Visually Marketplace Designer Spotlight: ElkanoData

Visually’s Marketplace connects thousands of designers with clients seeking to commission infographics and data visualizations. Every week, we feature a member of our designer community here, on the blog. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at blog[at] Name: ElkanoData Age: The average age of our team is 26.5 On Visually: ElkanoData In design: 1.5 years       1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get into design, and how long have you been doing it? It all started a year and a half ago. Pau was convinced that data visualization and information design were the solution to many of the challenges that are part of the digital age. On one hand, being able to manage, analyze and visualize big data was a key problem faced by many organizations, companies and institutions. On the other, content marketing was evolving and the demand for visual content was rising due to the consumption habits of digital users. So there was a feeling, an intuition that data visualization, motion graphics and infographics could be a nice market to get into and so he decided to start the company and began looking for the right people to make that happen. First, Oscar joined the team, bringing his creativity and fresh ideas along with his solid animation and image background. Not long after came Michael with his great design skills, high attention to detail and determination to achieve visual excellence. In the second term, Cristiam joined the team, giving us the chance to play with new code languages, using open source tools and bringing infinite possibilities and technical solutions to our ideas. Guim´s incorporation was music to our ears (literally) giving that extra quality we needed in motion graphics through sound design. And last but not least came Belén, helping us to work with new clients, in new markets, and helping us look at our products from a different perspective. We are a very close-knit team, who really enjoy working together and making great things happen. We genuinely believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that each of us wouldn´t reach his or her full potential without the rest of the team. And well, that´s how we´ve got here! It is a pretty short story, but quite intense! And we hope to continue writing it for a long time to come. 2. In 7 words or less, describe your style. Creative, rigorous, skilled, passionate, multidisciplinary, innovative and techy. 3. If you could take a seminar with one designer or artist, dead or living, who would that be? Why? Pau: Steve Jobs (can he be considered a designer?) and Pablo Ferro, one of the best title sequence designers ever. Michael: Charles and Ray Eames for their creative work process and for how they made their projects so multi-faceted. Oscar: Michel Gondry because of his risk-taking innovations and creativity which have always been genuinely inspiring. 4. What’s your favorite color? Why? Blue and Burgundy (Blau & Grana) – we´re located in Barcelona, can you guess our favorite soccer team? 5. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work and what did you learn from it? Well, I think our biggest lesson so far has to do with contests and crowdsourced initiatives. One time we entered a contest that had a generous monetary prize for the winners. It was quite an interesting exercise and we knew we could do a great job. It seemed like it would be a beautiful project to work on, and that the prizes made it worth the effort. So we all worked really hard and created one of the projects we are the most proud of. We were pretty confident that our proposal was technically very strong, visually solid and conceptually innovative, and so we thought we would be among the winners. But then the results came, and it turned out that the judging criteria had nothing to do with what had initially been explained (and consequently had little to do with what we had delivered) and that our entry was not the right kind of profile they were looking for in the contest. It was a big disappointment and we all looked at each other and thought “What!?!?”… Nevertheless, being positive about it, we knew we had learned a lot, and had pushed our skills to the limit (there was very little time to do what we did), and therefore learned a lot on how to improve our workflows and technique. In the end, we had developped a great product that could be showcased to future clients. So, the lesson here is that it is very important to be sure that the judging criteria is very well defined, and that you really match what is being looked for in the contest. If you are only interested in the prizes, our advice is not to enter a competition as it depends too much on third parties and there is a high probability of being really disappointed and feeling as though you wasted your time. If, on the other hand, you want to try new stuff, challenge your limits, show others what you can do and are willing to do that for free… then go ahead. That has been our conclusion from our biggest mistake so far… and at least we have gained some good insight for the future. 6. What about your biggest achievement? Tell us about the project you are most proud of in your career so far. The truth is that every project is an achievement for us. We really enjoy doing what we do, so being able to get clients that like our work and give us creative freedom is really exciting and something to be really proud of. You can take a look at some of our most recent work here. But, if we have to choose: we are really proud of the infographic and motion graphics we did for The Economist and PEJ contest organized by

Also, it was very exciting to see that our visualization using the World Bank´s CO2 Emissions Open Data had been chosen as one of the 20 great interactive visualizations of 2012 by And The Value of Innovation in Healthcare: an interesting issue, a lot of complex concepts and a conference held at the Harvard Faculty Club with prestigious attendees from the international healthcare sector. It was a real honor for us to work on that.

7. Who should we feature in this space next? Accurat for their artistic, Italian approach to data visualization and also Catalogtree with their more Dutch, architectural stylings.

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