Provide information, attract and surprise, and create emotion

By Andrea Zagata, Michigan State University/SND

Citing super heros that made his mother smile, to monsters that almost made her commit him, Luiz Iria showed that creativity is at the root of all art, even the most realistic.

Now the director of Editora Abril’s infographics department, Iria says the best information graphics should preform three main functions: They provide information quickly and accurately, attract and surprise through striking images, and create emotion a reader can connect to.

The best graphics, Iria says, are those firmly grounded in reality. The more realistic the setting of the graphic, the easier it is for the reader to dive in and connect to the information.

Iria strongly emphasizes detail, especially texture. To create the most accurate textures possible, he utilizes photoshop frequently. This allows him to render anything from dinosaur skin to the bricks in the Great Wall of China.

To maintain accuracy, he does extensive research for every story, keeping in touch with the reporter throughout the process of each graphic. Iria shows the “non-visual” people what he plans to do with rough sketches and drafts. This way they can see where the project is going and gather information specifically for the flow of the design. If graphic artists make an effort to keep the reporter involved, he says, the piece will be a success.

Some may argue that super-realistic graphics are visually overwhelming, but Iria says a graphic should be placed in a way which helps the reader understand the context. His realistic style is inspired by the great artists of the Prado in Madrid.

Especially when showing something that it is impossible to photograph, such as dinosaurs or microscopic human biology, he says, a graphic should be an adventure. It should have motion, emotion, and help the reader understand something in a unique, but still precise way. “I was a creativity factory (as a child),” Iria says, “and that evolved into professional work.”