Infographics as creative work

R/GA shared today on Facebook  an infographic created by their Data Viz team for football (aka soccer) team New York Red Bulls.



There’s nothing really remarkable on the infographic (besides the team’s season performance), but i kept wondering how far has advertising evolved to considered infographics as standalone creative works. Data, big or not, is here to stay and i wonder how far will companies consider data visualization as a internal skill (using Tableau for instance) or rather use creative agencies. Are infographics just the new Powerpoint (or social media linkbait) or do agencies need to create specialized teams just like R/G did? Where does creative ends and business insight starts?

This hybrid medium isn’t yet fully explored as a creative canvas, even when companies have tons of data that need to make sense of. While websites like or Flowing Data make it easier to find and share the best work , commercial praise seems to be limited to the Kantar Information Is beautiful Awards.


In the near future, expect data visualization to be recognized right between design and interactive. And even have their own Cannes Lions category (if there’s PR, why no Data Viz).

P.S. Suggested reading: The Best American Infographics 2013.


The Icon Handbook

Jon Hicks of HicksDesign released yesterday The Icon Handbook.

The paperback would make a great gift for the season, but for now it’s only available as digital edition (PDF, ePub & Mobi).
I couldn’t resist the visual goodness and the chance to get inside the mind of one the great designers on this field (Jon designed Firefox’s logo) and rewarded myself with one.

From ideation to drawing tips, web or application icons, this is one of the best references on icon design available, further confirmed by the great feedback on Twitter.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/jasonsantamaria/status/149172164162105344″]
[blackbirdpie url=”!/flarkminator/status/149577787924156416″]

User Experience and Context

Somehow related to last post’s theme of progressive enhancement, i found out via Johnny Holland a simple but effective video on “Designing for Mobiles: Users & Context”. The student work is based on the first chapters of Barbara Ballard’s book Designing the Mobile User Experience, depicting the increasing importance of understanding the newer platforms, where and how are they used, and how it relates to designing the user experience.

Designing for Mobiles: Users & Context from Niek Dekker on Vimeo.

This happened

The celebration of processes and stories is one of the big steps towards recognition of the creative technologist in our society. Following the discovery of a blog about Interactive Producers the past weekend at iPro, it was nice to found out about the redesign of This Happened, on a twip (? a twitter tip) by Brendan Dawes.


The event website, focuses on the stories behind interaction design projects, their concepts and the production process behind many interaction design and digital companies.
Forthcoming events on the 23rd Feb 2009 at Utrecht and on the 12th Mar in London, but you can also watch past talks online and follow them on twitter.


Founded on 2007 by Chris O’Shea, Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Müller, it has now over 20 past talks, from United Visual Artists to the co-founder of the Arduino Project.

Color me Flickr

Just a quick note about a new tool, Multicolr Search Lab, that extracts the colours from 10 million of the most “interesting” Creative Commons images on Flickr. Just select your colors and get your Flickr colored and filtered photo.

Really useful when you’re looking for a comp photo that goes well with your artwork.
IdeeInc had previously developed Visual Search Labs, but this one seems a lot more useful.

SHIFT is coming

UPDATE: Add the promo code gt-sourceinsp20a895d and get 20% off on registration

We’re almost there: the 2nd edition of Shift – Social and Human Ideas for Technology is taking place the next 15th to 17 October.

Having attended the 1st one – and loving it – i’m expecting the same amount of enthusiasm and interesting discussions on how technology is shaping society and our daily lifes.

The event is organized by close friends Bruno and Pedro (at non-profit), with 60 speakers during the 3 days, at Parque das Nacoes FIL (Lisbon). The subjects in discussion include: Education, History, Genetics, Economics, Accessibility, Usability, Mobile Technologies, Open Source, Transportation, Energy, Architecture and Art. Quite a treat, eh?

With confirmed speakers like Andy Budd, August de los Reyes, Julian Bleeker, Leonel Moura, Manuel Lima, Stowe Boyd and Tara Hunt, it shows how Portugal is becoming a great place for tech/digital conferences, after OFFF‘s success the past May.

I’ve just registered but hurry up and get one the last available tickets. Shift !

Refreshing A Source Of Inspiration

It’s been a while. The holidays were great, with lots of time away from the computer, just checking email and some occasional Twitterring. I even started pondering about the future of this blog, but not in a blogger fatigue kind of way.

One thing lead to another and a redesign was born. The “Fresh Grid” theme is less cluttered, with no rounded corner clichés. The focus is now on the content (expect more in-depth in articles), with lots of white space and serif fonts for enjoyable reading (and printing). The homepage was trimmed to only display the latest post and a featured Site and Video of the Week.

Oh, and of course, if you haven’t noticed my avatars this previous week, there’s also a new logo (above), more appropriate to “A Source Of Inspiration”. Enough of the Web2.0 look.

The new Lifestream page

There’s a lot more focus on social media, with a Twitter sidebar and a new Lifestream page, with a quick overview of what’s inspiring me in several web services. That also means the huge blogroll footer is now history, with featured websites getting a one week homepage promotion. So it’s a great chance to send your websites/campaigns/portfolios and have them showcased.

And while changing this whole thing, there’s also an updates RSS feed at The previous one should still work, but with the whole Feedburner transition to Google came just in time to include in the redesign.

No technical hiccups are expected with this redesign, but i’d love to hear your thoughts about the new A Source Of Inspiration.. Hope you like it.

A decade of your work

Patrick at Creative review shared his thoughts on how the last decade has affected our professional life, and most of it i deeply relate to, specially on how the Internet has changed the life of people that work in design, and to a broader extent, the whole society (at least in developed countries).

Photo by Eole, under a Creative Commons License

Ten years ago i was leaving university, thinking on how i would get along with Business Management, but having fun with Flash 4 on my spare time, while hanging around in IRC and building personal webpages on HotDog HTML editor. At that time, i didn’t even knew there was a job for a digital marketeer much less in advertising.

A few career changes later and past the dot com bubble, i find myself in a place i wouldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago. The last 5 years have been a reward for always keeping my faith on the enormous potential of the web. New organizational models, the rise of social media, the fall of traditional media, the birth and rise of Google, it’s been a hell of a ride.

What about you, how was your last decade? How has it changed your career? Do you find yourself at the place you envisioned ?

Hillman Curtis short films

For all the love birds out there, enjoy “Bridge”, the new short film by one of my first masters of digital creativity, Hillman Curtis.

It’s rewarding to see the path that Hillman has trailed, developing the first Macromedia Flash banners to becoming a film director. Once you find your creative genius, it’s just a matter of time until you start using it on other disciplines, making the invisible visible.