Stranger Than InfoVis

Stranger Than Fiction Information VisualizationI had the chance last night to see the new Will Ferrell flick, Stranger Than Fiction. In the film, Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a strictly regimented IRS agent living in Chicago whose life is turned upside-down when he discovers that every event in his life is decided by the pen of an omnipotent author.

To illustrate Harold’s almost purely systematic and mathematical thought processes, director Marc Forster (of Monster’s Ball fame) hired (links to video) Kansas City new media firm MK12 to create a series of animated information graphics integrated into much of the first fourth of the film. The graphics conspire with Ferrell’s excellent acting to create a refreshing new take on the way cinema communicates information and plot.

I highly recommend Stranger Than Fiction not only as a case study of innovative information graphics, but as a fantastic film that allows Ferrell to take a break from his comedy typecast and appear in a more serious character study.

Keeping Score

Keeping Score Interface

Produced by the San Francisco Symphony, Keeping Score is a project designed to, show that classical music can speak to everyone and instill a lifelong love of music through the use of pervasive media.

Part of the Keeping Score initiative are interactive flash websites showcasing selected classical masterpieces, and the history and music theory behind them. The works of Aaron Copland, Beethoven’s Eroica, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring are brought to life through companion sites featuring embedded audio and video, as well as interactive musical notation, wrapped up with an elegant design.

The Keeping Score companion sites are, in my opinion, some of the best examples of the proper way to use flash technology. Many designers use flash in places where it is truly un-needed and simple javascript or CSS would do. Others use flash as an excuse to create awkward non-standard interfaces that are not only hard to navigate, but hard on the eyes. With great power comes great responsibility, and Rolling Orange, who produced the Keeping Score site, wielded the power of flash to stunning ends. Mixing classic typographic design and digital-multimedia, these sites have earned a prominent place in my personal design archive, and I would argue they deserve a place in yours as well.

UCLA Student Repeatedly Tasered for Faliure to Produce ID

Breaking news today as University of California, Los Angeles student newspaper The Daily Bruin is reporting that an unidentified student was repeatedly tasered by UCPD officers last night in the schools Powell library when he failed to produce the proper identification during a random ID sweep. According to report, when the student failed to produce his BruinCard, officers at first left the library, but returned en force as the victim was leaving the facility. The police then attempted to forcibly remove the student, and when they encountered resistance, they shot him with their tasers. The incident, which occurred around 11:30 last night, was captured on video by a student citizen journalist using their camera phone. The graphic video, which is available for viewing on the Daily Bruin site, depicts the student attempting to peacefully leave the premises and the horrific abuse of power which ensues.

Onlookers repeatedly asked the officers to cease what was obviously excessive force, and were warned that they too would be tased when asking for the officers badge numbers.

The UCLA Daily Bruin provides a full report of the incident as well as ongoing coverage.

[via BoingBoing]

Update: The student has been identified as 23 year old Mostafa Tabatabainejad.

Chloroflot 2006 Design Salary Survey

Rockstar Designers has just published it’s 2006 Design Salary Survey, in which they asked different types of designers all over the world how much they rake in every year. To my surprise, Hong Kong towers over the rest of the world in times of the kind of living the average designer makes, a whopping $93,607 salary. The survey also breaks down salary by experience level and specialization, with design directors of interactive agencies making almost $70k more a year than entry level graphic designers.