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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Monday
Sep162013

Introducing Cool Infographics, the book

Introducing Cool Infographics, the book

 

Today I’m excited to introduce my new book, Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design!  This project has taken up an enormous portion of my time over the last 12 months and will be available at the end of October 2013 from all major booksellers (print and ebook).

This book is written for anyone that wants to learn how to use infographics and data visualizations more effectively.  Whether you design your own or work with a designer, the tactics and tips included will help you create better infographics and effectively publish them online.  Using over 100 visual examples from designers all over the world, I explain how companies are successfully using infographics every day.  It is an accumulation of knowledge and experience from designing infographics and running the Cool Infographics blog over the last seven years.

Seven major areas are covered in depth:

  • The Science of Infographics: Why do infographics work?  Humans are visual creatures.  Any information that we can communicate visually will get more attention, is easier to understand and is more likely to be remembered.  Infographics tell stories with data using a combination of data visualizations, images, illustrations and text.  Used effectively, infographics can be one of the most powerful forms of communication.
  • Online Infographics: The use of infographics online has grown exponentially in the last few years.  Why are infographics so popular as online content and how are infographics being used successfully by companies?  Are you trying to build your brand equity, drive traffic to your website or explain product features to your customers?  Different goals require different types of infographics, so make sure you know how to plan your infographics for success.
  • Infographics and SEO: Why do some infographic go viral and others flop?  Infographics and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) go hand in hand, but you have put some effort into releasing an infographic.  Issues like keywords, embed code, online lifespan, meta data and landing pages all have an impact on the success of your infographic online.  A complete infographic release strategy is outlined that covers the entire process from releasing the infographic to getting posts and links from other sites.
  • Infographic Resumes: The use of data visualization design to improve job candidate resumes is still new, but is growing rapidly.  Good infographic resumes combine the best practices from traditional resume design and viral online infographics.  Learn to design a cool infographic resume of your own.
  • Internal Confidential Infographics: There’s a secret world of data visualizations and infographics being used inside companies using confidential data.  Unlike online infographics, these internal designs are often included in presentations or shared as printed handouts.  Take the best parts of online infographics, and adapt them for your own use in presentations.
  • Designing Infographics:  Will your infographic pass the 5-second rule?  This chapter will help you design great infographics with clear data visualizations, transparent data sources and engaging topics.  We look at some best design practices as well as some common mistakes to avoid. 
  • Design Resources: Ready to get started?  Designing infographics is a combination of visualizing data, creating custom illustrations, editing images and putting together the complete design.  I’ve gathered together the major tools used by infographic designers to help you find the right software for your project.  I’ve even included a number of sources for finding data and websites that can be used to design complete infographics.

Pre-order now to get your copy as soon as it’s released!

Friday
Aug302013

Infographic Cookbook - Picture Cook

Picture Cookbook infographic

A new way to take directions for cooking, the Picture Cookbook infographic from Katie Shelly. It is an easy step by step visual explanation design that will get you to the desired tasty product, with very little use of words!

The following recipes are not intended as precise culinary blueprints. Instead they are meant to inspire experimentation, improvisation and play in the kitchen.

Great design work by Katie to create recipes as visual explanations.  The hand-drawn style also helps reinforce the flexible methods.  They aren’t strict, rigid recipes with sharp images and corners, but instead are more casual which allows for interpretation and change.  I love the color-coding for easy navigation within the book too.

Found on Fast Company

Available soon for purchase in print in October 2013.  I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

Thursday
May162013

The Stephen King Universe

The Stephen King Universe infographic poster

Are you a Stephen King fan? Have you yourself made these connections? From TessieGirlThe Stephen King Universe has been updated to include the many connections to the Dark Tower series.

When I was in Grade 5 (guess I was ten), my friend Tarnya Smyth brought her mum’s battered copy of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ to school. We broke it into about 4 pieces and passed them around, all taking turns reading each battered section. I told mum about it and she FLIPPED HER WIG and told me to ‘Stop reading that book immediately!!’ So I finished it.

Now, I TOTALLY do not recommend  ten year olds reading Stephen King books (messed me up good), but this was when my life long relationship with Mr King began. My love for his books is based around his characters. They are so full. I love Stephen King dialogue. I love his sense of humour. And I love the links and connections between the books. I am the kind of annoying person who likes to know the ‘In Joke’. So, of course, I MADE A FLOW CHART!!!

This chart is like my fourth child. Be kind to it. It means a lot to me.

I wish they had published a higher-resolution version online.  Some of the text is too small to read, but I think I can follow all of the connections.  A must have for any Stephen King fan!

Also, it’s available for purchase as a poster from the TessieGirl site for $25 plus shipping from Australia.  You can also see the original version.

Thanks to Becky for sending in the link!

Friday
Jul062012

Informotion: Animated Infographics - Interview & Book Giveaway

Informotion: Animated Infographicsfrom Informotion: Animated Graphics, Copyright Gestalten 2012

The Informotion: Animated Infographics book edited by Tim Finke, Sebastian Manger and Stefan Fichtel was just released from Gestalten, and only recently appeared in the U.S.  I also have a promotional copy of the book to giveaway!  So keep reading until the end to find out how to get a chance to win the book.

Informotion: Animated Infographicsfrom Informotion: Animated Graphics, Copyright Gestalten 2012

This is the only book I am aware of that focuses on infographic animation and video production.  The book covers topics like Forms of Representation, Storyboarding, Animation, Voice-Over Narration and Content.  The book also highlights at least 25 animated infographic videos, and takes a deep look at how they were made.

At the nexus of design and journalism, the field of information graphics offers some of the most exciting and dynamic work for creatives. Today, even more so than static versions, animated information graphics are serving to communicate complex correlations succinctly. The production of such animations on the basis of up-to-the-minute data is already common practice in select TV programs. Now, these moving formats are finding wider application in television and on the internet, as well as on an increasing number of mobile devices, and in public places. They can be seen in editorial contexts and in the areas of advertising and corporate communication.

Informotion is the first book to document the fundamentals needed to create compelling animated infographics and to explain them with numerous examples. It focuses on key aspects of visualizing data, current forms of information graphics, and future possibilities for moving images. The publication also outlines the factors that improve the viewer’s ability to absorb information.


Informotion: Animated Infographicsfrom Informotion: Animated Graphics, Copyright Gestalten 2012

 

Sebastian Manger was kind enough to provide some of his time to answer a series of interview questions about the future of infographic videos and production of the book:

CI: What brought you, Tim Finke, and Stefan Fichtel together to collaborate on the book?

Sebastian

 Manger: Tim and I both studied communication design at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam near Berlin. Our collaboration on many projects during our studies welded us together as team, and so we decided to do our master’s thesis as a joint project as well. This thesis formed the initial basis for Informotion. During our research for the book we came into contact with Stefan Fichtel. We initially just wanted to interview him about his experiences in the field of information graphics, but we then wound up working with him more closely.

CI: You cover this briefly in the book, but how do you define the difference between data visualizations and infographics?

Sebastian

 Manger: Data visualization is mostly based on a very complex set of data, which is then transmitted by tools such as processing into a graphical representation. Examples can include user behavior in a certain context or the air traffic in a given airspace. In our opinion, an infographic is more concentrated on a particular piece of information that needs to be communicated. In contrast to data visualization, infographics often boil something down to one core message that is then conveyed.

CI: Who do you see as the primary audience for the book?

Sebastian Manger: The book is a guide for designing animated infographics. Therefore, the primary target group is, of course, designers who create those. But Informotion is actually also interesting for any designer who deals with the transfer of information through moving images because it deals with our general perception of animation. The book introduces the range of tools now available for implementing animated infographics and explains their appropriate use. 

In addition, Informotion is also very interesting for journalists. They can gain valuable insight into how the information they first researched can be processed into an animation. This insight can then help avoid misunderstandings in any future collaboration.

CI: How difficult was it to select the videos in the book and did you get support from the companies that produced the videos?

Sebastian Manger: In some cases, the choice was indeed very difficult—especially when we needed examples focusing on a particular means of implementation. In those cases, we needed scenes that showed exactly what was meant without getting overlayed by other effects or information. In our thesis, which was the original inspiration for the book, we simply created such specific examples ourselves. For Informotion, however, we wanted to always use current examples from actual practice.

Once we found a fitting example, it was usually quite easy to convince the agency or studio to participate in the book. It was, however, sometimes a bit difficult to figure out who exactly was the author of a certain animation.

CI: Based on what you have observed, is there a “best practice” method for releasing an infographic video on the Internet?

Sebastian Manger: As the field of animated infographics is still quite young, it is currently very difficult to speak of a “best practice” example. We do hope that our book can help generate such an example one day.

CI: Do you believe that infographic videos are a stronger tool than static image or interactive infographics? 

Sebastian Manger: Yes, we do. People’s viewing habits are changing more and more. Ever more videos are appearing on the internet (YouTube, Vimeo, etc). The viewer is already getting used to absorbing information more passively. This environment is very favorable for the use of animated infographics. A certain fact can be presented to viewers in a simple manner without the need for them to toil through charts or diagrams themselves.

But herein also lies a danger or a special responsibility for the designer of an animated infographic. Under these conditions, a given set of information must always be reduced to a few details. In a static infographic, a statistic for example, viewers can make conclusions by themselves—provided, of course, that they take the time to do so.

CI: How quickly are infographic videos growing as a communication tool?

Sebastian Manger: In our research over the last few years we have ascertained a clear increase in the use of animated infographics. A simple indicator of this, for example, is the increasing number of videos tagged as “animated infographics” on YouTube or Vimeo. The number of websites and blogs that feature animated infographics is also growing continuously.

In addition, infographic design elements are being used more and more frequently in music videos, commercials, main titles, etc. This paves the way for consumers to deal with infographics as a means of implementation. Of course, the use of graphic elements in these fields is currently mostly limited to decoration, but why can’t it expand over the next few years and become more professional? These circumstances are causing viewing habits to change. Designers not only have a significant interest in these changes, but are also a contributing factor to them.

CI: What do you see as the future of infographic videos?

Sebastian Manger: We expect that the trend just described in our previous answer will continue and that animated infographics will be used even more frequently—especially in fields such as reporting but also in advertising. For most people, the use of information graphics is an indicator of seriousness. However, interactive graphics and data visualization will certainly play a huge role too.

CI: How difficult was it to put together a paper book about the highly visual topic of infographic videos?

Sebastian Manger: Not very difficult. Informotion includes a login code for accessing a password-protected website from where you can watch all the referenced videos in full length. In the printed book we use screenshots from and explanations of these videos to identify and explain current theories and means of implementation.

CI: Do you have any plans for a video infographic about video infographics in the future?

Sebastian

 Manger: Not until you came up with this question, but we’ll surely think about now!

 

Free Copy of the Book:

I have two copies of the book to give away to readers of Cool Infographics.  To enter you name into the hat, tweet a link to this blog post on Twitter and include the hashtag #informotionbook so I can find the Tweets.  At noon on Friday, July 13, 2012, I will randomly choose two people from the Tweets to receive a copy of the book.  You need to be following me (@rtkrum) on Twitter so I can send you a Direct Message (DM) if you are selected.

Here’s an example Tweet that would qualify:

Check out Informotion, the new book about animated infographic videos bit.ly/OdaGTg #informotionbook

Thanks to Sebastian for all his hard work, and participating with the interview.

Friday
Apr272012

Mapping Popular Story Plot Lines

Finally! The secret ingredient to writing a good book has been revealed. Plot Lines, the infographic from Delayed Gratification, the slow journalism magazine, shows the dominant themes in last year’s books nominated for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.  An interactive, zooming viewer available on the original landing page.

What makes a prize-winning novel?  As Julian Barnes wins the Booker Prize, Johanna Kamradt charts the themes of this year’s longlisters.  (Illustration by Christian Tate)

If you want to write a hit novel, it pays to stick with the tried-and-true plot lines.  DEATH of your characters is clearly the overall winning theme, with every one of the novels listed from 2011 including death as a theme.  Other classics like WAR, LOVE, BETRAYAL and CORRUPTION followed closely.  Obscure plot points like AN ESCAPED TIGER and HOMICIDAL COWBOY BROTHERS are certainly much more of a risk.

I love this design, and how it takes the multiple, complex story plots from the complicated mix on the left, and converts the chaos into order on the right.  Even with all of the crossover lines, you can still pretty easily follow a line across the diagram.  It’s fun and engaging for readers to follow the connections, and draws the readers in to look more closely. 

Found on visualnews.com

Friday
Feb242012

See Mix Drink: Infographic Cocktails

The See Mix Drink Cocktail Guide is a fabulous infographic drink recipe book from Brian D. Murphy (@murph_e).  Currently available for about $10 on Amazon.com, it’s on my wish list.  Featured on GQ.com back in October when it was released, I have been totally remiss by not posting about it until now.  (My apologies Brian!)

Have you tried mixing a Mojito? What about a Rusty Nail? Or a Cosmopolitan? With See Mix Drink, the first-ever cocktail book to offer instruction through info-graphics, making the drinks you love at home is as easy as, well, See, Mix, Drink.

This unique, illustrated guide graphically demonstrates how to make 100 of today’s most popular cocktails. For each drink, color-coded ingredients are displayed in a line drawing of the appropriate glassware, alongside a pie chart that spells out the drink’s composition by volume for intuitive mixing. No other cocktail book is this easy or fun. Instantly understandable 1-2-3 steps show exactly how each drink is prepared, and anecdotes, pronunciation guides, and photographs of the finished drinks will turn newbie bartenders into instant mixologists. 

The GQ.com feature has the designs for ten of the recipes from the book.  They are all simple to understand, and easy to follow.

One thing I would suggest to improve the visualization design style is to combine the key and the ingredient portions.  No need to make the reader look to both sides of the glass illustration to figure out how much of each ingredient.  Just putting the name with the amount on the left side and getting rid of the color key would eliminate an eye motion for the readers.

Thanks to Brian for sending in the link (back in October!) and congratulations on the publication!

Wednesday
Oct122011

Top 100 SciFi and Fantasy Books Flowchart

 

SF Signal has created The Top 100 SciFi & Fantasy Books Flowchart, a decision tree flowchart for NPR’s list of the top 100 books.  They have a high-resolution printable version available too.

Over the summer, NPR solicited the input of its listeners to rank the top science fiction and fantasy books of all time. Over 60,000 people voted for the top picks which were then compiled into a list by their panel of experts. The result? This list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it.

We at SF Signal have, once again, come to the rescue. This flowchart is designed to help you follow your tastes, provide context, and fulfill (indeed exceed!) any need for pithy commentary you might harbor.

 

I ended up on Hyperion, one of my all-time favorite series.  Bring on the Shrike!

Found on FlowingData

Friday
Sep092011

The Science of Salary

 

Salary Science builds on the information from Jim Hopkinson’s book, Salary Tutor, and the SalaryTutor.com site.  Designed by Shaun Sanders, the infographic is not actually from the book.  Instead, it shares information that goes above and beyond the book, as a great way to build awareness and help promote the book.

 

 

Jim has also published an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the infographic on his blog: How to create a viral infographic to market your brand.  You learn about his planning process, the infographic design cycle that Shaun goes through and see early images of the infographic taking shape.

 

I really appreciate some of the design choices they made along the way, and think the infographic is a super way to attract interest and promote Jim’s brand.  If you’re interested, here’s a link to the book on Amazon as well.  A must-read in my library.

 

Friday
Jul152011

Our Choice: Interactive, Infographic iPad book

Our Choice, is a new ebook for the iPad and iPhone by Al Gore that includes many infographics and interactive data visualizations that the readers can interact with.  Intended to be the sequel to his book and presentations, An Inconvinient Truth, Our Choice brings a lot of the global warming data to life.

Mike Matas presented the book design in the TED Talk video above, and he’s the co-founder of Push Pop Press, a new digital publishing company. This is the first book from Push Pop Press, but they are working to make the software tools used to make this ebook app available to produce more ebooks.

Ignoring the message and any controversy this book will inspire, the use of data visuals in a ebook format like this is a sign of many more data visualizations to come.

Al Gore’s Our Choice will change the way we read books. And quite possibly change the world. In this interactive app, Al Gore surveys the causes of global warming and presents groundbreaking insights and solutions already under study and underway that can help stop the unfolding disaster of global warming.

Our Choice melds the vice president’s narrative with photography, interactive graphics, animations, and more than an hour of engrossing documentary footage. A new, groundbreaking interface allows you to experience that content seamlessly. Pick up and explore anything you see in the book; zoom out to the visual table of contents and quickly browse though the chapters; reach in and explore data-rich interactive graphics.

More than 30 original interactive infographics and animations

100% of Al Gore’s earnings from Our Choice will be donated to the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection.

 

The app is $4.99 in the iTunes Store, and if you purchase through this link, Our Choice ebook, a small portion will go to helping maintain the Cool Infographics site.  You can also buy the printed book from Amazon.

Wednesday
Oct272010

Client Infographic: The Visual History of Halloween

The Visual History of Halloween infographic poster

 

Parties, Costumes, Food, Ghosts, Vampires, Witches, Jack-O-Lanterns…oh my!  Halloween is one of the world’s favorite holidays, and The Visual History of Halloween brings all of the diverse history and influences together at last.  Estimated as a $6.9 Billion industry today, Halloween is actually the combination of at least six different festivals and celebrations from hundreds (even thousands) of years ago.  Click HERE to see the high-resolution version.

InfoNewt (my company) designed this one mainly focused on the historical foundation of Halloween.  I’m sure a completely separate timeline could be made just covering the last 100 years of commercializing Halloween, but I tried to stay away from most of that with this one.

This was actually a very fun project, and a perfect topic for an infographic because the information available is so diverse and scattered.  Of course, when you talk about history going back this far, there is also disagreement on what really happened.  So, I plotted the most commonly accepted events and dates I could find.  I had to pull from a handful of different sites to get all of the pieces to fit together.

 

 

Ghosts, werewolves and witches have a long history.  It’s not until much more recent times that many of the other monsters we relate to Halloween appear.  Count Dracula, vampires, Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, The Mummy, Jason and all of the horror movie villains appear in the last 300 years.

 

 

My time to complete this project was short, but I believe I captured the most critical events in history.  Wouldn’t this make a great poster?

A big thanks to Erick and the team at FrightCatalog.com