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

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

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NEXT EVENT: September 6, 2016

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Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Thursday
Feb112016

Power Hungry: The Rise & Fall of Electricity Consumption

Power Hungry: The Rise & Fall of Electricity Consumption infographic

Power Hungry is an infographic timeline showing the dramatic rise in energy consumption for average American homes and the recent change to a decline from energy efficient technologies and home automation. From The Home Depot and published on Inhabitat.

While the U.S. still has a long way to go with alternative energy, a new statistic has given us incredible hope for the future. For the first time in a century, energy consumption in U.S. homes has dropped. Since electricity first entered the home in the 1910’s, residential energy use has been steadily on the rise, but thanks to new developments in alternative technologies, our dependence on electricity is becoming more sustainable than ever before. From small changes, like the rise of circuit breakers and panels, to huge innovations like solar panels and home automation, the road to a cleaner, greener future has been a long — but worthwhile — process. Check out this fascinating infographic below to see how energy consumption has changed over the years.

I love my Nest thermostat and Philips Hue lights!

Wednesday
Feb102016

Beer Pairings Simplified

Beer Pairings Simplified infographic

Beer Pairings Simplified is from the menu at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. An infographic in the wild found IRL! A great visual guide to beer types, colors and suggested food pairings.

Beer may actually be more food-friendly than wine. There is certainly more flavor variety and it has an amazing capacity to pair with all kinds of foods BJ's encourages you to experiment. There are no wrong answers, but here are a few things to consider:

This is definitely simplified information, because the different types of beer can actually vary in color quite a bit. However, I think this design does a great job of simplifying complex information and helping the restaurant's guests make good decisions. Seasoned or expert beer drinkers will want more detailed, complex information, but this visual guide will probably be enough information for the majority of readers.

 

Beer Pairings Simplified Menu Photo

Tuesday
Feb092016

O'Reilly Strata Conference Discount & Giveaway

The O'Reilly Strata+Hadoop World conference is coming up quickly on March 28-31 in San Jose, CA.

First, I have a discount code from O'Reilly that will get you 20% OFF the registration cost! Click this link, and use the code AFF20 during checkout to get the 20% discount.

Second, this month's giveaway is one free Bronze pass to the Strata conference! Register on the GIVEAWAYS page before 11:59pm CT on February 29, 2016 to be entered. I will randomly chose a winner on March 1st.

Monday
Feb082016

2016 State of Small Business Report

The 2016 State of Small Business Report from Wasp Barcode highlights some of the most pressing issues facing small business owners.

According to the 2016 State of Small Business Report, 71 percent of them expect to increase revenue in 2016, a 14 percent increase over 2015’s revenue optimism.

Their optimism is holding up in the face of a few big hurdles this year, namely hiring new employees, increasing profit, and employee healthcare. More than 1,100 small business owners and executives identified these items as their top three challenges for 2016.

In addition to identifying business challenges, the State of Small Business Report also investigated small businesses’ views on the economy, hiring, government, marketing practices, and use of information technology.

Check out a few highlights and let us know what you think.

I really like the use of the infographic to highlight a few key points to draw in readers to the full report. 

A few things I would suggest that designers and publishers can learn from:

  • Make the fonts larger or make a larger version of the infographic image file available. Much of the text in the "full size" version is still too small to read.
  • Use a good description in the infographic image filename. This image was just called "Infographic-FULL-SIZE.png" which hurts you visibility with the search engines.
  • Visualize all of the data. When some data in an infographic is listed as text-only, it is perceived by readers as less important and often skipped over.
  • Include a copyright or Creative Commons license statement. I can't tell if there is one, it's too small for me to read.
  • Include the URL to the infographic landing page so readers can find the full-size original infographic when it appears on other sites that don't link back appropriately. I appreciate the link to the full report they are promoting, but readers also need the link to the infographic landing page.
  • The infographic should be linked or included in the full report page. 

Thanks to Anna for sending the link!

Friday
Feb052016

January Roundup of DataViz News

I sent this out to the Cool Infographics Mailing list previously, but I wanted to share on the blog as well. This will be a regular feature sent out to email subscribers, but I haven't decided if I will always post these on the blog as well. Thoughts?

If you're not a subscriber, you can join the email list HERE. I try to send only a few emails per month, and load with them valuable information on dataviz news, design tools, tips, upcoming dataviz events, giveaways, discounts, discussions and other valuable links.

Please tweet links to any DataViz news that should be included in future emails to @rtkrum

 

Roundup of DataViz Insights, Tools, Tips and News

 

  • Can a love of abstract art and infographic design be combined? They have more in common than we originally thought! This article by Giorgia Lupi delves into how this type of infographic was applied in explaining the "global brain drain."
  • A woman of many talents, Dona Wong, author of Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics, tells all when it comes to creating infographics that have a purpose. With infographics, data needs to be more than just design. It should provide real insight into the findings, that are easily digestible for its viewers. Read more here if you’d like to apply her wisdom to the marketing world. She will also be speaking at the AMA Analytics with Purpose Conference next week. 
  • The New York Times has announced that Amanda Cox has been named has been named editor of The Upshot
  • Visually has now been acquired by Scribble Live, a leading content marketing platform, in the hopes of uniting data and creativity to reach target audiences more effectively.

 

Visme Graphic Design Mistakes By Non-Designers

 

  • Don’t be making these design mistakes! If you’re a designer, or if you’re just getting your foot in the door, use tips from Visme to ensure that each design you make is a hit. Use discount code COOL30 for a lifetime discount 30% off your subscription.
  • Are you a Prezi user? If so, they’ve updated a new feature to create charts using your data. Check out their tutorial.
  • Your business can benefit from telling stories by visualizing data. Data Storytelling: Big Data's Next Frontier from James Kerr on Inc. provided 5 Tips to establish a necessary data storytelling environment for your business. 
  • IBM's free online dataviz site, manyeyes, was shuttered on Dec 31st, and the visualization tools are being rolled into IBM Watson Analytics over time. To learn more about what they’re offering see, click here.
  • KANTAR and Information Is Beautiful have announced the 2015 Information is Beautiful award winners! Check out the whole gallery.
  • Malofiej 24: Infographic World Summit registration is now open, with an impressive lineup of speakers coming March 6-11 in Pamplona, Spain.
  • The O'Reilly Strata+Hadoop World Conference will be taking place from March 29-31 in San Jose, CA. Use code AFF20 for 20% off tickets you can purchase here.
  •  has opened for the OpenVis Conference in April, which will be held in Boston. 
  • If you're in San Francisco, there will be a public workshop detailing storytelling using data with Cole Knaflic on February 8th.
  • A FREE one-day event in Miami, FL will be held on February 20 in celebration of World Information Architecture Day.

 

New DataViz Books:

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Webby Bill Hinderman

 

 

 


Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionalsby Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

 


Wednesday
Feb032016

Men's Dress Codes Made Simple

Men's Dress Codes Made Simple infographic

Men's Dress Codes Made Simple from Samuel Windsor will answer your questions about men's attire for any function.

Want to look the business? This visual guide to men’s dress codes helps you guarantee an impeccable appearance at any function.

Why can’t you wear a watch with white tie? Is a pinstripe suit or blazer best for business? Are brogues or Oxford shoes most suited to smart casual?

Our infographic below solves these and other dress code conundrums in seconds.

Simple use of illustrations to help make a dry topic significantly more engaging for readers. Infographics don't always need big, numerical datasets to be able to visualize information.

Thanks to Jenny for sending in the link!

Thursday
Jan282016

The Snowzilla Snowball

The Snowzilla Snowball DC Infographic

Winter Storm Jonas hit the East coast of the U.S. last weekend, and dropped an estimated 6.6 trillion cubic feet of snow, with 2.7 billion cubic feet on the nation's capital alone. (Data estimated by Ryan Maue, a digital meteorologist for Models WeatherbellJavier Zarracina at Vox Media visualized that immense amount of snow as the Snowzilla Snowball.

These are absurd numbers, too big to really comprehend. To make them more understandable, I used a 3D modeling program to show what all that snow would look like in one snowball.

I started with just Washington's snowfall — this is what it looks like compared with the US Capitol building.

The results get even more mind-boggling when you look at all the snow that fell across the United States over this past weekend.

The Snowzilla Snowball World infographic

As a general rule, I don't like 3D visualizations. However, I like this use of 3D modeling to visualize the volume of the sphere of snow. It gives the real-world perspective of space and size.

The design concept is very reminiscent of the Big Blue Marble of Water

Thanks to Michael Stoll for posting a link on Facebook!

Wednesday
Jan272016

Color Trends from 2015

Color Trends of 2015 infographic

Hopefully by now you have stopped mistaking the date for 2015. So as we say our final good byes to 2015, let us take a look back on the year with Shutterstock's Color Trends of 2015 infographic.

 

Color Infographic Video from Shutterstock on Vimeo

Shutterstock's data team identified the fastest growing colors over the past year by matching pixel data with image download behavior from our customers including brand marketers and creative professionals around the
world.

The report identifies four colors that have grown most in popularity this year are:
Color #01B1AE contains mainly GREEN color, considered cyan and a cool color.
Color #2e1a47 contains mainly BLUE color, considered a dark pastel violet color.
Color #40c1ac contains mainly GREEN color, also considered cyan and a cool color.
Color #1F2A44 contains mainly BLUE color, considered a very dark desaturated blue.

Also an interactive map illustrates the top colors making an impact in 20 countries around the world. 
Thanks to Jenn for sending in the link!
Monday
Jan252016

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web book cover

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web by Bill Hinderman is a new book that just came out in November. I had the pleasure of helping Bill as the Technical Editor on the book last year, and I can say it's a fantastic guide to structuring your data and building your code for interactive data visualizations that work perfectly on every screen size.

January Giveaway! This month I am giving away one signed copy to a randomly chosen winner. Register on the GIVEAWAYS page by 11:59pm CT on January 31, 2016 to be entered. A winner will be randomly selected on February 1st.

Data is growing exponentially, and the need to visualize it in any context has become crucial. Traditional visualizations allow important data to become lost when viewed on a small screen, and the web traffic speaks for itself – viewers repeatedly demonstrate their preference for responsive design. If you're ready to create more accessible, take-anywhere visualizations, Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web is your tailor-made solution.

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web is a handbook for any front-end development team needing a framework for integrating responsive web design into the current workflow. Written by a leading industry expert and design lead at Starbase Go, this book provides a wealth of information and practical guidance from the perspective of a real-world designer. You'll walk through the process of building data visualizations responsively as you learn best practices that build upon responsive web design principles, and get the hands-on practice you need with exercises, examples, and source code provided in every chapter. These strategies are designed to be implemented by teams large and small, with varying skill sets, so you can apply these concepts and skills to your project right away.

Responsive web design is the practice of building a website to suit base browser capability, then adding features that enhance the experience based on the user's device's capabilities. Applying these ideas to data produces visualizations that always look as if they were designed specifically for the device through which they are viewed. This book shows you how to incorporate these principles into your current practices, with highly practical hands-on training.

  • Examine the hard data surrounding responsive design
  • Master best practices with hands-on exercises
  • Learn data-based document manipulation using D3.js
  • Adapt your current strategies to responsive workflows

 

I asked Bill to answer a few questions about his book:

Who is the book intended for?

The book is for a development and design team that is looking to shift toward responsive, mobile-first practices.  While it's certainly geared most toward data visualization projects, the book spends a hefty amount of time building responsive design tenets before then getting specifically into visualization.

 

What’s the most important thing to make a great data visualization?

In my mind, the most important thing in making a great data visualization is the output being actionable.  The goal of a visualization is always to make something more clear, right?  All of the data is already...there, in its raw form.  So the initial goal, the more achievable goal, is clarity. But making something clear, and then also making it actionable - that is - pushing the reader/viewer/user toward actually doing something with the data, is where greatness shows up.

 

Do you see everyone moving towards responsive data visualization, or are a lot of companies holding back?

No, I actually don't.  I see a huge amount of people holding back, really with the same reasoning that plagued responsive design in its early stages.  That being: "People don't want to do that on mobile."  Which is, quite frankly, ridiculous.  Every study Pew has put out (I reference plenty of them in the book) shows that as soon as someone is given the opportunity to do something on mobile, they do it.  Moreover, there's an increasing amount of mobile-only users, rather than simply mobile-first.  Very soon, desktop users are going to be seen as an antiquated, legacy type of use case, rather than the default.

 

What's the difference between Responsive Data Visualization and Responsible Data Visualization?

Responsive data visualization is the practice of building data visualizations in such a way that they adapt, respond to, and feel natural regardless of whatever device type a user is accessing them with, and whatever the data set looks like.  In this way, it is the responsible way to visualize data.  So...there isn't one, I suppose.

 

What do you mean in the book by “Think Small”?

So a concept that's very closely tied to responsive design is thinking mobile-first.  That is: designing first for your most limited use case: a small screen, a bad network, sloppy, finger-based gestures.  In data visualization, we actually have an even more limited use case: no screen at all.  That's where building a good API comes into play.  Thinking of the smallest, most limited use case, say, an external call to your API from a different website, and building toward that first.  That way, as you gain real estate, features, bandwidth, you are simply enhancing something that already has a great foundation.

 

What are your thoughts on D3.js and its future?

It's the best, and I love it and if I could, I would shower it with chocolates.  D3.js is, if you're able to devote a development resource to learning it, the absolute best way to create a visualization on the web, because it uses all the languages of the web.  Because it isn't some applet, or some plugin, or some...image, I suppose, it just works intuitively like you are building normally for the web.  Because of this, I think the future is bright.  Even if it were never to be updated again (which isn't the case), it would still implicitly grow in functionality as web languages evolve and grow around it.

 

What’s available for readers on the book website: http://responsivedatavisualization.com/?

The website has snippets from every chapter of the book, along with exercises and code samples that go along with the practice sections in the chapters.  All of the code links to GitHub, and can be forked, built locally, and compared with solutions.

 

Are you speaking at any upcoming presentations or webinars?

I am!  I'll be speaking at Strata + Hadoop World San Jose in March (http://conferences.oreilly.com/strata/hadoop-big-data-ca).

 

Where’s the best place to follow you online?

The best places to follow me online are my own website (billhinderman.com), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/williamHinderman), or Twitter (twitter.com/billHinderman).

 

Thursday
Jan072016

Three Simple Resolutions to Design Better DataViz

Welcome back to the office! You’re back to work in the new year with energy and ambitions of doing better work than you’ve ever done before. Very quickly though, you fall back into the old routine and find yourself making the same charts and the same presentation slides as always. There are tight deadlines, pressure from your boss, and it’s just easier to use the templates.

Let me offer a few simple resolutions that can make your content and business communication significantly better this year.

Visualize Your Data

Visuals are so much more powerful than text and numbers. I can’t tell you how many presentations and infographics I see from lazy designers that just make the numbers really big.

“Big fonts are NOT data visualizations!”

Picture Superiority Effect infographic

Our brains process visual information faster and more easily than text, and visual information is 650% more likely to be remembered by your audience than text alone (Brain Rules, John Medina, 2009). If you want to communicate a clear message, and you want your audience to remember that message, make it visual.

Visualize Your Data infographic

Look at these two statistics. They could be on a presentation slide, in a report, or included in an infographic. Your eye is drawn to the visualized number on the left, with both a doughnut chart and an illustration of the concept of GPS location. You as the reader are more likely to remember that statistic on the left than the number on the right, which just shows the stat in a big font size.

Remove Chart Legends

It’s frustrating that the most popular charting software in the world, Microsoft Office, always includes a chart legend by default. The “tyranny of the default” is that most designers will just accept it, and not improve their charts. It’s your responsibility as the dataviz designer to make your charts as easy as possible to understand.

Legends that are separate from the visualization of the data make your readers work much harder, looking back and forth between the data and the legend, to understand your visualization. Make understanding your data visualization much faster and easier by moving the data descriptions into the chart itself, and connected to the actual data.

Remove Chart Legends infographic

Here you can see the default column chart created by PowerPoint on the left, and an improved version on the right. In this example, I removed the chart legend and added the data descriptions below each column. To add a visual element, I also added stock icons to visually represent the age groups as images on top of the chart. These chart improvements only took 10 minutes to create, and the chart is much easier to read.

Try New Ways to Visualize Your Data

You do want your audience to remember your data, right? You’re trying to help them make better decisions based on your information, and for that to be successful they have to be able to remember your data. Purchase decisions, voting decisions, health decisions, financial decisions, business decisions, and many more are all impacted by the information people have, and can remember.

Breaking out of the Big 3 charts is tough. Bar charts, line charts and pie charts (the Big 3) make up most of the dataviz in the world. However, they can also make your data look like everyone else’s. In order for visuals to be memorable to your audience the visuals need to be unique and different.

Visualizing Percentages infographic

Consider a single percentage statistic: 36%. A percentage is actually two numbers in comparison. Your data value as it compares to 100%. Pie charts are the most common way to visualize a percentage, but there are easily more than 25 different ways to visualize this statistic.

Visit sites these sites to discover new ways to visualize your data:

Design Better DataViz This Year

I ask you to make your own resolution to improve your charts and dataviz designs this year. Start with the three resolutions above, and start communicating data more effectively.