Monday, September 9, 2013

Is the NYT changing the style of its infographics?

This may be just me —and I'm aware that a handful of anecdotes doesn't make a trend— but here's a question for you: If you're a fan of The New York Times' infographics desk, haven't you noticed that the style of their data graphics is becoming more playful and colorful lately?

On Saturday the print paper ran the static version of The Voting Blocs of New York City, which includes nice black and white illustrations by Larry Buchanan. And yesterday Mike Bostock announced the publication of Constellations of Directors and Their Stars, a network visualization in which neon bluish green (!) and dark grey are the dominant colors.

Take this as a wild guess, but I see that one of the persons in the byline of that latter visualization is Jennifer Daniel (Twitter), who was recently (re)hired by the Times to work in their San Francisco bureau, so perhaps the slightly surprising style is not that surprising after all. Daniel was the graphics director at Bloomberg Businessweek after the magazine was relaunched and went through a period of staggering visual creativity. I bet that her influence won't go unnoticed in the near future.


  1. Thanks for posting about this Alberto, its cemented what I was thinking but hadn't quite joined the dots. Aside from the (now) obvious possible influence of new appts like Jennifer, there could be further reasons for this.

    The amazing fluency of skills available (and increasing) within the team further reduces the friction between ideas and execution. So the possible constraints of a news-cycle are themselves reduced. Their work has never been cookie-cutter but the creativity and talent available to Steve Duenes simply broadens the possible range of different, innovative approaches.

    Stylistically, it feels like a definite move away from the classic newspaper style infographic to a more-magazine style sensibility. It leads to some amazing work (though I personally felt the Directors/Stars project didn't quote work).

  2. It's also a departure from the traditional, ultra-deep data visualization work we've seen in the past. I have mixed feelings about it, although I'm looking forward to seeing where this (supposed) transition leads to.

  3. Actually the style is not totally new. I remember the wonderful animation "Connecting Music and Gesture" used a very similar color scheme, and that was back in April 2012.

  4. Could be, could be. It's not just the color scheme, but the colors, the style, the little illustrations. It may be just me, though, as I wrote