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The work of Misha Simakov

More examples of visual journalism from Russia

March 30, 2014

While the world of visual journalism is still trying to cope with the recent Malofiej 22 and SND35 awards, we return to a not so happy story, about a recently extinguished print publication: the Moscow News.

That’ because our featured Portfolio of the Week is one of the persons behind the impressive infographic works that the Russian newspaper kept publishing on a consistent basis. Misha Simakov was already mentioned in this space, when we revisited the work of Masha Potashova, a couple of months ago, and today he is going to tell us about his career and the work that was so nicely done by his team at the Moscow News.

Misha Simakov portfolio

With you, Misha Simakov:

“First of all I would like to point out that the works presented below are the result of teamwork not one person. Of course, a great deal depends on me, as a leader and a team founder. But there are plenty of things my buddies can do much better than me.”

The Moscow News Newspaper Team

The Moscow News graphics department | Misha Simakov
(The Moscow News graphics department | Misha Simakov)

Infographics editor: Masha Potashova(ie); Designers: Alex Ptitzin(d), Kostya Kakovkin(d); Illustrator: Anton Marynsky(il); Art-Director: Anton Stepanov (Art); Editorial: Sasha Bogomolov (Bb) & Sasha Gubanov(es)


Misha Simakov

“I was born in now non-existent/ defunct country the USSR, and while I was growing it has turned into Russia. My parents set a great importance on providing me a technical education, so my first specialty is Applied Mathematician (Engineer-Mathematician). As I have been drawing since my childhood I did not want to limit this to just a hobby, that’s why I entered The Moscow State University of Printing Arts before the technical university graduation. In this way my first education gave me logic, while the second one – composition and typography.

It should be noted that there are no specialized institutions in Russia training specialists in infographics. It’s only now that the first short-term courses and master-classes (from one day to two-weeks) begin to appear. Thus, I studied mostly by browsing my foreign colleagues’ works.

Upon graduation I worked as a packaging designer, sometimes doing instructions and icons. Then I set to work on TV channel “Culture”, dealing mainly with typography. It was there that realized what design I wanted to do and got an infographics designer job on a web portal, where I was supposed to transfer real-time tabular data into charts, maps, and other infographic compositions. That was a perfect booster of quick thinking and optimal choice of data delivery.

Then I was invited to The Moscow News Newspaper to organize an infographic department there. However, there were no other mechanisms for infographics production beside my wish. But gradually, I came to understand what exactly infographics I wanted to do, which resulted in serious projects. There were only four of them in the first year followed by already 12 in the next one.

To implement the idea we had to recruit more specialists and to change radically the approach to work. For that purpose I invited my fellow-student Kostya Kakovkin (icons and isometric bodies) and later illustrator Anton Marynsky to my colleague Alexey Ptitzin (graphs and charts specialist). I also replaced the infographics editor with Masha Potashova (her works have been presented here and here). At the end of the year up to the schedule we delivered 6 spreads (of the project) per month in addition to charts and graphs to newspaper articles. On average we had 2-3 working days for a project.

Even though I am quite green in infographics (I started to work in this field only in 2010), we have a lot to be proud of: in 2012 we won “Bronze” (NordStream) in Malofiej XIX, and in 2013 – “Silver” (Curiosity), the work “Safe Lift” won the nomination in the contest The 2013 HOW International Design Awards. And the newspaper itself has won one of the main awards: Judges’ Special Recognition, 15th European Newspaper Award and became the finalist of the contest POYi 2013 (Pictures of the year international).


Unfortunately, in December 6, 2013, RIA Novosti News Agency was closed, and from February on, the Moscow News Newspaper ceased publication.”

Here are the works Misha shared with us:

Elevator Safety | Moscow News

 Elevator Safety, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

Curiosity | Moscow News

Curiosity, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

NordStream | Moscow News

NordStream, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

Orange vs White | Moscow News

Orange vs White, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

Van Gogh’s self-portrait history | Moscow News

Van Gogh's self-portrait history, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

T-34 Tank | Moscow News

(image: Moscow News)

The future is now | Moscow News

The future is now, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

The seven sisters | Moscow News

The seven sisters, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

Electrobike | Moscow News

Electrobike, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)c

Changing tires | Moscow News

Changing tires, infographic by Misha Simakov
(image: Moscow News)

How a cow becomes a steak | Moscow News

(image: Moscow News)

Breathing Wok | Moscow News

(image: Moscow News)

Packing for the Mountains | Moscow News

(image: Moscow News)


For more of Misha’s work, visit this Flickr profile, and we’ll return next week with another portfolio.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.