Telling stories and communicating the heart of that story to a listener, reader or viewer has always been a fun creative challenge. When data and information are the stories you are trying to create understanding of and connection with, the challenge is greatly increased. I love this motion graphic piece by designer Marco Bagni. It immerses us in the types of information and visualizations that have become part of the new language of dataviz. The video shares the insight that the only way find your own path is to get lost first. For me, this is an important way to approach life. From traveling, to starting a relationship, to designing, or writing, I find that the more I allow myself to become lost, the more amazing the result.
The sensation of being lost is something many of us feel when confronted by pages of lists, numbers and statistics. The development of data visualizations and info graphics have really helped tame that sensation and allowed story to be released from all that information. But something too much of a something tends to bring down the whole thing. While these visualizations are often beautiful ways of seeing data and can even be truly transformational, collectively they begin to have the opposite effect for me. When I start to see a info graphic appear in an article or presentation, I start to glaze over and will zip past it unless something really compelling grabs my attention. That’s the same thing I used to do when I was confronted with the lists of data and statistics on their own.
I have started to look for new ways that data and information can be relayed both to be be understood and allow for connections to be made. I am not advocating for moving past the era of dataviz or inforgraphics, I am urging all us to use them more sparingly and to develop ways to have them engage the audience beyond simply wowing them with the art and creativity of presentation. Ultimately, my goal is to have the idea I’m working to express be more memorable than the manner of delivery.