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The Functional Art - Interview with Juan Velasco and Fernaodo Baptista

Updated: May 7, 2019

In the interview, Juan and Fernaodo showed me how they usually work. Specifically, their interview highlights the importance of the accuracy and precision of an infographic. After coming up with a proposal for an infographic. A pre-research will be conducted including scientific articles, books, maps and even drawings to get all data and information. Sometimes getting a precise understanding of data requires even more than those. Fernaodo once flew to Turkey himself for one project and combined the result from his field research with scientist working to make sure every detail was precise. All information and data they use are based on multiple sources and are all from firsthand research. They would go directly to the original resources, double check them and have them reviewed by experts. Having data reviewed by experts not only help with accuracy, sometimes can inspire ideas, too. In one of their projects about population, ideas from one expert inspired a new way to present the dry an unsophisticated data in a more intriguing way by changing the focus of the data from normal categorization like sexes, ages and countries to the most common kind of person in the world - a 28-year-old male of the Han ethnicity, from China.


I saw the importance of first-hand research in one of my project - sometimes, data for the same thing even from the same source could be inconsistent in different publications. When I was doing my first project, simply out of curiosity, I compared the ALICE report published in 2012 with the one published in 2018 and found out some data for the same county in the same year were different in two reports which were published by the same organization - even I was not using those data. I started to worry about the accuracy of the data that I was using so I found the original data source that they used. It turned out that the there were some data showed in both two reports which was not only different from each other, but also different from the original data - which could lead my story to a totally different version. After reading this interview, I will definetly find the original source for the data the I find for a project and double check it before starting to sketching my story - after all, "Good illustration is accurate depictions of reality with thousands of very precise data points."

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