Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More on Minard

A few other thoughts came to mind after my last post.

I didn’t know Chuck Minard, but I speculate that if he were alive today and wanted to use Powerpoint to speak to large groups, he might look to Garr Reynolds or Duarte Design for some ideas on making the presentation experience meaningful and memorable (see Al Gore). If he was speaking to a small group or even a single person, he might follow some of Andrew Arbela's advice on conference room style presentations.

As it is, I don’t think he was doing either.

Charles Joseph Minard lived in a very different time than we do. Isn’t it a little silly to comment on a graphic dawn almost 150 years ago using today’s context where we use tools like Powerpoint and Adobe Illustrator and where every speech assumes a projected slide show?

I mean – really?

If Minard were alive today, maybe he would be making a movie about the senseless waste of 412,000 lives in 1812, or self-publish a book, or write a blog – who knows? Point is that we can’t really understand Minard’s 19th century world using our 21st century reference points.

Still, compare it to some other 1861 graphics to see how very good this was then, and how very relevant the lessons are for modern information design. Minard’s graphic is still a better image for conference room style presentations than much of what is produced today, and remains a useful model for a single image that could be spoken to and left behind – tangible evidence of a good story told in a small group.

Ok, enough of that. I’ll now let Minard rest in peace.

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