I’ve just returned from a week in Pamplona, Spain. No, I didn’t run with the bulls, but I did something equally exciting: I deliberated with the judges at Malofiej 19, an international competition and summit dedicated to journalistic infographics. I and 9 other judges worked hard for 3½ days to review over 1,000 print entries and 300 online entries, resulting in 7 gold medals, plus around 25 silver and 70 bronze medals for infographic excellence.
(Pictured from left to right: Ryan Sparrow of Ball State University, Stephen Few of Perceptual Edge, Joe Ward of the New York Times, and Matt Perry of the San Diego Union Tribune.)
I learned a great deal during the week and made several new friends. I was deeply impressed with several extraordinary examples of infographics that demonstrated visual eloquence both through superb storytelling and graphical design. Infographics can be extraordinarily powerful when used appropriately (that is, when pictures work better than words) and well designed by combining beauty (appealing and engaging form) and usability (spot on functionality), without compromising either.
This year’s top prizes:
Best of Show (print): National Geographic, for “Gulf of Mexico: A Geography of Offshore Oil,” the story of oil drilling and drilling rights, primarily along the coast of Louisiana.
Best of Show (online): New York Times, for its demonstration of Mariano Rivera’s unique pitching style, titled “How Mariano Rivera Dominates Hitters.” Take the time to watch this amazing combination of narration and motion graphics.
Best Map: National Geographic, for “Rivers of the World,” a gorgeous map of the world’s rivers and lakes.
These infographics are exquisite examples of how well words and pictures can be combined to inform clearly and beautifully to engage and enlighten.
In addition to working as a judge, I also spoke at the summit. The title of my presentation was “Infographics and the Brain: Designing Graphics to Inform.”