Tuesday, February 21, 2012

'I Will Furnish the War': an old article on infographics in times of conflict

The image above comes from Colin Powell's address to the UN Security Council on February 2003. It was one of the main tools used to build the case for the invasion of Iraq, and one of the most egregious examples of information graphics malfeasance I have ever seen.

It is also a highlight in an article of mine that appeared in Design, the magazine of the Society for News Design, on information graphics during times of war. Its headline uses William Randolph Hearst's famous —and apocryphal, it seems— sentence 'I will furnish the war'.

The article, which you can download here in its original, rough form, was going to be a chapter of a book I started writing back in 2005 titled Visual Journalism; you can even find interviews where I talked about that project, which I never finished. I released portions of it as articles, which I am planning to recover for this site; other parts have been included into The Functional Art, although they have changed quite a lot; and a long section on maps and statistical charts —more than one hundred pages— is waiting in my hard drive until I decide what to do with it. Maybe it will become the core of a future book on cartography and charts for journalists, you never know...

(Other old articles and portions of 'Visual Journalism' will be published soon)