“Stay epically informed” reads the tagline of Pictoline, which has broken old models of communication, combining illustration, meme culture and journalism. Pictoline is not only followed by millions online, but has also collaborated with groups from UNICEF to the New York Times, from GIFs to hardback books.
Pictoline don’t tell people what news and information is important: they find out what’s important by listening to people – it's the inverse of the traditional dynamic. They don’t just track the newsmedia, but also online searches and traffic.
Mexican illustrator Eduardo Salles created this shapeshifting content creator in 2015, after the success of his blog ‘Illustrated Cynicism’, and a stint in public relations.
“Those old figures of power still think that they can set the agenda, that they still have control. It doesn’t work like that anymore. The monopoly of attention is over.”
Pictoline responds to a pressing need in the information market, Salles says. In the research phase, they saw that a huge number of people weren’t even reading the articles they are sharing on social media – they are only reading the headline.
Salles says the information market is too saturated – there’s just too much to read and digest. From this theory, Pictoline was born: a way of conveying information in a condensed, synthesized way.
“We wanted to help with a faster and more efficient digestion of information. Information dictates the format: animation, comic or computer graphics. We make sketches and then the key is to synthesize, synthesize and synthesize the information.”
Pictoline shares content via many platforms – through Facebook and Twitter and Instragram, and it is now looking at newcomers like TikTok, as well as publishing books and creating branded content. Salles is skeptical, however, about the appeal of old giants Twitter and Facebook to new generations.
“Twitter is the most combative, the most reactionary. Facebook is Christmas dinner – it’s that aunt who always asks you when you’re getting married. Instagram, on the other hand, is happyland – everything is perfect and optimistic.”