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

DFW DataViz Meetup

Join the Meetup Group if you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!

Search the Cool Infographics site

Custom Search

Subscriptions:

 

Feedburner

The Cool Infographics® Gallery:

How to add the
Cool Infographics button to your:

Cool Infographics iOS icon

- iPhone
- iPad
- iPod Touch

 

Read on Flipboard for iPad and iPhone

Featured in the Tech & Science category

Flipboard icon

Twitter Feed
From the Bookstore

Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Google Insights

Thursday
Jan212010

Don't Flush Your Credit Down the Drain (infographic)

Don’t Flush Your Credit Down the Drain is a new graphic designed for SpendOnLife.com.  Using the metaphor of “flushing your credit down the drain” the graphic explains what happens when your credit score drops to different levels.

Ever tempted to just stop paying your credit card bills? I mean, what’s the worst that could really happen? We created our latest infographic to explain how your creditors might retaliate if you stop sending them money each month. (Hint: the pipes get rustier and the rats get uglier the further down you go.) Don’t let this happen to you! 

This image straddles the line between illustration and infographic.  The illustration doesn’t convey much data other than the farther down you go, the lower you credit score becomes.  The pipes get rustier and it’s much darker on the bottom.  These visual cues let you know that lower scores are just plain “bad”. 

I think the rats are a nice touch.

Thanks to Ashley for the link!

Wednesday
Jan202010

Making-Of The Caffeine Poster - Part 2

This is Part 2 in the continuing the series to share the details behind creating The Caffeine Poster.  I am going to create one web page to combine all of these Making-Of notes together, and I’ll post a link to that in Part 3.

Where did the data come from?

There was no one, single complete source for the data.  A number of the company websites have their caffeine content listed in the Nutrition Facts of product information, so if it was available I used their own information.

EnergyFiend.com has the largest database I found of caffeine contents in drinks and foods.  If I found different values for the caffeine content on different websites, I would just use an average.

 

 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also has the caffeine content listed for many drinks.

 

As a side note, EnergyFiend also has this great Death By Caffeine calculator!

 

The drinks come is many different sizes.  Why didn’t you standardize the drinks sizes?

This was probably the feedback I’ve heard most often since posting the infographic.  I posted a short answer in the comments, but here I can provide some additional explanation.

First, the data itself isn;t that complicated.  I didn’t need to use any statistical software to massage the numbers.  A simple spreadsheet in Numbers takes care of all the number crunching.

Even in this small piece of the spreadsheet, you can see a number of different drink sizes.  My choice was to either visualize column C or D.  The mg column represents the amount of caffeine you will consume from the entire drink.  The mg/oz column represents the amount of caffeine in each oz of liquid.

From a scientific point-of-view, the mg/oz is a common denominator and is probably a true apples-to-apples comparison.  This option would have shown the strength of the caffeine concentration in each formula, and you could see how much stronger the Starbucks coffee is compared to Dunkin’ Donuts.

However, my target market for the infographic isn’t the scientist that formulates the drinks, but the consumers that drink them.  Most of these drinks aren’t available in self-serve dispensers, so the consumer will drink whatever quantity they purchase (10oz, 12oz, 16oz, etc.).  By visualizing the total caffeine content of each drink, the consumer knows instantly how much caffeine they are putting into their body when they consume a drink.

For people that want to know the concentration, maybe I’ll add that as a side note for each drink in the next version.  :)

 

The caffeine content can differ each time you brew coffee, how did you choose only one number for each drink?

Even though caffeine content may vary from one drink to the next, all of the company sites and other websites list one average number for each drink.  Because the visual is a scale, the overall intent is to visualize the drinks in comparison to each other.  Precision wasn’t as important as showing them as higher or lower caffeine content relative to each other.

To be more exact, I could have listed ranges, and that wouldn’t have changed the drink locations on the scale.  BUT, ranges also weren’t available from the data sources, so it really wasn’t an option and I didn’t worry about it too much.

Adding the caffeine content numbers in the indicator arrows was actually a last-minute change.  Originally, I had intended not to list a specific number, because the values can vary.  Without the numbers, it leaves the actual content a little vague.

I also had some friends and designers look at an early version to get some feedback, and they would ask what the numbers were.  In the end, I decided that I personally would want to see the values if I were seeing the poster for the first time, so I added them.

Good thing I did too!  I found two drinks that were reversed and in the wrong place, so adding the numbers was a great way to check the accuracy of the design.

 

What is this thing?

 

To emphasize the science behind caffeine, I included this rectangle that looks like it comes from the periodic table of elements.  Caffeine isn’t an element, so I could only use the style of the periodic table with this 3-D rendering of a caffeine molecule, the chemical formula of caffeine and the molecular weight.

 

More to come in Part 3…

Tuesday
Jan192010

6 Twitter Topic Visualizations for "Caffeine Poster"

The Caffeine Poster got a huge amount of traffic, specifically on Twitter, so I thought this would be a good chance to share a collection of the available, interactive twitter visualizations.  Although there are many visuals that show a Twitter user’s network of connections, these are visualizations that show conversations based on the search topic “caffeine poster” on Twitter.

SocialCollider.net, by Karsten Schmidt and Sascha Pohflepp, maps the connections within a conversation starting with a Twitter stream or search topic.

This experiment explores these possibilities by starting with messages on the microblogging-platform Twitter. One can search for usernames or topics, which are tracked through time and visualized much like the way a particle collider draws pictures of subatomic matter. Posts that didn’t resonate with anyone just connect to the next item in the stream. The ones that did, however, spin off and horizontally link to users or topics who relate to them, either directly or in terms of their content.

 

The Twitter Streamgraph from Jeff Clark at Neoformix.

The StreamGraph shows the usage over time for the words most highly associated with the search word. One of these series together with a time period are in a selected state and coloured red. The tweets that contain this word in the given time period are shown below the graph. You can click on another word series or time period to see different matches. In the match list you click on any word to create a different graph with tweets containing that word. You can also click on the user or comment icons and any URL to see the appropriate content in another window. If you see a large spike in one time period that hides the detail in all the other periods it will be useful to click in the area to the left of the y-axis in order to change the vertical scale.

 

Cloud.li, by Elbert F, creates a word cloud based on your search terms.

 

 

 

Trendistic will plot the tweet volume on a timeline based on your search terms.  You can click anywhere on the timeline to see the specific tweets for that time too.

Trendistic is a tool that allows you to track trends on Twitter, similarly to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into one-hour intervals.

This way, it shows how the frequency of one, two, three and four-word phrases fluctuate over time. The result is a visualization of what is popular and what is not among Twitter users, and how certain events are reflected or even predicted by themicroblogosphere.

You can enter a phrase (topic) in the 
Trendistic search box to see how its frequency varies over time, or several different topics separated by commas to see how they relate (each topic will show in the chart with a specific color): try comparing ‘dinner’ and ‘breakfast’ or ‘morning’ and ‘night’ for instance, to see how powerful it can be. 

 

 

TwitterFall shows you the tweets based on your search term, and presents them as an animated waterfall.

Twitterfall is a way of viewing the latest ‘tweets’ of upcoming trends and custom searches on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Updates fall from the top of the page in near-realtime.

For popular trends, Twitter is queried from the Twitterfall server, and results arepushed to your browser, rather than your browser doing the queries, or your computerpolling our server repeatedly. This means using Twitterfall for popular trends is nicer on Twitter than other services.

 

 

 TwitRadar.com will map out a search term, a user or a hastag into a handful of different visuals.

Google Translated from Portuguese: The TwitRadar is a tool for monitoring Twitter. With TwitRadar you can track, monitor and share real-time, the subject you want. Just type the tag you want to track, the TwitRadar show, very simple and intuitive, all that is written about it on Twitter. And not to be confused with the volume of information tracked, the TwitRadar organizes the results according to the criteria that you want.

Monday
Jan182010

Mega Shark infographic

 

I love it when someone just decides to create their own infographic.  Stivo (Stephen Taubman) created this Mega Shark infographic to demonstrate the physics behind a giant shark taking down a commercial jet airplane in the movie Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

Last year, I discovered the wonderfully cheezy and sharky movie: Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. While it certainly appealed to a more straight-to-DVD niche market of creature-feature enthusiasts, it wasn’t half bad. Pretty laughable in parts…well actually, in most parts when you consider the wooden acting and crap computer animation. However the most ridiculous scene has to be when Mega Shark takes down a commercial jetliner that is cruising over the middle of the ocean. It was this moment that took the movie from being a little ho-hum to “holy shit, did that shark just eat a plane!?”. Check out the clip for yourself on youtube here.

It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. I mean, how the hell did it do that? What would it require for a shark the size of a plane to launch itself out of the water and take down a moving aircraft? After reviewing some of my basic physics calculations (thanks SUVAT!) I came up with some pretty startling figures. However, it didn’t feel like I would be doing such an epic event justice with just a basic blog post, which meant it was time to do what I love most: an infographic! I had been itching to do one for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So with all that said, check out the resulting design below. Oh, and just click on the image to download the full size PDF version for the smaller details.

 

Great job Stivo!

Monday
Jan182010

The Electromagnetic Spectrum - infographic comic

I recently found a great old infographic from xkcd.com visualizing the Electromagnetic Spectrum.  Check out the detail in the larger version on the xkcd site.

Friday
Jan152010

World Progress Report poster - Available for one week ONLY

 

Nathan Yau at FlowingPrints has released a new poster, the World Progress Report.  It’s available for one week ONLY, and then he’s going to release the printer to start printing them up.  Orders will only be taken until January 21st.  Each 24”x30” poster is signed and numbered, and one can be yours for $26 + shipping & handling.

Nathan is doing another great thing.  All proceeds go to UNICEF’s relief effort in Haiti!

One more thing…for the first 50 people who pre-order: a free copy of Atley’s “How America Learns” poster!

 

UNdata provides a catalog of 27 United Nations statistical databases and 60 million records about the past, present, and future state of the world. Topics include demographics, life expectancy, labor levels, poverty, and a lot more. What does all that data mean though? World Progress Report, the latest from FlowingPrints, offers a look into the expansive UN collection.

In whole, the report tells a story of how we live and die, and the stuff in between.

 

Check out some of the great details in the poster:

 

 

Friday
Jan152010

Making-Of The Caffeine Poster - Part 1

As much as I love infographics, I’m not a graphic designer.  I’ve created a number of graphics for my corporate jobs, but they always deal with confidential information so I can’t share those on the blog.  Up until now, all of the graphics I’ve posted about on Cool Infographics are the work of great designers around the world.  Recently, I decided to try my hand at creating one of my own to share with everyone.

If you follow me on Twitter (@rtkrum), you may have read that I started on this back in June 2009.  I haven’t had much time to spend on it, so it definitely took longer than I originally thought.  I want to share some of the decisions and solutions I came across during the process, and maybe it will help anyone reading this when they work on their own infographics.

You may say, “This is such a simple graphic, why did it take 6 months?  It looks like it should be pretty easy.”  First, I would say that I wasn’t working on it full time, but I think the exercise also highlights how much work really goes into infographic designs.  It’s not a new sentiment, but let me say that designers don’t get enough credit.

 

What should the infographic be about?

Of course the first question I had to tackle was what should I create an infographic about?  I wanted to find something that had a lot of publicly available data, but also a topic that hadn’t already been covered by a bunch of other graphics.  A topic of interest to a lot of people, so the audience for the infographic would also be large.  I liked the idea of caffeine content because although the data is available online, it’s not included on the government regulated Nutrition Facts on drinks.  Very few companies add it voluntarily, but for the most part you have to go find the data on your own.

Also, the data available online was predominantly text figures, so you have to scroll through pages of information to find the drink you’re looking for.  This combination of hard to find data, and hard to decipher once you find it made for a good topic.

 

How to calculate the data?

I created a simple spreadsheet to massage the data, and there were two ways I could have calculated the caffeine content.  Either total caffeine content (mg), or caffeine concentration (mg/oz).  Although caffeine concentration would be a good common denominator to compare drinks, it doesn’t capture how much you consumer when you actually purchase a drink.  Most of these drinks don’t come from a dispenser where you could choose how much you wanted to drink.

For example, the Starbucks Doubleshot is a very high concentration (20 mg/oz), but it comes in a 6.5oz can.  Therefore you only get 130mg of caffeine when you drink a can.  Compare that to a McDonald’s Large Coffee that has a lower concentration (9 mg/oz), but comes in a 16oz cup for a total of 145 mg.

Ultimately, I decided to visualize the consumer friendly version that would should how much you get when you make a purchase decision, and went with the total caffeine content.

 

What type of visual should I use?

The scale was the obvious choice to show the relative content of the drinks.  Back in June, I started with a very simple sketch in my Moleskine.

 

Because there are so many drinks in the lower half, my original design thought had a closeup of the 0-100mg range.  Here’s an early working version:

I didn’t like how this looked, or how much dead space in the post this would create.  So ultimately I ended up significantly cutting down the number of drinks I could include, and moving the scale to the center so I could include drinks on both sides.

You’ll also notice how muddy brown the yellow in the middle of the scale looks in these old images.  I later figured out how to do a 3-color blend instead of just a 2-color blend from red to green.

 

What software did I use to create the poster?

This is easily the most asked question I hear about any infographic.  I use a Mac, and really only used a small number of applications.  Here’s a list of the software packages I used:

  • OmniGraffle Pro 4.2.3 - Overall layout and creation of the final image
  • Pixelmator 1.5 - Image editing
  • Keynote 5.0.3 - Used for image editing and alpha masks
  • Numbers 2.0.3 - For the data calculations

 I will add that one of my best friends is an art director, and she helped clean up a few of the photos using Photoshop and Illustrator.  A huge “Thank You” to Steffani for her help.

 

More to come…

Making-Of The Caffeine Poster - Part 2

Thursday
Jan142010

Video - Designing for Visual Efficiency

Ignite Toronto 2: Ryan Coleman - Designing for visual efficiency from Ignite Toronto on Vimeo.

Short but good presentation from Ryan Coleman, the Chief Community Evangelist at VizThink!

Just reading this description unleashes a complex process to help your mind understand what your eyes are looking at. Together, our brain and eyes run through these processes millions upon millions of times daily, all without us even being aware of it. “Designing for Visual Efficiency” looks at the process of how we see and how that knowledge allows you to create designs that are visually efficient.

Ryan Coleman is an entrepreneur, facilitator and information designer from Toronto, ON. Through interactive workshops, facilitated sessions and/or consulting projects Ryan works with clients to organize and refine their ideas and shape them into a common vision that they can act on and share clearly, concisely & consistently. Ryan is also a founding member and Chief Community Evangelist for VizThink, a global community of visual thinkers & practitioners.

 

Thursday
Jan142010

The Visual Miscellaneum - Win a Signed Copy!

 

First of all, The Visual Miscellaneum is a great book of infographics by David McCandless.  

 

Second, and more importantly, it has sold out in the U.S.  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders and others all show the book to be Out Of Stock.  David has what are potentially the last five copies of the first edition, and he is going to sign them and give them away for free.

 

Visit David’s site, Information is Beautiful, (you should bookmark his site while you’re there) and post a comment ON HIS SITE under his entry about the last five books.  On Saturday, January 16th, David will choose five people from the comments to receive the free signed copies.

 

 

 

Thursday
Jan142010

The British History Visual Timeline


The BBC has put up a great interactive, visual British History Timeline.  Each dot represents a signnificant event.  Clicking a color “era” zooms the timeline to just that time period.

Mousing over the individual dots shows the specific event details and timing.

 

 

You can also select a particular region of the UK, or search for a specific year or keyword.