April 18, 2013

Wouldn’t it be great if the Dwiggins Lectures happened every day?

"Typography & Terabytes" the 39th Annual William A Dwiggins Lecture by Ben Fry

Genomes, Darwin, and The Great Firewall:
A Review of Typography & Terabytes by Ben Fry

COREY is an ardent fan of the annual William A. Dwiggins Lectures. Each year, we eagerly await an exciting new lecture hosted by the Society of Printers. Recently we attended the 39th Dwiggins Lecture at the Boston Public Library, where Ben Fry, data visionnaire extraordinaire and co-creator of processing, presented. Whether it’s visualizing every sequence of DNA in existence, or searching for evolution within Darwin’s Origin of Species, Ben Fry looks to express the ineffable through data. The evening was brimming with inspiring ideas related to data and new ways of presenting complex information–challenges we face everyday as designers at COREY.

One of the most compelling projects Fry presented paired an interactive data visualization with evolving content. Reuters approached Fry to showcase China’s elite power structures and the political relationships fueling them. The resulting interactive allows users to see a screenshot of a leader’s career as well as how it fits within the larger political topography of the country. COREY is often tasked with making a simple and elegant infographic out of massive amounts of text and data. We experienced this first hand when designing an interactive narrative for a data-heavy product for Liberty Mutual and appreciated Fry’s point of view.

COREY continually seeks new ways to merge content and great design. Creating a useable infographic with this amount of data using traditional means seems impossible. Seeing the power of coding and especially processing has prompted several of our designers to investigate coded solutions for future projects.

Since so much data is instantly accessible, designers now have the ability to radically change our perception of the world and the backend systems that govern our existence. Fry’s work is exciting because it hints at the newfound possibilities of data especially when merging it with creative. Fry’s speech charged the collective imagination of COREY, and provided us with new ideas and insights, which we will apply to our client projects.


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