• PrintMag

Gchatting with Jennifer Daniel

Bloomberg Businessweek’s graphics director on pictograms, clowns, and outsourcing sex ed to Yahoo! Answers

11:44 am Michael: Hey, Jennifer.

11:46 Jennifer: hello hello! look at me i’m typing in REAL TIME 11:47 Michael: Whoa! (Though you might have a Gchat autoresponder.) Jennifer: “your IM is important to me. please hold” 11:48 Michael: Well, I’d love to interview the automated Jennifer Daniel or the real one, if now is a good time. Jennifer: yes i love the gchat 11:50 quick meeting but i’ll be right back 🙂 ———–12 minutes 12:02 pm Jennifer: back! 12:05 Michael: So I interviewed Richard Turley [Bloomberg Businessweek’s creative director] a month ago, and he brought you up as one of the reasons why the magazine is able to tell stories so well. 12:06 He said: “We have this insanely good graphics director called Jennifer Daniel who we kind of stumbled on accidentally. She’s just kind of crazy. She doesn’t respond to briefs in the same way as a lot of people do. She doesn’t really have a very conventional head on her shoulders.” Jennifer: HA HA He’s very kind to say that. 12:07 The first time Richard emailed me was sort of like magic 12:08 JENNIFER DANIEL YOU ARE CRAZY AND I AM GOING TO CALL YOU RIGHT NOW 12:09 and then my phone rang and he hasn’t been able to get rid of me since 12:12 Michael: If you don’t have a conventional head on your shoulders, I’m curious how you’d describe the one you have. Jennifer: Pretty. That’s what my mom says at least. 12:13 No really, i mean I’m not sure i don’t do a lot of self-reflection Michael: I found this quote from you: “I have no idea what I am doing and I often say or do wildly inappropriate things.” 12:14 Jennifer: hahahahaha 12:17 I guess I try to keep things interesting. I am a slave to making people laugh. 12:18 It’s much easier to get someone interested in content they aren’t familiar with if you hoodwink them into thinking it’s entertaining when in actuality it’s about an old rich fat man Michael: Ha ha Jennifer: I don’t mean I’m trying to FOOL anyone and I don’t want to be a clown 12:19 clowns are NOT FUNNY I try to think what is interesting, what is provocative and getting someone to think and laugh then that resonates more 12:20 also it reflects well on me. Like I am smart too! ———–17-minute aside on alchemy, metalsmiths, cheese, 13th-century Italian poets, and Bob Dylan 12:37 Michael: Some elements reappear week to week—the Neurath-ish figures, the arrows—but in very different ways. 12:38 I guess what I’m wondering is how you see the visual language of the magazine. Jennifer: Oh sure, people have been using arrows though since cavemen days 🙂 I guess the magazine visually isn’t divorced from the content 12:39 they really have a similar attitude and approach The magazine can be read a couple of ways flipping through it, big numbers, dramatic photos, grabby headlines you get a skim of the week the structure is set up for people with the attention span of Bart Simpson but then you can sit down with it and study it study the charts like Lisa Simpson 12:40 (to be honest the bart simpson and lisa simpson analogy i stole from Matt Ericson at the Times) 12:44 Michael: Have you always been drawn to pictograms? I can’t always tell which illustrations are yours—I’m guessing they’re mostly the uncredited ones. 12:46 Jennifer: Well, I like pictograms because they are familiar working with a visual language that people know and then fucking with it giving it a twist to hopefully say something new it’s being able to find something everyone has noticed but not been able to articulate that I guess I try to do with my illustrations 12:47 Jennifer: Yeah, in the magazine I graffiti the issue, pick up pages, add little things here and there like a fairy illustrator

Richard calls them “jennifers”

———-Jennifer eats lunch

12:55 Michael: This is Print’s “power” issue, so I wanted to ask a hard-hitting question. ———-She has a salmon-and-cheese sandwich 1:00 Michael: Who/what do you think is the most important person/thing in the design world today? Jennifer: Jeeze! Designers take themselves so seriously! 1:01 I think google images Or maybe yahoo answers Michael: What’s the best question you’ve asked Yahoo Answers? 1:02 Jennifer: Well i went roller skating and i held hands with a boy and the next day i’m pregnant.


Photograph by Ross Mantle

Visit Jennifer Daniel at www.whatwouldjenniferdo.com and httpcolonforwardslashforwardslashwwwdotjenniferdanieldotcom.com.