martes, 30 de noviembre de 2010

LA FORMULA UNO SE TOMA DUBAI






Primero que todo felicitaciones a mi gran amigo Luis Chumpitaz, Editor de Infografía de Dubái Media Incorporated y su equipo multicultural de diseñadores y editores los cuales le rindieron un verdadero tributo a la F1 con su excelente suplemento.
Luis describe la concepción de este suplemento especial, que fue encargado antes de la carrera de Abu Dhabi, y revela cómo su equipo se esforzó para hacer de un deporte muy técnico y la complicado para muchos, poder tener libre de acceso a todos los lectores.

El Gran Premio de Abu Dhabi 2010 ha cruzado la línea de meta y los asistentes a la carrera desde hace tiempo regresaron a casa, pero para los que siguen con ganas de más, un espectacular de 40 páginas infografía sobre el deporte y el circuito Yas Marina satisfacer el deseo de muchos seguidores de F1. Producido por Al Bayan, un periódico de gran formato en árabe con sede en Dubái, por Luis Chumpitaz.

Aquí Luis nos habla un poco sobre el trabajo, por ahora lo tenemos en ingles.

Happy birthday F1!
By Luis Chumpitaz

A tale of two languages
This formula one dossier was created using a similar style to previous infographics produced by our team. From the outset we knew the supplement would be in both Arabic and English text which meant writing everything twice. This presented quite a challenge as English is read from the left to right and Arabic the opposite way. Not only that, visually the sinuous Arabic letters had to sit alongside the geometrically shaped Helvetica font and we had to remember that a certain amount of text in one language does not necessarily translate into the same number of words or even characters in the other – something that even affected the names of the different teams at the top of each page.

To overcome this challenge we made a chromatic distinction between the languages using black for Arabic and cyan for the English text as well as making the English smaller than its Arabic correspondent. And because the supplement features numeric data, we were able to use the numbers to unite the content as long as they could be recognised by both groups of readers.



Telling The Story
We treated the whole project as a narrative and established the rhythm of the content by introducing the readers to the scenario and context of the story via a local to global order – something that suits our readership.
We started by featuring Yas Island itself, illustrating it via a landscape view that flowed over the first few pages. Next came the Yas Marina Circuit with a full analysis of how it compared with the sport’s other tracks around the world.
From there, we introduced a time-driven overview of F1’s history and we used that segment of the supplement to position ourselves to introduce the real stars of the story: The teams. When it came to picking the order of the teams, we went for a random sequence, mixing the famous with the newcomers, and in turn, keeping the readers’ interest all the way through.
And because the pit stop is a very necessary and important part of F1, we examined this process in detail on our final page.

The Structure
Having decided the language and order of the supplement, we then needed the right structure to present the data. We had two kinds of information to deliver: Chronological and technical and in some respects, spacial as well. We believe that everything in this world has a time and occupies a space and almost every graphic should align itself with either of these categories, be it time or space.
So the chronological information featured in the timeline had by de fault a self-shaped definition but the packaging of other data could be moulded in a more versatile way depending on the kind of data we were going to display such as the positions on the grid or how the f-duct works.


Form follows function says the modernist adage, and we let this be our guideline as we had the opportunity to shape our layout in a succession of double spreads that could be interpreted as part of the whole project or as independent units.
Given the huge amount of data we had on F1’s history, we decided to introduce the structure to the readers so that it was a reference guide for the rest of the pages.


The elements we wanted to include were the drivers, the races and the rule changes. We asked ourselves which filter would be adequate for such a diverse group of data and while at first we considered a map, we felt it would not offer a sense of evolution or any dynamism.

Telling Time
A line. A timeline is a line. Well that is the metaphor we are used to with a past and a future correlative to a front and behind. We left the latter behind and had the future in front of us as some kind of built in mechanism to visualise and understand it (1)(2).
What we said earlier regarding time and space is something we try to define every time we produce an infographic but this can often go unnoticed. So we tried to transform time into space in our minds and “...The imaginary path of time in language has direct corollaries in graphic communication. The path of time that is embedded in language is explicitly shown in graphics such as timelines and clock faces. In addition, just as language has reference points embedded in it to show where now and various thens are, graphics such as timelines and clock faces have reference points placed on them, too...(2)”

A line. A timeline is a line. So how many ways can you display it? We always strive to make things as simple as possible, so, in theory, we should have just produced a straight timeline. But we wanted a visual support to each element on the page and we needed a compositional centre. What we really needed was an object and a circle helped us with this predicament. A line as a visual centre divides a page in two – left/right, up/down and so on –but a circle can be viewed as the path of a rotating line, and therefore can be used on more ways without losing the spacial correspondence between any point of its diameter and the center, so having a permanent visual reference.

Because of that, a circle is such a pretty grid on which to spread our data (3) and perhaps because of this, it’s why circles are often used as containers of time representations to present historical data.
But for our project, the circle had an advantage over the line because the direction within it is not conditioned so obviously from left to right or vice versa. And last but not least, the circle was a useful tool to help us organise the different layers of data throughout the whole spread.


While some of the timelines look more complex than others, we tried to make a user-friendly image of every graphic, with the reader being told the information twice using redundancy as a tool in our favour.
We used diverse degrees of iconicity from the very abstract timeline of the titles to the figured grid in the upper section and the technical section at the bottom right of the page.
For the technical side, the understanding issue rose again, and in a crucial way, because the technical aspect of motorsport is a whole world of its own, almost like a Chinese box with layers upon layers of explanation. So we tried to clarify it by first making the images as understandable as possible, testing within the group how comprehensive they were. We then added the text, so that we were not just showing, but telling as well; we were therefore using semiotic capacities of both channels and taking advantage of the two extremes of the image-text relation: redundancy and informativity (4).

In this instance, the image was very descriptive but restricted to relevant details that were hierarchically defined by our decision to only colour some parts and leave others lineally defined, thus establishing different levels of content.
As you can see this project was a matter of visual management and as F1 engineers like to say when they refer to the different factors that constrain or influence their sport, it depends on the point of view.
The sun has set on this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix extravaganza and the event has started and finished all while I was writing these lines and reading on the web about how the race evolved.
Now I can only imagine a fanatical reader picking up the supplement once again and marking the timeline of the Red Bull team page with a little star and number one just to make sure the history is correct. And, with that, the F1 circle is complete once more.

(1)Mitchell,Marilyn. The Visual Representation of Time in Timelines, Graphs and Charts
http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1113&context=hss_pubs
(2)Malamed,Connie. The Visual Language of Timelines. http://understandinggraphics.com/visualizations/visual-language-of-timelines
(3)Benadon, Fernando. A Circular Plot for Rhythm Visualization and Analysis.Here a example appliapplied to timing in music; http://mto.societymusictheory.org/issues/mto.07.13.3/mto.07.13.3.benadon.html
(4) Santaella, Lucia et al. Imagen: comunicación, semiótica y medios. Reichenberg edition, 2003. p46.