Complex credit crisis requires cartoon explanation
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Withered noggins, neural pathways
Watching this “visual essay” gave me more insight into the credit crisis than the stream of news-media chatter bombarding us the last few months. Smart animation and infographics can explain complex stuff in a short amount of time (see lifecycle of a blog post) and I get excited about what this means for the futures of education, entertainment, journalism, and just plain storytelling.
I have a strong hunch about the new visual languages but I’m not sure where it will take me. For now, I’m just enjoying the ride! So far it’s brought me to Edward Tufte’s seminars and visual thinking conferences. I’m still putting together the pieces and looking for inspiration in kindred communities. One group that should have been obvious to me from the beginning (but wasn’t) is motion graphic designers.
When motion design is paired with intelligent writing, you get a brilliant form of persuasive reasoning that sticks in the mind of many contemporary viewers.
I’m a visual guy. I need you to draw me a picture. Mr. Jarvis [creator of the credit crisis video] has done exactly that, helping my withered noggin create more lasting neural pathways to understanding and retention.
Semiotics, semantics, and other academic hacks
As an ex-English Lit major, I’d always preferred text over image. The film version is rarely better than the book. A picture is worth 1000 words, but real prose strings meaning together in narrative sequential order.
The information age is rapidly dismantling my worldview. What started as a system of linked text — HTML’s Hypertext Markup Language — is increasingly a system of signs and symbols, from icons to avatars to emoticons.
Eye-catching: some links
- Israeli-based Zlango specializes in “pic-talk”, a colorful icon-based language for web and mobile.
- Three fun webcomics: xkcd, Perry Bible Fellowship, Toothpaste for Dinner
The Story of Stuff is a quirky and effective 20-minute animation of our consumerist habits and how they affect the environment and society.