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MSU professor’s symposium attracts leaders of graphic design

Friday, December 7, 2007

Karl Gude, MSU professor of journalism, recently organized a symposium that brought some of the leading minds in the field of information architecture to Newport, R.I. Information architecture visualizes data and other content to better understand it.

Gude was the information graphics director at Newsweek magazine for eight years. Even with his wealth of knowledge and experience, Gude always craves more.

“I’ve always been curious about how other people in the field do cool things,” he said. “Everybody wants to hear what everybody else does, everybody’s curious.”

It was this curiosity that drove Gude to organize the intimate symposium with 11 of the most accomplished information architects and designers in the field today. Among the attendees were Kris Viesselman, editorial and design director for National Geographic Maps; Jonathan Corum, science graphics editor for The New York Times; Mark Hernandez, art director of the CIA; and Nigel Holmes, former graphics director at Time magazine who helped spark the information graphics craze of the 1970s.

At the conference, Gude facilitated discussion about the various graphic design projects each person is working on. Researcher and designer Ben Fry demonstrated his interactive work that visualizes large amounts of data from dynamic information sources and the CIA’s art director Mark Hernandez spoke about his art department’s duties, from designing visuals for Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations regarding weapons of mass destruction to creating a visual daily report for the president.

The conference provided an opportunity for the group to listen to new ideas and learn about current trends in the industry.

“There is so much going on out there that bringing everyone together created a great opportunity for us to learn more from each other,” Gude said. He plans to make the conference an annual event and hopes to expand his list of attendees.

Gude works with students in the college of Communication Arts and Sciences to develop their skills in creating information and news graphics. With his career centered on visuals, it isn’t surprising Gude has a vision for the future of MSU.

“I’m planting a seed and trying to find a way to grow this into something really cool that will eventually generate revenue for the university, my college, and for the School of Journalism.” Gude said.

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