BBC Newsnight talks graphic design and infographics

It was great to watch graphic design being discussed on the telly last night.

The BBC’s Newsnight program hosted a discussion on how politics might adopt better graphic design to help people understand complex or perhaps even boring ideas.

The case studies in question were David McCandless’s beautiful information graphics and he chatted to host Kirsty Wark alongside veteran graphic designer Neville Brody.

Unfortunately, Brody seemed to dismiss McCandless’s designs as pointless eye candy and almost managed to steer the entire conversation off topic. For me, the fact that McCandless’s designs are beautiful enough to be as used decoration is just a side-effect and by focusing on that, the feature missed the point.

Graphic design can (and should) be used to enhance visual information so that the data can be better understood. Plain text and numbers and tables are boring and hard to understand, unless they have been thought about and presented properly.

Admittedly some of McCandless’s work is experimental, but mostly the designs are simple and clear allowing the message within to be communicated and understood.

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