Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper (broadsheet) and La Lettura is a cultural supplement published in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. The supplement is highly regarded and includes articles and works from the most famous Italian experts on art, cinema, literature and society, amongst other subjects. Every week they dedicate a page of this supplement to visual exploration via the 'Visual Data' section and these works are produced by design agency Accurat.
For their La Lettura pieces, Accurat designs 'visual stories that depict the complexity of cultural, economical and social phenomena and systems' and they do this within the typical constraints of a newspaper editorial pressure cooker! Each piece begins on a Monday and the final solution is produced by Thursday AM. There is no real chance for preparation work to be carried out beforehand because it is not until Monday that the proposed and agreed topics are finalised.
Giorgia Lupi, one of the founders of Accurat, described to me the process behind their weekly challenge:
We start from a topic that we would like to explore and spend the first half-day understanding which could be the most interesting, unexpected, relevant or unexplored phenomena to highlight. By this point we've had the first ideas and intuitions about the visualisation on paper. We then try to confirm it [the concept] by working with the data we choose. Sometimes, of course, we have to come back to the first step! We define a final criteria to use and we look for other kind of data that would be interesting to compare, relate or (even very different ones) to contrast. We then play with and develop the visualisation...
The key point here is that they set out to find unexplored stories, never starting from the visual tools or programming languages, rather inventing a new visual model every week, first on paper and then simply with illustrator. Through the analysis of the context and the available information Accurat designs and realizes the most effective visual metaphors and diagrams to unveil the stories that lie 'hiding between the folds of numbers and data'.
One really interesting facet of this work, picking up on my recent post about defining visual style, is this comment from Giorgia...
On La Lettura we have to work with the Corriere della Sera's graphic rules (colors of background, dimensions of the artworks, only 2 fonts available etc.) and this creates, of course, a first-glance visual consistency throughout all the visualizations!
All the work done by Accurat on this Visual Data section is published on visualizing.org and includes a short, English description. Translated pieces may be published in due course. You can read more about the work of Accurat here.
Many thanks to Giorgia for taking the time to explain about her and her teams' excellent work!