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Alberto Cairo

Prestes a lançar o seu segundo livro, Alberto Cairo fala da sua experiência como profissional e educador.

junho 28, 2012

É praticamente impossível que alguém envolvido com design editorial e infografia não se depare, eventualmente, com o nome Alberto Cairo. Seu trabalho poderia falar por si mesmo: diversos prêmios conquistados ao serviço de jornais e revistas, professor na conceituada School of Communication da Universidade de Miami, está prestes a lançar o seu segundo livro, e é presença regular nos principais eventos relacionados ao ‘jornalismo visual’.

Mas Cairo está longe de ser apenas mais um profissional talentoso e dedicado. As questões éticas ligadas ao jornalismo visual são tema recorrente dos seus artigos, culminando com o famoso manifesto que reuniu 106 assinaturas de 27 países, exigindo padrões mais elevados para os infográficos e propondo uma lista de seis pontos para garantir que tais padrões sejam cumpridos.

Essas preocupações são justificadas. À medida que o termo ‘infográfico’ vai ficando mais e mais abrangente, esticando-se muito além do trabalho que é feito nas redações, Alberto Cairo – e a sua ‘legião’ de pupilos e colegas – funcionam como um lembrete constante da famosa frase de Edwuard Tufte: desenhar um infográfico é tanto um ato moral quanto um ato intelectual.

Conversamos rapidamente com Alberto Cairo sobre a sua experiência como profissional e educador, e sobre o seu novo livro.

Visual Loop (VL) – Durante o seu percurso profissional, você teve a oportunidade de conhecer de perto a realidade do ‘jornalismo visual’ de vários países. De que forma a infografia é influenciada pela cultura e contexto sócio-econômico de cada lugar?

Alberto Cairo (AC) – Existem relações interessantes entre a cultura e a produção de gráficos. Nos Estados Unidos, por exemplo, o  jornalismo tradicionalmente  objetivo e imparcial levou ao desenvolvimento de um estilo infográfico sério, quase seco, que quer ser, acima de tudo, preciso e informativo. No Brasil, os infográficos tendem a ser mais coloridos e divertidos. E o próprio estilo das publicações também molda a forma como os infográficos são desenhados: os gráficos do New York Times são necessariamente diferentes dos que são produzidos por tablóides locais no Perú. Não poderia ser de outra forma, já que os públicos são muito distintos.

Dito isto, algumas pessoas pegam neste fato tão trivial e usam-no para argumentar que não existem regras universais para a criação de infográficos e design de informação. Elas estão erradas. A percepção visual do Ser Humano está assente em um único conjunto de princípios biológicos e psicológicos, independente da Cultura.  As diferenças culturais devem ser levadas em conta, mas havendo consciência de que existem bases comuns naquilo que fazemos.

A percepção visual do Ser Humano está assente em um único conjunto de princípios biológicos e psicológicos, independente da Cultura.  As diferenças culturais devem ser levadas em conta, mas havendo consciência de que existem bases comuns naquilo que fazemos.

(VL) – O termo ‘infográfico’ ganhou popularidade na internet nos últimos anos. Nas redações, porém, a infografia está presente há muito mais tempo. Esse súbito ‘interesse digital’ pelo assunto trouxe algum impacto no cotidiano dos profissionais da área?

(AC) – Acredito que sim. No lado positivo, hoje há mais infográficos do que nunca, e isso é bom, porque aumenta a procura por profissionais com conhecimentos de visualização e  design de informação. No lado negativo, os “infográficos” promovidos por agências de Marketing e Relações Públicas não são infográficos no pleno sentido da palavra, já que não exibem informação destinada a esclarecer, e sim anúncios, material promocional. Falo sobre eles aqui e aqui . Não tenho nada contra anúncios, claro: existem excelentes designers por aí que fazem trabalhos promocionais fantásticos. Mas tenho contra anúncios disfarçados, do tipo que eu critico nesses posts.

(VL) – No manifesto que redigiu juntamente com o Juan Antonio Giner, e que foi publicado em maio de 2011 no Harvard Nieman Watchdog, ficou clara a preocupação com o rigor do jornalismo visual. Existe, na sua opinião, alguma correlação entre o crescimento de práticas jornalísticas incorretas e o ambiente de crise que o setor atravessa?

(AC) – Não sei se existe uma relação direta entre o mau jornalismo e a crise nos meios de comunicação, mas acredito sim que existem fatores que explicam porque é que o público confia menos em nós hoje do que antigamente.  Tal como disse, em um artigo recente,  desenhar um infográfico, uma visualização de informação ou de um fenômeno, é um ato moral.  Devemos esforçar-nos ao máximo por uma maior clareza, rigor e profundidade. Esse é o caminho para recuperamos a credibilidade que perdemos, enquanto comunidade.

Desenhar um infográfico é um ato moral.  Devemos esforçar-nos ao máximo por uma maior clareza, rigor e profundidade. Esse é o caminho para recuperamos a credibilidade que perdemos, enquanto comunidade.

(VL) – A sua vivência como educador já lhe deve ter propiciado muitas alegrias, além de uma visão ímpar sobre o ensino de visualização de Informação no contexto das políticas de educação. E por isso, a pergunta: Tufte deveria ser leitura obrigatória nas escolas a partir de que idade?

(AC) – Creio que me está a perguntar quando deveríamos começar a ensinar princípios básicos de visualização gráfica a crianças. E a resposta é: o mais cedo possível, julgo eu.  As crianças deveriam aprender a interpretar e criar gráficos desde muito cedo. A maioria das crianças .são artistas naturais , uma vez que nós, seres humanos, somos uma espécie visual. Devíamos retirar mais vantagens disso, já que gráficos e ilustrações podem ser poderosas armas para a compreensão e comunicação.   Este não é um conceito novo:  foi proposto por Rufolf Arnheim no clássico “Visual Thinking”, e eu concordo plenamente com ele. Alguns sistemas educacionais estão dando os primeiros passos nesse sentido: alguns meses atrás, por exemplo, senti-me feliz quando vi que o meu filho, no Pré-Primário, estava aprendendo  a ler um gráfico simples.

(VL) – Para terminar, fale-nos um pouco do seu próximo livro, The Functional Art.

(AC) – The Functional Art é uma introdução ao design e visualização de informação. A ideia principal do livro é que os gráficos devem ser entendidos não apenas como ‘arte’ no sentido tradicional de ‘artes visuais’, e sim como uma ferramenta de entendimento.

Isto parece muito óbvio, mas não é. Se você acha que o seu gráfico deve funcionar como uma ferramenta que os leitores vão usar para entender melhor um determinado assunto, você deve projetá-lo de uma maneira que facilite essa compreensão. Ou seja, a função do seu gráfico impõe restrições sobre a variedade de formas que você pode usar para representar seus dados ou fenômenos. Um exemplo bem simples e básico que eu uso em conferências são os  gráficos de comparação: se você quer que seus leitores sejam capazes de comparar alguns números, não os codifique com bolhas, porque o cérebro humano não é muito bom em comparação das áreas. Em vez disso, use um gráfico de barras.

Infográficos devem ser esteticamente agradáveis, mas muitos designers pensam sobre estética antes de pensar sobre a estrutura, sobre a informação em si, sobre a história que o gráfico deve contar. Isso é um grande problema, e outro dos temas principais do livro.

O livro está dividido em quatro partes: a primeira (Foundations) explica o que são infográficos, e o que não são. No segundo (Cognition) entramos na explicação de como o sistema de percepção visual limita e afeta a forma como desenhamos infográficos. A terceira  (Practice) é uma coleção de explicações detalhadas de vários projetos. A quarta (Profiles) mostra os trabalhos de uma dúzia de designers que eu admiro.

 Infográficos devem ser esteticamente agradáveis, mas muitos designers pensam sobre estética antes de pensar sobre a estrutura, sobre a informação em si, sobre a história que o gráfico deve contar.

Gostaríamos de agradecer ao Alberto Cairo pela sua disponibilidade, e por compartilhar conosco a sua visão sobre o mundo da infografia e visualização de informação. Acesse o The Functional Art para conhecer um pouco mais do trabalho do Alberto Cairo, e siga-o no Twitter (@albertocairo).

 

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Escrito por Tiago Veloso

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

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