L'Express infographic portfolio : Sonar by L'Express

In January 2020, the weekly French newsmagazine L’Express (founded 1953, which pages has hosted writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus) acted an important rebranding. The new visual identity has been designed to be denser and more inspired by rithis and american publications, like The Economist or Guardian Weekly, rather than French runners-up. The rebranding was also an opportunity to change the approach at the images. Less photography, more illustrations, charts and maps.
Eric Chol, Editor-in-Chief, had previously run another French newsmagazine, Courrier International. This publication translates and publishes the best of foreign and international newspapers, and under his lead a regular section of infographic has appeared, called Signals, which some of most iconic data visualization works of the world is regularly translated in French. Following this successful model, M. Chol promoted the appearance of a new regular section of infographic in L’Express, but this time is developed and drawed by the newsroom itself, and not translated from existing publications. This page, called Sonar, is published every week since the first number of the rebranded L’Express (16 january 2020), and its cross-sectional identity allows a creative and editorial freedom which can cover a large panel of subjects : economic, culture, international, climate change, politics, but even more curious topics. Sonar is published in the first part sections, and had been positively welcomed by L’Express readers, even if his innovative design surprised sometimes their previously habits. Infographics was indeed rare in newsmagazine before the rebranding, restricted to bar and pie charts.
As expected, the first year of section treated largely about the pandemic and its impacts. 18 of 48 issues in 2020 was related to coronavirus crisis. But the page is also an opportunity to show, in a visual way, subject related to data like births seasonality, strength of passports or the composite drawing of French mayors, in the week before municipal elections. Periodically, the page is included in the “Story of the Week” section, which provides a more data-focused angle to the newsroom investigations. The idea behind the page is to let the charts and visualization to tell the story, and even if a brief text can introduce it, the page is more often based on the infographic itself, without texts.
Sonar is currently developed weekly by Dario Ingiusto, a former freelance cartographer and data designer who joined the newsroom on purpose some weeks before the launch of the project. Every piece is designed mainly for the print newsmagazine and later adapted for the digital publication.