Pamplona: the centre of infographics and pintxos

Last month I was in Pamplona, Spain where the world-famous running of the bulls takes place. While the bull running doesn’t show up until mid-July, the city becomes host to Malofiej, an infographics world gathering, in March. It wasn’t a surprise that infographics weren’t the first thing on the tip of people’s tongues when I arrived. Instead it was pintxos, the local name of the bite-size Spanish snacks that are commonly known as tapas. Yet, what I found was that there were a lot of similarities between infographics and pintxos and was happy to share my thoughts when Visualoop asked if I could be a guest blogger.

I had heard of and visited the popular website that started out on Tumblr in 2010. Since then Visualoop evolved into its own digital environment and is a place that is dedicated to anything and all things visual and related to data visualization.

We try to bring together experts from fields such as information design, cartography or visual journalism, with students and others interested in expanding their knowledge about data visualization.

What I didn’t realize was that its now run out of Brazil by a very charismatic and friendly Portuguese guy named Tiago. He was quite the busy bee during the conference – networking with participants, blogging everyday, and setting up interviews with people. Here he is with the very talented and respected illustrator Adolfo Arranz at Malofiej23.

Talking with @visualoop at #23malofiej

A photo posted by Adolfo Arranz (@adolfux) on

Here’s how I see the link between infographics and pintxos/tapas:

  • Pintxos are popular because it comes down to a simple idea. The clarity and simplicity of an idea is also what can make an infographic great in communicating information visually.
  • What makes (some) pintxos taste great is the ingredients and how they’re used. This goes the same for infographics – the basic building blocks and ingredients are data and information.
  • Pintxos taste much better when shared with others. Infographic design isn’t (or shouldn’t) be an individual activity, but one where ideas and interests can be shared.

Read the full post on Visualoop and also have a look around as there’s plenty to see especially if you like infographics… no pintxos unfortunately!

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