In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Steven Heller discusses his new book Pop: How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture, blogging from the bathroom, Christmas in New York, working with Patti Smith, Screw magazine, Paul Rand’s tombstone, creating graduate programs and, of course, writing.
In an age of high-speed living and info overload, visualized information has incredible potential to help us quickly understand, navigate and find meaning in a complex world.
The use of infographics, data visualisations and information design is a rising trend across many disciplines: science, design, journalism and web. At the same time, daily exposure to the web is creating a incredibly design-literate population. Could this be a new language?
In his session, David will share his passion for this merging of design, information, text and story to unveil some of the interesting, unexpected and sometimes magical things that happen when you visualise data, knowledge and ideas. And, admitting that his book is as full of mistakes as it is successes, he’ll also explore some of the common pitfalls, traps and FAILS that dog this young design form.
Using examples from his book and blog, he’ll share thoughts on what makes a successful information visualisation and journalistic tips, especially for designers, on how to zero in on interesting data and subjects—and how designing information can expose your own biases and change your views about the world. Oh yeah!
David McCandless is a London-based author, data-journalist and information designer, working across print, advertising, TV and web. His design work has appeared in over forty publications internationally including The Guardian and Wired. He champions the use of data visualisations to explore new directions for journalism and to discover new stories in the seas of data surrounding us. His blog and book ‘Information Is Beautiful’ are dedicated to visualising ideas, issues, knowledge and data—all with the minimum of text.
The work we’re collectively doing—opening up gradually all of human information and media, making it recombinable, helping people create and share their work—is a huge unspoken, sexy, world-redefining mission.
It’s a mission that many of us have become blasé about, almost unaware of. It’s a project so large that it’s hard to get a grasp on. And the next few years are going to get even more interesting as the network pervades physical objects and environments, sensing and manifesting information in the real world.
It’s time to recognise the scale of the project we have in front of us, the breadth of the material we have to work with, and the possibilities of design within it. All of human knowledge, creativity—even the planet itself—is our canvas.
Tom Coates is a technologist and writer, focused on the shape of the web to come and on developing new concepts that thrive in it. He’s worked for many prominent web companies including Time Out, the BBC and Yahoo! where he was Head of Product for the Brickhouse innovation team. He’s most known for the Fire Eagle location-sharing service, and for his work on social software, future media and the web of data.
Freud popularised the term, “The Narcissism of Minor Differences”, to describe how adjacent villages—identical for all practical purposes—would struggle to amplify their tiniest distinctions in order to justify how much they despised one other. So you have to guess how much he would have enjoyed design mailing lists. And, Perl.
Truth is, to the untrained (un-washed, un-nuanced, un-Paul-Rand’d, and un-Helvetica’d) outsider, discourse in the design community can sometimes look a lot like a cluster of tightly-wound Freudian villages.
So, how is the role of design perceived by the people who are using the stuff you make? What role (if any) should users expect in the process of how their world is made and remade? What contexts might be useful in helping us turn all of our obsessions into useful and beautiful work?
Can an Aeron chair ever be truly ‘Black’? Will there ever be a way to get Marketing people to stop calling typefaces ‘fonts’? And, when, at last, will the international community finally speak as one regarding the overuse of Mistral and stock photos of foreshortened Asian women?
By leveraging his uniquely unqualified understanding of design, Merlin will propose some promising patterns for fording the gap between end-users and the unhappy-looking people in costly European eyeglasses who are designing their world.
Is there hope? Come to Brighton, pull up a flawlessly-executed mid-century-Modern seating affordance, and we’ll see what we can figure out together. One village to another.
Merlin Mann is best known as the creator of 43folders.com, a popular American website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.
Between The Alexandrian War of 48 BCE and the Muslim conquest of 642 CE, the Library of Alexandria, containing a million scrolls and tens of thousands of individual works was completely destroyed, its contents scattered and lost. An appreciable percentage of all human knowledge to that point in history was erased. Yet in his novella “The Congress”, Jorge Luis Borges wrote that “every few centuries, it’s necessary to burn the Library of Alexandria”.
In his session James will ask if, as we build ourselves new structures of knowledge and certainty, as we design our future, should we be concerned with the value of our ruins?
With a background in both computing and traditional publishing James Bridle attempts to bridge the gaps between technology and literature. He runs Bookkake, a small independent publisher and writes about books and the publishing industry at booktwo.org. In 2009 he helped launch Enhanced Editions, the first e-reading application with integrated audiobooks.
Why is it that some projects never rise to the level of the talent of those who made it? It’s oft said regarding good work that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But sometimes the whole is less than the sum of its parts—a company or team comprised of good people, but yet which produces work that isn’t good.
In his session, John will explain his theory to explain how this happens—in both directions—based on the longstanding collaborative art of filmmaking. Learn how to recognise when a project is doomed to mediocrity, and, more importantly, how best to achieve collaborative success.
John Gruber writes and publishes Daring Fireball, a somewhat popular weblog ostensibly focused on Mac and web nerdery. He has been producing Daring Fireball as a full-time endeavour since April 2006.
He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son.