POV: Interview with Sergio Fernandez Gallardo, Infographics Designer

Jami Oetting
Jami Oetting

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sergio-fernandez-gallardoAs the design director for We.Design.Infographics, Sergio Fernandez Gallardo has a passion for taking data and information and using it to form beautiful infographics for clients such as IBM, Kaplan, the Mayor of London, OgilvyOne and The Guardian. Gallardo’s work extends beyond infographics to print design and even packaging. His Ode to Kitchen Appliances for The Mixtape Project is a treat to any participant who receives his beautifully crafted track list made of cardboard and ‘50s era advertising printouts.

How did you get into the field of design? What makes you passionate about your work?

When I was studying advertising in Madrid I realized I wanted to do more creative stuff, so I started a creative photography course. After that, I studied three more courses involving photography and graphic design while at the university, and then I found my first job in a small studio. I don’t know exactly what makes me passionate about design. I truly love design and I don’t think I could do anything else.

kaplan_infographic-cropInfographics and data visualizations have become an increasingly popular form of online content. Why do you think this is? What about this type of presentation entices individuals to share this content?

I think they have become really popular because there is so much information being distributed. People need to filter this information in some way to be understandable. Apart from that, the advertising industry has realized infographics are a new way to stand out from the crowd when promoting a product. There is no longer a mandate on what types and style of information you present to the public. Now, we can create visuals that are useful and people love to share.

What is the most challenging aspect of creating an infographic?

Be accurate and be easy to understand. Give important information in the most beautiful way possible.

What makes an infographic “good”? How do you create work that stands out from the multitude of infographics published each month?

The key is the concept and the message that you want to put across. There are loads of stunning infographics out there that are very difficult to understand. I always try to extract very simple concepts and create graphics using plain shapes, a few colors and an easy-to-read font.

As the design director at We.Design.Infographics, how do you approach a new project? What is your process for beginning to create the visuals for large amounts of data?

It all depends on how the client provides the information. Normally, the client supplies a report or a study that we read thoughtfully and then extract the key concepts. From there, there are many ways to approach an infographic. This will depend on if the client wants something very graphical and corporate or if they want a more illustrative and less serious approach.

What have been some of your favorite projects to work on and why?

The infographics I’ve made for Happy Wednesday magazine are my favorite because the subjects are really playful and enjoyable. The one I made for IBM was a very difficult project because of the vast amount of data they had, but I’m quite happy with the outcome.

What exciting trends do you see in the field in design and data visualizations?

I think for me the most exciting trend is interactive infographics. Interaction allows people to play with the information, and they can explore different combinations of the information they are particularly interested in.

What is your philosophy for design and visual communication?

My philosophy is to keep it simple and clear. It needs to created in a way that can be understood by your grandma, but it also should be visually appealing so you want to share it with your friends.

What other types of projects do you like to work on as a freelancer?

Lately, I’ve been working designing campaigns for the Mayor of London and also magazines and websites.

Who are some of your top people and/or companies to follow on Twitter for updates on topics related to infographics and/or design? Top blogs to follow?

I’ve got many sources. To mention some, I would say Fast Company, Information is Beautiful, The Guardian, Wired, Flowing Data, The New York Times, Well-formed Data, Behance and Pinterest.

Music that gets you in your zone: Music plays a very important part in my life, as I’m musician as well. I love rock in general. Bands like “Wilco”, “The National”, “Arcade Fire”, “Radiohead” or “Bright Eyes” are always in my playlists.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user alangrlane.

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