What Killed The Infographic?


Years ago, the hardest part of a data visualization designer’s job was explaining what he did and why it was worthwhile. Today, organizations ranging from the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to the World Bank seek out data visualization specialists. Business is good. Most design studios I talked to had recently turned down work. A few years ago, they said, companies engaged in complex financial negotiations to get a visualization done; now it’s a standard, budgeted line item. GE counts among the companies that have made major investments in data visualization.

The upshot is that some of the best data visualization work is going unseen, as Fortune 500 companies hire data visualization designers for NDA work or snatch them up for full-time work. Before we spoke, the Portland-based firm Periscopic had just met with Nike to help the company assemble an internal data visualization team, while Jer Thorp—whose work has been featured everywhere from the New York Times to New York’s Museum of Modern Art—lamented to me that one of his interns had recently left for Apple. “We’re never going to see anything he makes, and he’s one of my most talented students over the last decade,” Thorp says. “It’s interesting to think, maybe he’s making crazy, revolutionary things, but we don’t see them.”

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UI, UX: Who Does What? A Designer’s Guide To The Tech Industry | Co.Design | business + design

Design is a rather broad and vague term. When someone says “I’m a designer,” it is not immediately clear what they actually do day to day. There are a number of different responsibilities encompassed by the umbrella term designer.

Design-related roles exist in a range of areas from industrial design (cars, furniture) to print (magazines, other publications) to tech (websites, mobile apps). With the relatively recent influx of tech companies focused on creating interfaces for screens, many new design roles have emerged. Job titles like UX or UI designer are confusing to the uninitiated and unfamiliar even to designers who come from other industries.

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