Once again, Pamplona, Spain became the center of the graphics universe this March for the 19th Edition of the Malofiej Conference.
The theme of this year’s conference was “iMad,” which SND/E president, Javier Errea explained as a play on words mimicking the iPad while also referring to the madness tablets are creating within the field. While Javier hoped that the conference would address, analyze, and potentially offer solutions to our tablet-induced graphics madness, much of the discussion and focus of the conference remained on the age-old challenges of creating excellent and innovative graphics — regardless of the platform.
The familiar debate surrounding the effectiveness of large data visualization was addressed, with both camps fully represented. There was also new emphasis on the graphic potential and power behind user-generated data and social media. The conference provided its 110 attendees an intimate glimpse into some of the biggest and most innovative graphic producing teams in the world and an open forum for questions and discussion.
As expected, some of the liveliest conversation came as this year’s award winners were announced. The jury this year was tough. Of the 1,350 entries submitted from 29 countries, only 110 were given awards.
There was discussion regarding the dominance of The New York Times and National Geographic Magazine with two golds each. Alberto Cairo asked what advice could be given to smaller publications that operate without the resources available to these companies.
The gold medal winning effort of Estadao.com.br was held up as an example of an efficient and effective model for smaller publications. The conversation continued unofficially through the awards banquet, where, (at least at one table), Spain’s young newspaper Público was held up as an example as a winning small example with its seven awards.
The 20th edition of the conference has been confirmed, though dates have yet to be provided. Errea has promised that it will be “more special than ever.”
Kaitlin Yarnall is the Deputy Art Director for National Geographic Magazine. Images by Luis Carmona.