Benedetta Signaroldi

"The word Infographic defines all those visualization that represent straightforward information"

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Information designer at The Visual Agency. Benedetta received her Master Degree in Communication Design at the Politecnico di Milano in 2013, with a thesis regarding the role of designer in cartography of controversies. Her thesis is the result of her collaboration with DensityDesignLab and her internship in the Sciences Po Médialab in Paris in 2012. Since 2014 she enjoys working on a variety of projects, focusing on information design and visual storytelling along with the creative team of The Visual Agency, an Italy-based communication agency specialized in data visualization.

A simple definition of infographics. Infographics is…
This is a tricky question, there are some elements I usually look at to define a visual representation: complexity and amount of information represented, depth of insight provided are among those.

The word Infographic, in my opinion, defines all those visualization that represent straightforward information, usually a restricted quantity of number and concepts, using icons and illustrations to help understand and retain information.

I usually make a distinction between infographic and data visualization: infographic is easier to read, even if concepts are represented in a simpler way communication is effective and engaging. Data visualization is the choice when it comes to complexity, it allows the user to explore the visualization looking closely through multiple layers of reading, from the overview to the single element.

Which are your main references?
First of all I have to reference Density Design’s works. During my time in the research lab I had the opportunity to experiment and learn a lot about digital methods, data driven projects and multiple types of visualization. As a student I looked up to Edward Tufte, Mark Lombardi, Mike Bostock as references for their research work. Francesco Franchi, Nicholas Felton, Moritz Stephaner and projects by New York Times and Washington Post are currently among my favourites.

Let us hear about your work process?
I actually should describe multiple work processes: my work process was very different in the research lab but also in the agency, different projects mean different processes. Usually the work process develops as follows:

We receive the brief and structured data from the client. We dialogue with the client to understand its requirements and evaluate the potential of the dataset (and eventually propose different insights). We hardly get to receive raw data.

We define a work team on the basis of different competences required for the project (motion/interaction/graphic designers, etc.)

We proceed with the exploration of the dataset (also using data visualization [1]) and define the most effective representation. [2, 3] Both for static and interactive projects we produce a wireframe to organize information, then we design a mockup/draft to share with the client just before the final graphic refining. Of course, this is an iterative process, a constant dialogue between the agency and the client. [4].

What are we going to learn from your talk at Malofiej?
I’ll talk about changes: a first change is a personal change from working in a research lab to an agency. The second change is about TheVisualAgency, where I currently work: the agency has been building its own identity, bridging the gap between clients’ needs and its own wish to increase clients’ consciousness, showing the potential of data visualization both as a knowledge and communication tool.

What do you think?