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Nicholas Felton, a guest of this creative conference, makes data beautiful

Over the past 11 years, Sydney’s Semi-Permanent has staged some 36 events in nine cities, bringing together some of the world’s most talented designers, illustrators, typographers, photographers, filmmakers, branding and marketing gurus, and general creative types to chat about their work.

For the second year in a row, Melbourne is playing host to Semi-Permanent. And among the speakers for the two-day event is New York-based infographic designer Nicholas Felton.

You probably come across Felton’s handiwork every day – he’s one of the folks responsible for the design of Facebook’s Timeline. He’s also the co-founder of Daytum, a website for anyone who’s ever wanted to catalogue the places they’ve dined out in a pie chart, and the author of the Feltron Annual Reports, in which selected aspects of Felton’s year are meticulously documented in a book of beautiful infographics.

Felton gathered data for his 2012 report via a specially designed iPhone app called Reporter (soon to be available in the App Store) that required him to answer a series of questions at various intervals of the day. The finished report can tell you anything from Felton’s most social day (Monday) and how many photos he took with his iPhone (2801) to which restaurant he visited the most in Palo Alto, California (Fuki Sushi) – and make all of that somehow seem vitally interesting.

As Felton notes, we now have access to an unprecedented amount of information about ourselves. “The next challenge is how do you make sense of it, how do you make it visually interesting. So as designers we need to become adept at working with this data, displaying it accurately, finding stories and making it consumable in the same way text and image are.”

Three more speakers to check out

Seb Lester

The London-based typographer created the ‘Salinger’ lettering that graces Penguin’s recent redesigns of JD Salinger’s book covers, the official font of 2010 Winter Olympics and mastheads for some of Britain’s biggest newspapers.

Lilli Waters

Whether she’s remembering the Black Saturday bushfires with haunting images of young survivors or creating fantastical representations of women in everyday situations for her She Raw project, this Brunswick photographer is always bold in vision and cinematic in execution.

Julian Frost

Those cute little jellybeans-with-a-death-wish from Metro Trains’ award-winning ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ campaign? They were animated by this Melbourne-based artist. Ditto those ingenious Skype emoticons, like emo dude with the flicky fringe and Saturday Night Fever dancing guy.


Want to own a limited edition Beastman print?

By Natalie Book   |  

Semi-Permanent 2013 details

1 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf 3006

Telephone 03 9235 8000

Nearby Stations: Flinders Street; Southern Cross

Price $110.00 to $340.00

Date 25 Oct 2013-26 Oct 2013

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre map

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