Summary I: Malofiej 27 summit (Pamplona)

Malofiej is one of the most interesting gatherings in the world of infographics (and some data visualization). Here is a brief summary of the Malofiej #27 conference (March 27th to March 29th, 2019) in Pamplona. I included all links, materials, slides & threads I was aware of. Please get in touch if there’s more material that should be added.

For some talks, Katherine Haugh has created graphic recordings, which I include here with her permission. This page covers the first conference day, the talks of the second day can be found here.


The opening took place at the Planetarium in Pamplona with a reception address by Javier Errea, Chairman of Malofiej 27 Awards & Summit. Notable here was the special historical exhibit put together by Errea and his team, covering the work of John Emslie, a prolific English draughtsman and engraver, who has created a multitude of brilliant wall charts and maps in the mid-19th century. The Malofiej 26 book contributes an in-depth article, including many unknown details about Emslie’s work, and here is a brief documentation of the show.

John Emslie: Panoramic plan of the principal rivers and lakes (© public domain, source Wikimedia Commons)


Alberto Cairo (jury member) kicked things off presenting the ideas behind his upcoming book How Charts Lie. Getting Smarter about Visual Information. He took off criticising a few common misconceptions regarding infographics such as “A picture is worth more than 1000 words” or “Show, don’t tell!” His slides can be found here, and here is a live tweeting thread by Jules Grandin summarizing the talk. Also, Alberto gave a short introduction interview to the Malofiej team.

Graphic recording of Alberto Cairo’s talk © Katherine Haugh


Next up I had the honor, together with Michael Stoll, to present a new project about The History of Information Graphics, which is scheduled to come out as a book in May 2019 from Taschen Publishing. The book will include infographic works from 1200 years, from the year 800 AD up to the year 2000. Furthermore, four experts on the history of infographics contributed individual chapters: David Rumsey, Michael Friendly, Michael Stoll and Scott Klein. Our slides are here.

Graphic recording of Michael Stoll’s and my talk © Katherine Haugh


Next up was Al Shaw from ProPublica (jury member) with How visualizing floods can teach us about our past, and our future. He elaborated on the intricacies of finding up-to-date data and the limitations of dataviz for natural hazard forecasts. His slides were published here, meanwhile here’s the Twitter thread by Jules Grandin. He, too, provided an interview for the Malofiej website.

Bildschirmfoto 2019-04-09 um 11.13.26
Screenshot from Al’s presentation
Graphic recording of Al Shaw’s talk © Katherine Haugh



Berlin-based Gregor Aisch (jury member), now at Datawrapper, gave a little tour through his experiences creating data viz tools for journalists: The Monsters of Our Own Making — what I learned from making charting tools for newsrooms. It was really nice to follow his trajectory from early projects to Datawrapper to the New York Times and back to Datawrapper. Here’s a live tweeting thread of the talk by Clara Dealberto, and here his interview for the Malofiej website.


Shirley Wu (jury member) from San Francisco titled her talk Data, design, codeshowing a few of her recent projects and recounting a few lessons learned. Among others, she discussed her project Bussed Out, an in-depth data journalism project she created in collaboration with the Guardian. Again, here is Clara Dealberto’s live tweeting thread, and here are Shirley’s slides and the GitHub repo for the live coding example she did at the end of her talk.

Graphic recording of Shirley’s talk © Katherine Haugh


In his talk Interactive experiences, things we have learned, Ricard Marfá (jury member) discussed the challenges of making timely interactives for both print and online (desktop and mobile) with a small team. He is the digital art director of Catalan newspaper Diari ARA. Ricard’s interview for the Malofiej team is here. Some of the projects of this team are published here. Ricard’s slides can be found here, and again here is the live twitter feed from Jules again.

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Screenshot from Ricard’s presentation


Fresh back from the lunch break, we listened to Yosune Chamizo (jury member) from Mexico, who lead us into the depth of endemic murder rates in Mexico. She works for Animal Politico, an independent digital news outlet based in Mexico City. In her talk To Murder in Mexico: Impunity Guaranteed, she elaborated on the design of an educational poster that helps guide relatives of murder victims through the complicated procedures of a murder police investigation. Although Yosune comes across as a cheerful person, her talk was heart-breaking. See pic below. Her Malofiej interview is here, the poster can be found here, and again here is the live Twitter thread by Jules.


John Burn-Murdoch (jury member) from the Financial Times followed up next with his talk Changing minds with graphics, who guided us through his research and reflections on how to best convey a message visually. He published his slides here, and Clara Dealberto live-tweeted the talk. John finished by live-commenting his bar chart race of the most populous cities over a few centuries, a piece which went viral on Twitter recently. John’s Malofiej introduction is here.

Graphic recording of John Burn-Murdoch’s talk © Katherine Haugh


And after the coffee break, cartographer Laris Karklis (jury member) from the Washington Post delivered the funniest talk of the day with his The art in locator map making. Tips and tricks to survive the breaking news map situation. Laris advised cartographers working on tight deadlines to get their C.R.A.P. together, as in contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. The Malofiej interview is here, and here is the live thread, again by Jules. Also, Laris published his presentation – definitely worth checking, as he made some cartographic fun using the names of his fellow jurors and also had some very funny pics in there, such as this:

Screenshot from Laris’ presentation


The evening brought a round table discussion on Videographics off-site, with Jaime Serra and Alberto Cairo. Also worth mentioning: the exhibition Cinegraphics, which explored the common ground between infographics and cinema. A brief documentation of the show can be found here.

This was day one, and here is day two.

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