DC WonkComms Breakfast Club: What’s Next for Data Visualization?

Yes, you’ve seen this description before. It was such a hit in the UK that we’re reprising it in DC.*

Over the last decade infographics have become a core part of the policy communications inventory. Now it seems as if every report must have an infographic summary to be reproduced online and in presentations and re-tweeted ad nauseam. Interactive data tools have become more and more prevalent.

But are we becoming jaded with a graphic style dominated by stick figures and icons? Are we guilty of oversimplifying complex ideas and underestimating our audiences? Are infographics nearing the end of their useful life or have we just seen too many bad ones? Do interactive data tools really draw big audiences and justify the money spent on them?

Can we recapture a sense of excitement, originality and, above all, usefulness in our data visualizations?

At this WonkComms breakfast club, we’ll hear from:

Sonia Jalfin, the founder and director of Sociopublico, a communications studio that spreads complex ideas. Based in Buenos Aires, Sonia has partnered with the World Bank, UN agencies, IADB and many other global knowledge producers. Sonia has been Cultural Director at Telefé, an Argentine TV broadcaster and currently writes a column on innovation at La Nación newspaper. She received the Merit Award from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she took her masters degree in Communications.

Carni Klirs, senior designer at World Resources Institute, specializes in designing data visualizations and infographics to explain complex topics to everyday audiences. He received his Master’s degree in Information Visualization from Maryland Institute College of Art, and his B.A. in Graphic Design from American University.

We will then open the discuss out to those around the table to consider the following questions:

  • What kind of infographics work best in communicating research?
  • Has social media encouraged the oversimplification of complex ideas?
  • Who are we actually trying to reach with infographics and are there better alternatives?
  • How can we go about producing original and impactful infographics and data visualizations as part of our everyday workflows?
  • How can data visualization help us in producing research and policy ideas as well as in communicating it?


Wednesday, 30 October 2019
World Resources Institute, Washington, DC


* You can tell this is the American version from the proper spelling of “visualization” in the title.


Joe Miller is the Director of the DC studio of Soapbox, a design and digital agency that focuses on creative communications for ideas that matter. He has led digital strategy projects at Eastern Research Group, The Century Foundation, and the Congressional Budget Office. Prior to his shift to content strategy, we was a senior staff writer at FactCheck.org, a copywriter with the Mack/Crounse Group and an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina—Pembroke and the United States Military Academy. He received his PhD in political philosophy from the University of Virginia, his MA in philosophy from Virginia Tech, and his BA in philosophy from Hampden-Sydney College.

Posted in breakfast club
2 comments on “DC WonkComms Breakfast Club: What’s Next for Data Visualization?
  1. Hannah Marazzi says:


    I hope this email finds you well. This seems like such an interesting event. While I will be unable to attend in person, I’m wondering if I will be able to procure the slides from this event?

    I look forward to learning more re: how to proceed. Thank you for undertaking this excellent and necessary work.

    Kind regards,

    Hannah Marazzi

  2. Laura McCullagh says:

    I sooo want to come and have booked but won’t be able to make it – can I get hold of slides/recording/?? thanks !!

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