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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

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NEXT EVENT: September 6, 2016

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Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Thursday
Aug112016

Predicting iPhone Release Date With DataViz

Predicting iPhone Release Date With DataViz

With no inside knowledge, I predict the new Apple iPhone announcement on September 7th, with an actual release on the Friday of the following week, on September 16th.

How do I know this? I fully expect Apple to stay true to their pattern for releasing iPhones every September. They have consistently had an announcement on a Tuesday or Wednesday early in September, followed by the actual release on the following Friday. (I think 2015 was an anomaly with an extra week before shipments)

We humans are still the best visual pattern recognition machines on the planet. Visual patterns are also one of the best ways to communicate an insight or a finding from within the data. In this visual, I've visualized just the important dates that show a clear pattern, and simplified the design to just the relevant information. You don't need the whole calendar or all of Apple's products to communicate this one insight about iPhones.

Check out all of my visualization of all of Apple's Release Patterns!

Tuesday
Aug092016

Comparing Presidential Election Forecasts

Comparing Presidential Election Forecasts

In addition to their own forecast, the NY Times maintains a great graphic Comparison of Presidential Election Forecast Models showing the current results from of seven different election forecasts based on statistical models, expert predictions and even betting markets. The results are updated daily, so check the NY Times site for the most current information!

How Other Forecasts Compare

The New York Times is one of many news organizations to publish election ratings or forecasts. Some, like FiveThirtyEight or the Princeton Election Consortium, use statistical models, as The Times does; others, like the Cook Political Report, rely on reporting and knowledgeable experts’ opinions. PredictWise uses information from betting markets.

We compile and standardize these ratings every day into one scoreboard for comparison.

Each organization’s state-by-state ratings. Viewed together, the differences between the models become much clearer.

They also publish this simple complete prediction comparison showing the total predictions from each group:

Although they have built this in HTML5 on the website, anyone could create a similar comparison graphic style using Conditional Formatting in Excel. This is a great way to highlight differences and outliers in a table of data!

Monday
Aug082016

23 Reasons to Get Excited About Data (Free eBook)

23 Reasons to Get Excited About Data IBM eBook

The team at IBM Watson Analytics has released a free, new eBook 23 Reasons to Get Excited About Data that explores the latest trends, practical applications and predictions about big data. I'm honored to have been included in the book as an expert on data visualization, along with all of the other IBM Watson Analytics applications!

These days, everyone’s tossing around the term “big data.” The term is nothing new – businesses have been collecting and analyzing data since the 1950s, before the two words were ever even uttered. Take a look back in time and you’re likely to see someone laboriously poring over a sheaf of spreadsheets, manually going through row after row to identify trends and gain insights.

More people are doing more things – personally and professionally – with data, and best practices will continue to develop. Self-serve, more democratized data analytics will Get Bigger, Get Faster and Get Cloudier!

I participated in an IBM video series about big data and visualization that you can see HERE. Data visualization is such an important conponent for humans to the analyze data, discover insights and communicate our findings to others! I'm very passionate about helping people understand how important data visualization truly is! Here are a couple of the thoughts I contributed to the ebook:

Humans are visual creatures. We can process visual information extremely fast, and are 6.5 times more likely to remember visual information than text. These are incredibly important facts when you are trying to communicate data to others. Use data visualizations to help your audience understand your information, and remember it later when it could influence their decisions or behavior. - Randy Krum

Data visualization is a language of context. You dramatically improve comprehension of your data when you design a visualization that puts your data into context for the audience. This can be a series of data points over time, or comparing your data to reference data to give the audience the perspective of how your data fits into a bigger picture. Storytelling with data is more than designing a chart, it’s the art of communicating specific insights from your data. - Randy Krum

Are you doing everything you could with your data? The future of data, along with predictive analytics and data visualization, is very exciting! Grab the free ebook now!

23 Reasons to Get Excited About Data IBM eBook Randy Krum Quote

Friday
Aug052016

Big Design 2016 Discount & Giveaway

Big Design 2016 Conference

The Big Design 2016 conference is coming up September 8-10 in Addison, TX (in the DFW area)! Big Design is a fabulous conference covering User Experience, Design, Data Visualization, Digital Marketing, Content Strategy and Usability! This year I'll be there signing copies of Cool Infographics, and I'll be giving a new talk "What Is Good Dataviz Design?"

First, I have a discount code from Big Design that will get you 20% OFF the registration cost!  Use the code DATAVIZ during checkout to get the 20% discount.

Second, this month's giveaway is one free pass to the Big Design 2016 conference! Register on the GIVEAWAYS page before 11:59pm CT on August 19, 2016 to be entered. I will randomly chose a winner on August 20th.

Wednesday
Aug032016

Very Few Americans Nominated Trump and Clinton

Designed by Alicia Parlapiano and Adam Pearce for the New York Times, this short series of data visualizations tell a very clear story about how Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees For the 2016 Presidential election.

The United States is home to 324 million people. Each square here represents 1 million people.

103 million of them are children, noncitizens or ineligible felons, and they do not have the right to vote.

88 million eligible adults do not vote at all, even in general elections.

An additional 73 million did not vote in the primaries this year, but will most likely vote in the general election.

The remaining 60 million people voted in the primaries: about 30 million each for Republicans and Democrats.

But half of the primary voters chose other candidates. Just 14 percent of eligible adults — 9 percent of the whole nation — voted for either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton will be working to win the votes of these three groups. Polls suggest they will be separated by just a handful of squares.

If you follow the news headlines, you might think a majority of Americans are in favor of one of our two Presidential nominees, but that would be a misunderstanding of election and population statistics.

This is a fantastic example of storytelling with data, and walking the audience through the data insight step-by-step.

Found on FlowingData

 

Monday
Aug012016

The Battery Life of iPhones

iPhone Usability vs Battery Durability infographic

When your iPhone says 100% battery, what does it really mean? The Battery Life Of iPhones infographic from the iPhone Doctor gives the hours of battery life for each model of iPhone based on how you are using it.

The iPhone packs quite a punch in terms of design, features, functionality and overall sexiness. It’s not much of a stretch to call it practically indispensable for modern life. There is just one inconvenience of the iPhone that leaves many in the lurch all too often – reduced battery life.

Running out of battery just when you need to use your smartphone is a constant source of frustration and annoyance and quite possibly the bane of the modern world. A simple Google search for “how to increase iPhone battery life” brings up nearly 10 million hits. That’s a lot of concerned individuals.

Take a look to see what really drains your iPhone’s charge and find out what you can do to extend its battery life.

A little out of date since it's missing the latest 6S and 6S+, but I really like the visual simplicity of the design.

Thanks to Tony for sending in the link!

Thursday
Jul142016

Why DFW? 2015

Why DFW? A guide to starting, building, and growing your business in Dallas-Fort Worth

Based on data from 2015, I designed this infographic (InfoNewt) very quickly over a weekend in conjunction with Debra Swersky (@DebraSwersky) and The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) co-working space located in downtown Dallas.

I love being a part of the Dallas startup community! It's a growing, vibrant, fully-enagaged community of entrepreneurs, and I have a bunch of ideas for future infographics.

Also created a social graphic with 2:1 Aspect ratio for easy sharing on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Wednesday
Jul132016

Global Connectivity Ranking

Global Connectivity Ranking interactive infographic world London

The Global Connectivity Ranking from Rome2rio includes a beautiful interactive data visualization showing how connected we are on a global scale. Above you can see the direct flight connections from London, the most connected city on Earth.

Just how connected are our cities?  How do we measure such connections?  How do these connections change over time?

To answer these questions, my research team at KPMG collaborated with Rome2rio to produce the Global Connectivity Ranking. We ranked all 1,212 cities on the planet which operate international airports.

The Rome2rio Global Connectivity Ranking reflects the number of international cities that a city is connected to through direct flights. It measures connections from city to city - not airport to airport. For example, the connection count for London reflects how many cities outside the UK that can be reached from any of London's 6 international airports. Rankings were computed using Rome2rio's global transit data from April 2014 and January 2016.

Choose any city on the list to animate to direct flight connections. The size of the bubbles over each city also represent the total number of connections from that city.

The default is the world view, but can also choose to focus on a single continent. Here you can see the connection from Chicago when zoomed in to only North America.

Global Connectivity Ranking interactive infographic North America Chicago

 

Tuesday
Jul122016

Made in France

Made in France Raconteur Infographic Sankey

The Made In France infographic by Raconteur uses a Sankey Diagram to plot the many-to-many relationships of top exports with top destination countries.

Infographic outlining French exports and top 10 importers, alternative exports including caviar, cigars and horsemeat and most popular markets

France exported $572 billion of goods in 2015, making it the sixth largest exporter in the world. While aircraft, cars and medicine are the country's highest-value goods, there are many other exports to varied markets.

I'm confused by the introductory paragraph. I don't see aircraft, cars or medicine in the data visualization or represented anywhere else. Did they just choose 8 random product categories they wanted to include?

Showing the two separate values for "Total Exports" and "Total of Top 10 Importers" is confusing. Especially when the Top 10 value is shown within the sankey diagram, but broken apart and connected to the 18 countries shown across the bottom of the visualization.

I really appreciate the magnifying glass interactive feature on the landing page! I like this approach better than the standard zooming interface you soo on many other large, complicated infographics.

Made in France Raconteur Infographic Magnify

Monday
Jul112016

PopWaves: Making of the Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music

PopWaves: Making of the Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music

This is one of my favorite designs! PopWaves is a fantastically detailed, hand-drawn poster that visualizes over 60 years (1955-2015) of the evolution of Pop and Rock music. It's a huge poster, measuring in at 89" x 24", over 7ft long! Released in 2015, PopWaves is a massive update to the original Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music design by Reebee Garofalo and printed posters are distributed by HistoryShots. When it was released, I sent Reebee and Larry Gormley (HistoryShots) a number of questions about creating the poster.

60 years of music! 1200 music artists! 75 genres! Two years in the making. PopWaves picks up where the classic Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music left off; it maps the top pop artists of each year since rock ‘n’ roll began by style. Bolded titles and genre boundaries show the flow and interrelationships among styles; artist names and dashed arrows represent moments of peak popularity. 

Meticulously researched, reviewed by experts, and subjectively categorized, this humongous, carefully hand-lettered, 7 foot long beast of a chart will provide you with endless hours of musical memories and arguments with your friends. Perfect for music lovers and owners of large walls everywhere.

 

PopWaves: Making of the Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music close upPopWaves: close up


PopWaves: Making of the Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music ZoomedEven closer!  

Reebee Garofalo with his complete designReebee Garofalo with his complete design

Cool Infographics: What were your thoughts and reasoning behind the new PopWaves poster design?

Reebee Garofalo: The original version of what is now called PopWaves grew from my love of pin striping on cars and my desire to capture the contours and flow of the mid-20th century pop/rock/soul market in graphic form, as part of the research I was doing for Rock 'N' Roll is Here to Pay: The History and Politics of the Music Industry by Steve Chapple and myself. I first got the idea from a rough drawing that Charlie Gillett did on the cover of the 1970 paperback edition of his seminal The Sound of the City. It first appeared as a three-page fold-out called Marketing Trends and Stylistic Patterns in Pop/Rock Music in early printings of the book, which was published in 1977, (and then was reduced to smaller sizes in subsequent printings). This is the version that appears in Ed Tufte’s Visual Explanations.

         

Original chart: Click to see in detail

Reebee Garofalo: In 1979, I was commissioned by NBC Radio to update the chart to 1978, at which point I renamed it The Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music. This is the version that is displayed on the HistoryShots website. In the interim, this graphic has had a long and venerable history of popping up in some very interesting places.


Reebee Garofalo: Although PopWaves is essentially an extension and an update of the Genealogy, the construction of PopWaves not only occasioned the creation of dozens of new genre names, it also necessitated some refinements in the original graphic. The soul categories were further subdivided to include southern soul and funk. Art rock, glam, and southern boogie were added to the rock lexicon.

Larry Gormley and I talked about updating and greatly expanding my original chart for many years. Finally, in 2013, the openness of my schedule and my enthusiasm to tackle such a large project aligned and I started work that spring. I once estimated that the original graphic took me about 100 hours to complete. PopWaves clocked in at around 300 hours. In both instances, I did all the initial design work and the original drawings myself, then brought in artists with calligraphy skills to do the final lettering. Larry spent another few hundred hours on graphic design creating the production-ready version of the chart. 

Reebee's hand-drawn design in progress

Reebee Garofalo: From the beginning I used the year-end pop charts of leading trade magazines like Billboard that Larry and I researched to compile the basic data, and consulted music encyclopedias, the rock press, and, more recently, any number of online databases, as well as a team of experts in the field (academics, radio personalities, music journalists, etc) to help me craft genres names and categorize hard-to-place artists. Still, the results are quite subjective, much more an art than a science. 

It is worth noting that the various inputs that determine the chart position of a given recording have changed over time. What was once a straightforward, if notoriously corrupt, tabulation of record sales and radio play, has become an unruly assemblage of new formats and platforms, and new ways of accessing and sharing music. As a result, it is unclear whether chart position in 2014 is measuring quite the same thing as chart position in 1967.

It is also important to note that the data I am using captures the top of the commercial bubble. These are not necessarily the most interesting or talented artists, or even the most influential musically. They are simply the most broadly popular at a given moment. So there are any number of other interesting graphic representations that could be made. But this is the one I wanted to make. All its contradictions notwithstanding, it attempts to tell the story of US popular music culture, writ large.

 

Cool Infographics: The poster is a large, odd size when compared to standard 24"x36" posters. Why the unusual size and will it cause complications?

Larry Gormley (HistoryShots): From the beginning we realized that in order to do it right, PopWaves needed to be big. We understood that some people may not have the necessary wall space (that’s why we’re going to continue to sell the original chart), however, we know that many people are looking for large-format statement pieces. Also, we’ve been selling over-sized graphics for many years so we feel comfortable with all the marketing and production complexities associated with selling large charts. We’re in the process of working with our framing partner to develop a canvas-wrapped triptych version that is going to be amazing. 

 

Reebee Garofalo: More History of the Chart

As soon as the chart hit the market in Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Pay, it started generating buzz in the music community. Early on, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted to use it as a permanent installation. It was actually displayed in the original architect’s model for the Rock Hall that was made by the Burdick Group of San Francisco. The Rock Hall even sent me a contract. But then there was a complete staff turnover, and a more active Board of Directors decided that it would be difficult to decide on an appropriate genealogy for this music. You can bet there was a back story there.

In May 1978, Steve Chapple and I had a piece in Mother Jones magazine on “The Rise and Fall of FM Rock.” It was accompanied by an uninspiring artist rendering of the chart that ran as a graphic over the story. I thought it was a rather lackluster interpretation that did no justice to the original, but there it was, in the pages of Mother Jones.

The following year, NBC Radio commissioned me to update the chart for a marketing campaign they were contemplating, which I did. The woman who contracted me, however, abruptly left her job and her marketing campaign sank without a trace. But this exercise led to the version of the chart that is now available through HistoryShots.

When WGBH-TV, Boston’s PBS television station, was first developing the idea for what became the 10 part series Rock and Roll, I was called in by the Executive Producer as a possible consultant to the project. I think I talked myself out of a potentially lucrative consulting gig when I criticized the original proposal for its overproduction of Britrock and lack of attention to black artists and particularly disco. Still, they were interested in using the chart for their marketing proposal. Since they were going after big time corporate bucks, however, they didn’t want to use the original, which they thought of as . . . I think the word they used was “primitive.” Instead they created a computer generated, high tech version of the chart with circles and arrows and curlicues all over the place. Imagine Keith Haring working in an early draw program. I guess it worked though; their proposal got mega-funding.

The last time that I was brought in as a rock ‘n’ roll consultant to a major project was when Paul Allen was building the Experience Music Project in Seattle. His team of curators was interested in creating a huge sculpture in the middle of the building that depicted the “Roots and Branches” of rock ‘n’ roll — a  sort of three-dimensional version of the rock chart. Having gotten hold of a reproduction of my chart, they pulled me in to help develop the concept. Umpteen staff changes later, they still couldn’t agree on a concept, and the “Roots and Branches” idea was ultimately abandoned in favor of that gigantic guitar sculpture that now ascends dramatically to the second level. While it works well enough as an abstract sculpture, it provides little in the way of useful music history.

If WGBH didn’t like primitive and EMP couldn’t figure out how to incorporate information into its central sculpture, graphic design guru Edward Tufte touted the virtues of the chart on both counts. He decided to use the original 1974 version of the chart in his seminal graphics text Visual Explanations (1997). For those of you who have seen his road show, he uses the chart as an example of an effective design for capturing lots of information in a graphically pleasing way. “Your chart brings my book to a stop,” he once told me, “at least for those of us of a certain age!”

Los Angeles Artist Dave Muller was so taken by the chart that when he was asked to contribute an installation of his own choosing to the 2004 Whitney Biennial, the signature exhibition of New York’s Whitney Museum, he blew up the reproduction in Tufte’s book and made it the centerpiece of a 30 foot wall mural. Muller’s “appropriation” moved the chart into the realm of fine art. Muller has since mounted versions of this installation in Rome, London, Paris, Melbourne, Australia, and elsewhere, all without ever asking my permission. This has outraged many of my friends, who feel I should sue him, especially after he installed it again in 2008 in my backyard at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston. There it defined the public wall at the ICA’s entrance for almost all of 2008. I thought about suing, even talked to a lawyer, who assured me we could make big bucks. Ultimately, however, I decided that public access to information was more important than lining my pockets. I wonder if Muller knows how narrowly he dodged a bullet.

I included a copy of the original drawing as a two-page fold-out in the third edition of my book Rockin’ Out: Popular Music in the USA (2005). Also in 2005, I was approached by Marco Ferrari, a journalist working with the Italian magazine Focus, with a proposal “to compile in just one graphic timeline a (very rough) history of popular music, by genres,” using my chart as the basis for their work. The result: “River of Music,” a graphic that extends my original chart in a most engaging way to the year 2000. It appeared as an eight flap, full color, centerfold poster in the June 2005 issue of Focus.

For me, creating this chart was a labor of love that drew equally from my love of popular music (for content) and my attraction to the contours of “pinstriping” on customized 1950s cars (for graphic design). Along the way, I enjoyed the company and able assistance of many friends and acquaintances. I still remember the night that Dianne Dion (then Carasik) spilled Scotch on the original while surveying my placement of artists. When my calligraphy skills were not up to the task, my friend and former college roommate, the late Damon Rarey, stepped in with a major assist in the graphics department. (Damon was an accomplished artist in his own right; check out his legacy at www.rarey.com) For the 1978 update presented here, artist Jean Nicolazzo, my girlfriend at the time, took over Damon’s graphics role. When decisions about artists and categories seemed too complicated to manage, I was fortunate to have Sam Kopper, Allan MacDougall, Beverly Mier, Rory O’Connor, Robert Plattner, and Norm Weiner to talk to.

PopWaves picks up where The Genealogy of Pop Rock Music left off. This update could not have happened without the help of others. I am beholden to my crack team of advisors—Murray Forman, Wayne Marshall, Steve Waksman, and Elijah Wald—for their invaluable assistance in helping me to name styles and position artists. Hats off to Jan Boyd for her awesome calligraphy in the final rendering of artists’ names. And, finally, I am deeply indebted to Larry Gormley (who convinced me to take this on) for his pixel-level interventions and tasteful aesthetic choices in turning PopWaves into an appealing poster. All of the above should get some of the credit for these projects; I’ll take all of the complaints.