About

Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

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Thursday
Sep042014

Abby & Chris: Wedding Invitation

Abby & Chris: Wedding invitation

Another fun way to spruce up your life with visuals! The Abby & Chris Wedding invitation from Abby Ryan Design takes an ordinary wedding invitation, and makes it extraordinary with data v visualization Fun idea! Maybe try it out for your next party?!

Abby & Chris: Wedding invitation

This illustrative wedding package was designed to reflect the playfulness of Abby and Chris’s food truck wedding. First, a 18 x 24 screen printed wedding infographic that works as an invitation, program and menu. The poster was designed with the rehearsal dinner invitation as the bottom section so it could be removed for guests only coming to the wedding. Next, the save the date card, which focuses on important events in Abby and Chris’s relationship with the final date being their wedding. A wedding website was also created to keep their guests informed.

This is fun and original. A keepsake for all the guests! It also gives a lot more useful information than most wedding invitations!

Thanks to Abby for sending in the link!

Friday
Aug292014

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics

Accuracy is the most important aspect of an infographic design!

Last week, the article The Truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge by Julia Belluz on Vox Media included the infographic, Where We Donate vs. Diseases That Kill Us, that used proportionally sized circles as its data visualization. The problem with this design is that the circle sizes don’t match the values shown. This is a false visualization and significantly over exaggerates the smaller amounts of money contributed to each charity and the deaths attributed to each cause.

This causes problems because readers often just look at the visuals without reading the actual numbers. They start with the assumption that a visualization accurately represents the data. The Vox Media story and infographic already have over 12,000 shares on Facebook, and this is a great case study for designers to understand how important it is to visualize data accurately.

As readers, we see the area of two-dimensional shapes on the page to represent the different values, but design software only allows width and height adjustments to size shapes. Designers make the mistake of adjusting the diameter of circles to match the data instead of the area, which incorrectly sizes the circles dramatically. It takes some geometry calculations in a spreadsheet to find the areas and then calculate the appropriate diameters for each circle. To demonstrate, I created this corrected version of the infographic.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised

My Google Docs spreadsheet of the correct circle area and diameter calculations is available here.

Assuming this was a design mistake, and there was no intent to deceive the audience, this is a common mistake that many designers make.  So many designers, that I included an entire section on this topic in the Cool Infographics book to help designers understand how to size the area of circles.

I made one other improvement to the corrected design above by removing the color legend and listing the charities and causes of death right next to the appropriate circles. This makes the whole visualization easier for the audience to read by eliminating the need to look back-and-forth from the circles to the color legend to figure out what each circle represents.  Placing the text next to each circle keeps the information in the reader’s field of view which minimizes eye movement.

Sticking with the circles data visualization style, I wanted to take the design a little bit further. I would recommend one of two alternate improvements.  First, adding colored connecting lines is one way to make it easier for the audience to find the related circles in the columns sorted in descending order.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised Lines

A second alternative would be to sort the lists to line up the related circles.  This makes it much easier for the audience to see the direct comparisons between charitable contributions and death rates related to the same cause.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised Descending Sort

I’m passing over any discussion about whether using proportionally sized circles (a bubble chart) is the best visualization method for this data. If a designer makes the choice to use sized shapes, my point is that the data visualizations in the infographic must match the numbers using area.  David Mendoza published a good analysis worth reading and designed an alternative way to visualize the data in his article, This Bubble Chart Is Killing Me.

How else would you improve this design?

NOTE: I was able to contact the designer who created the infographic at Vox Media, and he had already realized his error after the infographic had been published. As I had guessed, he had mistakenly adjusted the diameter of the circles instead of the area. He told me that he’s working on updating the official infographic design in the article, but it hasn’t been published on the Vox Media site yet.


 

Wednesday
Aug272014

Visual Customer Service in the Social Age

Visual Customer Service in the Social Age infographic

The Visual Customer Service in the Social Age infographic created by Gryffin for TollFreeForwarding.com, describes the different social media platforms and how they could be to supplement customer service information to customers.

I’m sure you know that visual content on social media can massively improve engagement. But just how important is it?

On the web, it’s estimated that 55 percent of all traffic will be video by 2016, and mobile video traffic will increase by 1800 percent. YouTube, Instagram and Vine are currently the best platforms to maximise video engagement, so are you utilising them to their full potential in your marketing campaigns?

I like that this design takes some of the great things we know about visual information and applies it to a specific company function.  This is one way the companies can leverage the power of visual information with their customers.

It’s interesting that I couldn’t find the original infographic on either Gryffin or TollFreeForwarding.com sites.  There’s no blog post or infographic landing page on either one.

Again, we see the folk research statistic that “the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.”  This data point is quoted so often that people believe it’s true, but no one can find the research to back it up.  As far as anyone can tel, it was quoted in some marketing information from 3M in the 1980’s to support sales of transparency sheets used on overhead projects.  If you’re interest, I suggest reading these posts from Alan Levine and Darren Kuropatwa.

Found on www.mediabistro.com and Visual.ly

Thursday
Aug212014

Missing Money

Missing Money Infographic

It is no secret that the U.S. is deep in debt. But something you might not know is how much money the U.S. can’t find. The Missing Money infographic from Masters in Accounting covers multiple instances where huge amounts of money are unaccounted for.

With a national debt approaching $17 trillion, Uncle Sam is tightening his belt and looking under the cushions for extra change. But a closer look at his pocket book reveals just how little he knows about where your money is going. Below are a few examples that will make you think twice about Uncle Sam’s accounting skills.

This infographic shares some bold accusations, all meant to be shocking to the readers.  The sources are clearly cited in the footer, but in this case I would recommend including each source along with the claim in the infographic.  The publisher isn’t making any of these claims themselves, just sharing the claims from others, and that should be made clearer to the audience.  It would also be easier for the audience to follow the source link, and learn more about any particualr claim.

The first chart showing the annual increase in the U.S. Debt caused by the budget deficit should show the deficit amount at the bottom of each column instead of the top.  That would visually show that the deficit is the cause of the growing debt from one year to the next by placing it at the end of the column where the heights are different.

Thanks to Merrill for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Aug202014

Why are Superior's Cotton Threads 'Superior'?

Why are Superior's Cotton Threads 'Superior'? infographic

An infographic with information about Superior’s cotton from Egypt, Why are Superior’s Cotton Threads ‘Superior’? created by Superior Threads. This infographic focuses on comparing Egypt’s cotton to other cotton growing countries.

We created an infographic which explains why Egyptian-grown Cotton is so fantastic. Our Cotton threads are truly made from Cotton plants which are grown and harvested in Egypt.

Egyptian-grown extra-long staple Cotton

We put a lot of emphasis on ‘Egyptian-grown extra-long staple’ as a description for our Cotton threads. This is because the highest quality cotton available is Egyptian-grown extra-long staple Cotton when it comes to the textile/thread industry. ‘Extra-long staple’ means less lint and stronger thread. Egypt has the perfect growing conditions for Cotton and the result is a naturally strong and beautiful fiber.

The infographic gets straight to the point with answering its question about what makes Superior’s cotton so great. You can see in the text blurb above that Superior’s cotton comes from Egypt; however, it is not stated anywhere in the infographic.  So that information is lost when people share the infographic by itself.  Infographics take on a life of their own online, and all of your information needs to be included in that image file.

This is a great example for product companies.  Every product has a story about what consumer need it fills, or how it compares to the competition.  Companies should be using more infographic to help tell those stories to their potential customers. 

Thanks to Betsy for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Aug192014

Voice of the Photographer: Photographers Actively Engaged in Growing Skills

Voice of the Photographer: Photographers Actively Engaged in Growing Skills infographic

The field of Photography evolves quickly due to advances in technology. Eyefi has uncovered the latest trends in the field and have organized them into the Voice of the Photographer: Photographers Actively Engaged in Growing Skills infographic.

There’s just no arguing that today’s most prominent photographers are evolving at the speed of technology. Those that remain relevant do so by merging their visual talents with the latest advances, like WiFi SD cards, cloud storage, and new ways of lighting and photo manipulation.

Photographers at the top of their game must maintain a staunch dedication to continuous improvement as well. Thankfully, the web provides a bevy of opportunities to hone their craft, from top-ranking bloggers to photography-focused online magazines.

To find out exactly how and where today’s best photographers are expanding their knowledge base, Eyefi.com, creators of innovative WiFi cards, apps, and cloud services, in partnership with influencer marketing agency Evolve!, reached out to their accomplished user base with a myriad of relevant questions. The results showcase where the most influential photographers online are spending their time, money, and efforts to advance their abilities. Some are professionals, while others are hobbyists; but all these folks know how to move us with their visual storytelling skills. Check out the fascinating infographic below to learn more about the photography world’s current ever-evolving habits and trends.

I love seeing all of this survey research data shown in a visual, infographic form.  It’s so much more engaging and easier for the audience to understand.

When visualizing data with grids of icons, rows with 10 icons across are the easiest for your readers to understand.  This design includes some odd row quantities like 12, 13 and 20 icons across, which are not intuitive to the audience.  Our number system is Base-10, and icons shown in groups of 10 are the easiest to comprehend.

Thanks to Katie for sending in the link!

Monday
Aug182014

SxSW Voting Guide for Infographics and Data Visualization

We Need Your Votes!

The 2015 SxSW Voting Guide for Infographics and Data Visualization

It’s already time to start thinking about the 2015 SxSW Interactive Conference!  This past year there were more than 15 fantastic sessions about infographics and data visualization, which I summarized in my recap post “The State of Infographics at SxSW 2014”.  We’re planning for 2015 to be even bigger for the world of infographics, but we need your help!

Event proposals have all been submitted, and the next part of the process is public voting on the presentations and panels to help the SxSW committee choose which events to include in the schedule of events.  All of you can vote on the proposals related to data visualization and infographics to help make sure they make it into the schedule.  Please register on the SxSW PanelPicker site and cast your votes for all of them or just your favorites.

The voting period is August 11th - September 5th!  There were over 3,000 proposals submitted this year, and the best proposals related to infographics and data visualization I could find are in the list below.  However, I’m sure there are more.  Please post links to any proposals I missed in the comments below.  We need your votes, social shares and comments on the SxSW site to help convince the committee to include these sessions. 

To make sure each of these are chosen we need you to:

First - Vote for each of your favorites

Second -  Share on social using the buttons on the SxSW pages to increase the counters

Third - Comment on their relevancy to you personally, the committee will review the comments

Help us make data visualization and infographics the best topic at SxSW 2015!

Friday
Aug152014

This for That: A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions

This for That: A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions infographic

You’re cooking dinner and suddenly you realize you forgot an ingredient at the store! No worries, the This for That: A guide to Cooling and Baking Solutions infographic from eReplacementParts.com can help avoid the crisis by giving you easy solutions for the common missing ingredient.

Need an egg and your neighbor isn’t home? Check our guide to baking substitutions to see what else will do!

A fantastic topic for an infographic, and can be used as a handy guide.  The Online Lifespan of this topic should also last for years!  As a suggestion, knowing that people might want to keep a printout of this design in their kitchens, a PDF version would be a nice addition.

The ingredient illustration colors blend into the background too easily. The words are easy to read but the pictures are harder to see. The infographic is also missing it’s own url at the bottom of the graphic.

The infographic is well organized as well as balances graphics with words evenly.

Found on Lifehacker.com

Thursday
Aug142014

Coolness Graphed

Coolness Graphed

 

Coolness Graphed

Coolness Graphed.com has a collection of bar graphs that describes when certain actions are deemed “cool” or “uncool”. The three shown here are just a few examples from the website.

Coolness Graphed.com brings normal events together with a humorous flare by rating them in a “cool”/”uncool” bar graph. The bar graph works well with the events as a visual ranking system. No real values are needed.  Data visualization used brilliantly!  It only takes seconds for the audience to understand each one, and they are highly sharable in social media.

The site has been running for more than two years now, and keeps getting funnier!  Thanks to Jones for sending in the link!

Now also available in a book!

Wednesday
Aug132014

Shelf Help Best Business Books 

Shelf Help Best Business Books [Infographic]

This infographic is an interactive navigation interface into the collection of the top 70 business books that Vikas Malhotra has read. His Shelf Help Best Business Books infographic posted on Media-Mosaic promises to get any reader on the high road of business mastery.

I have been a biblopath since college and being in business for 20+ years, have spent countless hours browsing business books in every bookstore that I could possibly locate. In those bookstores, reclining against a shelf, many a times I have been privy to animated discussions, over the business books that should be read. Executives and students, who wish to educate themselves are forever seeking and dispensing folk wisdom on books, its contents and their authors.

With this collection of 70 business books, spread across 14 categories, I have tried to cover the full spectrum of business knowledge that one needs. These books will immediately put anyone who invests time in pursuing them on the high road of business mastery. The best way of using this collection is to start with an area that interests you or in an domain where you are facing an immediate challenge and then over time, populate your overall conceptual library.

Also as far as I know, visually this is one of a kind, Business “Shelf Help” Collection.

In case you have any suggestions or ideas to make it better or if you think I have left out any major business publication please do let me know in the comments section below and I will be happy to consider those for inclusion.

I am seeing more infographics and data visualization used as navigation tools on websites.  In this case, each book cover image appears as you hover over the book on the shelf.  I would recommend adding a clickable feature so the audience can click on any book, and be taken to that book on Amazon.

As a side note, how many of these have you read?  I’ve only read 9 of the books that Vikas included in his collection.

Thanks to Media-Mosaic for sending in the link!