Franz Ferdinand’s latest video for Right Words pokes fun at infographics.

All of those charts we’re so proud of…

…all of those generic geometries and anatomical views…

…all of those square thingies--what are those square thingies called again?

En masse, it’s a cutting critique of the information we’ve grown to trust.

That said, we still like infographics. And the band’s lead singer Alex Kapranos, who is sounding very David Byrne on this track, no?

Watch: A Music Video That's Also A Wry Critique Of Infographics

Data visualization may be the most exciting sector of graphic design. But Franz Ferdinand’s new video has something to say about it.

"Infographic" is just a catchy word for "data visualization." And data visualization is amazing. We live in a world of unfathomable numbers, with billions (or trillions?) of new points of information recorded every day. And visualizations are key to wrapping the human mind around a world otherwise owned by machines and algorithms. So data visualization is remarkably important to our existence, and it will only be more so into the future.

But Franz Ferdinand doesn’t feel quite the same way. The band’s latest video, Right Words, directed by Jonas Odell, is a cutting criticism of our infographic-laden world that’s keen to chart-i-fy the nature of human behavior.

It can be a tough watch because so many of data visualizations’ most beloved tropes are here: anatomical cross sections, flowchart tubes, lots of arrows, Venn diagrams, and generic geometric figures, and it’s all presented in a soft screenprinted aesthetic, as if Ferdinand’s song is a limited-edition print straight out of a Brooklyn illustration shop.

Then again, could there be a more suitable concept to manifest Ferdinand’s own lyrics, "Right thoughts, right words, right actions"? Well, actually—a chord diagram would have been a pretty good call.

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5 Comments

  • James Gunter

    Hmmm. Seems more like an ode to 60s-era graphic design than a parody of infographics, but whatever.

  • Renato Murakami

    Well, those who love beautiful infographics done the right way can always go to YouTube to stuff your face up full of Royksopp anyways. Music is better too, imho

  • William Tozier

    "Franz Ferdinand" is the name of the band as a whole, not the fellow singing. Thought you might want to re-pronoun.

  • alanomaly

    If you're referring to "...Franz Ferdinand doesn’t..." instead of "Franz Ferdinand don’t", I'll see your pedantry, and raise you 3 pedant-points by pointing out that this would be re-conjugating a verb, not re-pronouning...

    (though it's probably also true that the original Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria probably doesn't feel excited by infographics since he's been dead for nearly 100 years - maybe if he'd not been assassinated he would have done since his home city of Austria would pioneer information design 20 years after his death with the works of Gerd Antz and Otto Neurath. I'll shut up now...)