Christoph Niemann's Philosophy of Design and Data

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

You might recognize Christoph Niemann's New Yorker covers or his instantly iconic "I LEGO N.Y." series for The New York Times, in which he evokes the Empire State Building and a Starbucks latte with just a couple tiny blocks. His playful visual style packs a punch -- each image is a delivery system for a high concentration of information. In this interview, produced by publisher Gestalten, the art director and graphic designer describes his creative approach and why his audience comes first. 

Infographics have become a bigger part of the conversation in the past few years, Niemann explains:  

I'm a great fan of the graphic language of data, of charts, of icons, of the visual reduction. And I feel that in the last, I don't know, five, 10 years, this way of presenting data has become a mainstream thing. If you would have to boil it down: What does a graphic designer do? They create bathroom signs so the women know which room to go to, and the men know which room to go to. For me, that's like the ultimate reason for being a graphic designer, and everything is a more complex derivative of that. 

Niemann goes on to talk about how his New York Times blog came together. The editors at the Times gave him a key piece of advice: make it personal. "For the Web, for something like this to work, it has to be a personal story," he says. Niemann certainly always keeps it fun; he recently "live illustrated" live tweets from the Republican National Convention in Tampa. For more examples of his work, check out his portfolio

This video was produced by Ole Wagner, Andrea Cadorin, and Sebastian Klatt for Gestalten. The publisher featured Niemann's work in a book on data and design, Data Flow 2

Watch more videos by Gestalten on the Atlantic Video channel

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http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/christoph-niemanns-philosophy-of-design-and-data/262797/