The brilliance of 8 by 8 magazine

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Editors and designers of large, well established icons of magazine design like Wired and New York were stunned a few days ago when the SPD (Society of Publication Designers) gave its prestigious Magazine of the Year award to a little magazine produced by a few volunteers.

Eight by Eight is a wonderful quarterly publication dedicated to global football (soccer for U.S. followers) that has been consistently delivering beautiful design and great stories. They use a lot of illustration and striking typography. It’s refreshing to see it now that magazines hardly use great Illustration anymore. They are beautiful and add a layer of commentary on the topics and personalities involved that a photo would never achieve.

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With our friend John Grimwade as contributing Graphics Director, you can always expect brilliant, clear infographics with original ideas. Regardless of whether you enjoy the sport, the work of Editor in Chief Robert Priest and Creative Director Grace Lee (the founding partners of design studio Priest+Grace, who also designed Howler, more focused on North American soccer) and the rest of the team deserved such recognition. Congratulations! Here a few nice pages.

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Is Lego the future of infographics?

Probably not. But I just discovered these two videos by Brookings (an influential think tank in DC) that use lego bricks to illustrate the fundamental issue of inequality in the U.S. I couldn’t help thinking how apt a tool lego bricks can be to represent numerical concepts and, being a lifelong lego fan, just how beautiful they look! No, I do not think they are the future or graphics, but I’d love to see more of these!

SND Digital Awards and upcoming conferences

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The Society for News Design (SND) has just announced some of the winners of their “Best of Digital Design” competition. Stay tuned for a complete database of winners and the nominations for the World’s Best awards (the winners will be announced on April 11 at the SND’s annual workshop in Washington, D.C.

Here is a partial list with the Gold and Silver medals. All the usual suspects are represented, with awards going to The New York Times, ProPublica, National Geographic, Los Angeles Times, NPR and more.

We haven’t had a chance to look at all the winners, but we were really happy to see one of our favorite pieces of the year has been awarded. It was illustrator Christoph Niemann’s very original story on the Brazil World Cup and the famous “Curse of Maracaná” of the 1950 tournament, for The New York Times.

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We’ll be involved in the judging of the parallel Student Society of News Design competition.

Other important events in media design, graphics and data storytelling are coming up in the next few weeks:

The Tapestry Data Storytelling Conference is a one day event by invitation only in Athens, Georgia. It will take place on March 4. Here are the attendees (they like to keep it to about 100 people) and a link to request an invitation.

The main event in the world of infographics is also just a few days away. The 23rd Malofiej infographics conference and awards will take place at the University of Navarra in Pamplona (Spain) on March 18-20. The conference is preceded by the Show Don’t Tell workshop, led by instructors John Griwmade, Alberto Cairo and Geoff McGhee (I won’t be an instructor this year).

OpenVis, a highly recommended web data visualization conference takes place on April 6-7 in Boston. I was the closing keynote speaker in 2013 and really enjoyed the event.

Finally, the Asian Media Awards 2015 will take place on April 28-30, in Bangkok. They are organized by The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). We’ll follow this one closely as we are working more and more with Asian media, and we’ll be involved in the judging as well.

 

New Book: Infographic Designers’ Sketchbook

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A few months ago I got an email from the great Steven Heller. He was preparing a new book (not really a surprise!) for his sketchbooks series. He has already published sketchbooks books for typography, graphics design, and comics. This time the book was going to be about the sketches of Infographic artists, and he would like to include some of my own, and of other members of 5W. I felt very honored. I never thought much of my own sketches, and often I get rid of them after a job is finished. But I got to work, found a few I did not dislike too much, and sent them to Steven.
 
The book, titled Infographic Designer’s Sketchbooks, by Steven Heller and Rick Landers, has just been published. It is a magnificent large tome, 350 pages long, lavishly illustrated with the most beautiful graphics and, to my surprise and delight, it dedicates six pages to us (see pictures below). It showcases  the sketches and finished work of more than 70 infographic artists from the U.S., Italy, Germany, U.K., France, The Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Slovenia, and South Korea. It includes classics such as John Grimwade, Nigel Holmes and Massimo Vignelli. 
 
Browsing through this book is the closest thing to be inside an Infographic artist’s head. Artists sketches are the immediate, unadulterated product of the act of creation, and looking and these you can almost hear the creativity cranking up. 
 
This book will be agreat addition to your infographics book collection. 
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