Visual Agency, the agency for data visualization working with the UN

Continued growth is expected data visualization (we Italianize with “data visualization”) andinformation design (in this case there is no escape from English). It is a well-known fact: this is the age of data. The point, however, lies in knowing how to use, read, understand and tell them with new tools: interactive dashboards, videos in motion graphicsinfographics and reports. Visual Agency (Tva), in its tenth year of operation, with headquarters in Milan and branch in Dubai, is among the European leaders in the sector. The customer portfolio speaks volumes, including Brembo, Barilla, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eni, Luxottica, Unicredit, Condé Nast, the Washington Post, the UN and the EU, among others.

In a nutshell, The Visual Agency puts a face to the numbers. Sales and marketing performance is measured and optimized, financial and business data are analyzed to guide decision making, complex information and brand performance are communicated. We talked about it with Matteo Bonera35, immediately joined TVA as motion designer and creative director since 2016. Bonera, who is also a professor at Milano Polytechnic, is the sixteenth guest in #Factor R. Rewrite to be reborn.

How many companies already use data visualization, and how many will – according to estimates – use it in the coming years?
Businesses have always felt a need to visualize data. Let us think of 18th-century England, which drew on the first graphic forms to aid trade with its borderless empire. We are convinced that 100% of companies use data visualization in some way, albeit with Microsoft Excel. However, the exponential growth of data recorded in the last twenty years, combined with the growing complexity of business activities, has made it necessary to greatly improve the ability of companies to visualize and interpret this data. New types of graphics, new techniques and tools were needed. Therefore, a discipline arises as information design, the so-called information design. This new branch of design is used primarily by large companies and the public administration, but we are sure that it will soon reach SMEs as well.

Let’s make a ses back. Can you give non-professionals a brief definition of information design and data visualization?
Data visualization is the representation of data in the form of a graph, a hybrid discipline between statistics and graphic design. With information design, information is represented using design, experiences and digital platforms.

For what purpose?
The main goals are two: insight and communication. Insight involves understanding new ideas, new correlations present in a database that are not visible or interpretable with standard visualization tools such as lines, histograms, and pie charts. These tools are used to better communicate the content of a dataset, perhaps to a wider audience, making it even more engaging.

What skills and professionals are involved in these processes?
The discipline is part of information design and borrows knowledge from statistics and graphic design. There is a specific figure which is precisely that of the information designer. Computer scientists or domain experts can help you understand the initial stages. Depending on the medium, specific professional profiles are involved in the digital, video or print field.

Where does Italy, the design queen, fit in when it comes to information design?
Italian information design is particularly recognizable and valued in the world. Much of the popularity is due to the existence of the DensityDesign research center in the design department of the Politecnico di Milano, launched in 2010 by Paolo Ciuccarelli, currently director of the Center of Design at Northeastern University and partner in The Visual Agency.

Visual Agency is also landed in Dubai. Why and with what perspectives?
The center of the world is moving more and more to the east and a bridgehead to that world is important. We would then take the opportunity to have a fantastic Italian manager on board, Stefano Maruzzi, former Google Country Manager in Italy, who has lived in Dubai for years. The agency also has several clients in the United States serving from the Milan office.

How do you build the relationship with the customer?
The agency works with about thirty clients, all large organizations. We establish a consulting and production relationship that often lasts for years. For example, Eni has been our customer for 9 years, Brembo for 7, Luxottica for 5. They often turn to us for a single project, but then other needs arise.

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