As the world has worked up a voracious appetite for information graphics, the designer’s role has grown from one of executor to that of editorial arbiter. But what about the expanded ethical responsibilities for these designers? How do their choices affect the integrity of the data being portrayed? These issues form the basis of this year’s Fresh Dialogue design forum, hosted by the New York chapter of AIGA on May 23 at the TimesCenter. Designer and Rhode Island School of Design president-to-be John Maeda will lead “IN/VISIBLE: Graphic Data Revealed,” a discussion with three designers who specialize in visualizing information: Steve Duenes, Andrew Kuo, and Fernanda Viégas. Look for them to discuss everything from the ascendency of judicious simplicity over seductive complexity to the increasing demand for dynamic versus static information design.
Co-chairing this year’s Fresh Dialogue forum are graphic designers Laura Forde and Emma Presler, both board members of AIGA/NY. “While information graphics and data visualization aren’t new, its practitioners are, to some degree. Designers that deal with information graphics have remained relatively anonymous,” Presler tell us. “We felt it was time to put some names and faces to the designers behind all the graphs, charts and diagrams you ingest every day.” And the topic is particularly appropriate for this, an election year. “The visualization of election data permeates all media, directly influencing the public’s perception of political candidates,” says Presler. “The designer’s role in this process is crucial and we felt it was worth examining in this forum.”