A few highlights of the InfoGraphics Conference 2011

Yesterday I visited the Dutch InfoGraphics Conference in Zeist. It was a great day, met some nice people and saw some good talks.

The keynote was presented by Gert K. Nielsen, the founder of VisualJournalism.com. Though he is a great speaker and had some valid points, I also disagreed with many of his views. His opinion was that most infographics and data visualizations actually tell you nothing, give no information and remove the truth and emotion from reality (He illustrated this with ‘bad’ examples on visualcomplexity.com, including my World Economic Forum visualization :) ) He wanted to make his point by showing movies of people committing suicide, people being blown up by bombs etc., and then showing an infographic that only shows an explosion symbol on a map as a representation of these events. I agree that over simplification may not be right, but it really depends on what you are trying to communicate, to what audience, and with what purpose. So, although interesting, I also thought his views were actually to simplistic.

A very animated talk was given by John Grimwade. He showed us how the tablet will be the platform infographic designers will eventually be dealing with. His talk was fun with lots of jokes and very animated, but he didn’t have a very strong message in my opinion.

Bas Broekhuizen gave an update on his scientific research on interactive infographics. Too bad the talk was rather short, because this may be quite interesting, especially since the definition of an interactive infographic may be somewhat fuzzy. Wouter Kroese showed some very nice animations he does for the NCRV. The animations are very clean and Wouter Kroese won one of the Infographics Awards for 2010. The last talk by the Gert Kuiper of the VPRO was very interesting: a preview of the upcoming Dutch documentary ‘Holland from above’ was shown. Quite impressive, and similar to the UK version: Britain from above.

There  were more speakers but the ones mentioned above moved me most in some way. I’m looking forward to next years conference!

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