mora, an exceptional infographic designer who recently won the Malofiej prize.
This Month's Spotlight Interview:
Visual Journalist and Infographic Designer
Gerson is an extraordinary infographic designer and visual journalist. See more of his creations.
V: What do you think fascinates people the most about infographics?
Gerson: Infographic design plays a very important role in demonstrating something that can be very difficult to explain through words. If you were to choose between written text and information visualization, you would realize that you understand things better when you are provided with visual cues, rather than simple words. An infographic is a really comprehensive tool: you can understand how a nuclear reactor works if you see a 3D scheme of it, where it can be much harder to understand just by reading about the structure of a nuclear reactor. Besides, people love images and graphics - that is a major attraction too, but beyond that, people want to understand things better, and that's the fascinating part about infographics.
V: Your incredible talent as a designer blends with an outstanding "eye for detail" as an illustrator. What was your very first infographic about?
Gerson: My first job was at the O Estado de São Paulo newspaper, where I worked as an inker. I used to work with traditional materials like pens, nankin, gouache, ecoline and many other classic art materials. I created my first infographic during that time, but I didn't really know what an infographic was. I was introduced to infographic design in 1992, when I learned about Jeff Goertzen, a world-class infographic designer. I can tell you about my first two infographics though: I created an infographic about the embryology of vertebrates, and another about the mechanical robot used in the Freedom Space Station. This happened in March 1990. I would also mention an infographic that I particularly liked about the earthworm cellular structure, which I made in 1991. That was really difficult infographic that I had to work on.
V: What makes a great infographic?
Gerson: A great infographic, first of all, needs to provide correct information, not fictional information.
Moreover, it's difficult to get good information without research, and that's why I currently take a long time researching and trying to verify from different sources the information I have. Infographic design is tightly connected to journalism, but it's more than that, it's visual journalism. Once you have the right information, you need to work on the timeline, and order the events correctly. A great infographic is an inforgraphic that can be easily understood, but I would prefer the ones that are beautifully designed too.
V: Your drawings, illustrations and 3D models are very realistic. How long do you spend on average working on a project?
Gerson: Thanks! I love illustration, design and 3D and I am always searching and exploring new techniques to create great designs. The duration of a project is relative to the topic and the information presented. I usually spend 8 to 20 hours on a single project, I have worked for more than 40 hours at times as well.
V: Can graphic design add more meaning to raw information? How?
Gerson: Graphic design is meant finding the perfect balance between beauty and knowledge. There are so many examples today in publications such as Wired Magazine and National Geographic, showcasing different styles and approaches to infographic design: Wired is a very experimental and modern, while National Geographic is traditional but featuring some of the most beautiful and captivating designs in the world. Both styles in information visualization and infographic design add more meaning to the content provided.
That was a great interview and thank you for inspiring us with your infographics!
Information visualization branched off from statistics, but became part of the design curriculum more recently. Infographics and infoposters can reveal hidden connections between bits of information. This is how designers can present facts in a way that is more persuasive and inspiring, thus helping people adopt change and see the world with fresh eyes. Our most recent article is about change driven by design. Check it out and stay tuned for more awesome articles!
|Monthly Freelancer Tip:
Use Presets and Code Snippets to Become More Productive. As a designer or developer there will be many small tasks that you will need to do over and over again.
As a designer, if you are creating a certain styling for some vector shapes or editing lots of photos, presets will save you time when you need to do these tasks again and again. As a developer using a small application or your current markup editor to store code snippets will make your life much easier. Many developers prefer the app "TextExpander" for it's power and simplicity. With an app like this as you start typing something it will autofill the rest based on the snippets you create.
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Until next time -
The Velora Studios Team
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