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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum
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Data Visualization and Infographic Design

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Entries in business (56)

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
Dec042015

What Social Media Platforms Are Best Suited For Your Business

It doesn't matter if you have a well established business or a new one, everyone can benefit from learning to use social media better. But which platform is right for you? The What Social Media Platforms Are Best Suited For Your Business infographic from Quick Sprout helps you determine which platform your target audience uses so you can save yourself some time.

With all the social media sites available today, which ones should you leverage? In an ideal world, you would use them all. As a small business, however, you don’t have enough time and money to do so.

With your limited resources, which social media platform would you pick?

If you think Facebook and YouTube are your best bets because they are most popular, think again. Just because a site is popular doesn’t mean it is a good fit for you business.

To help you decide which social media platform is best suited for your business, I’ve created an infographic that explains what social sites you should be leveraging based on real data.

Good use of colors and logos to differentiate the different services. This infographic is a good example of the difference to readers between visualized data and text-only data. Readers' attention will gravitate to the visualized statistics, and any numbers shown as just text are often skipped and considered to be secondary information.

Thanks to Juntae for the link!

Wednesday
Nov042015

How Much Should You Spend on Sales & Marketing?

 The Corporate Marketing and Sales Spend Landscape infographic

The Corporate Marketing and Sales Spend Landscape is an infographic about publicly traded companies and how much revenue they spend on sales & marketing. The general rule of thumb, based off of a 2014 Gartner Research study, is that a company should invest 10% of their revenue into marketing. However, a 2014 CMO survey, published by the American Marketing Association and Duke University, came to find that the 10% rule isn't true for all types of companies.

This infographic from Vital is a representation of those findings and shows how much each business style actually spends on marketing. 

Determining the affect of marketing on a company’s growth is not black and white. There are many factors that combine to create a successful and growing business. However, without marketing and sales a company gets very little, if any, promotion or exposure, meaning the chances of growth are slim to none. This is a well-known fact among marketers, evident in the amount of dollars successful corporations allocate towards sales and marketing every year. In 2014, Microsoft, Cisco, Quest Diagnostics, Intel, Salesforce, Constant Contact, LinkedIn, Marketo, Bottomline Technologies, Marin Software, IDEXX Laboratories, Tempur Sealy, Tableau and Twitter among many more all had marketing and sales budgets that were greater than 14% of revenue, some spending as much as 50%! All of these companies also grew year-over-year.

So, how does a company determine how much of their budget to spend on marketing? We decided to look at a handful of some of the most successful large and mid-sized companies across a range of industries to find out how much they allocate for marketing and what they get in return.

Read more at https://vtldesign.com

The order the companies are listed is confusing. There's doesn't seem to be any reasoning behind the sequence. It's not marketing spend dollars or percentage, or total revenue, or revenue growth YOY or even alphabetical.

It's not clear that the orange number shown for each company is the marketing spend dollars, not total revenue. The orange color-coordination with the doughnut chart implies that, but it should be more obvious.

I also think they meant to imply a connection between marketing spend and revenue growth, but that connection is not obvious in the infographic. The revenue growth in gray text-only looks like an afterthought.

Great source citations in the footer. They should also include a copyright statement and the URL link directly to the infographic landing page so readers can find the original full-size version.

This is also a good example of the Fair Use of trademarked logos to report comparisons between the various companies.

Found on Marketing Profs

Thursday
Oct082015

10 Ways to Fall Asleep on a Plane

10 Ways to Fall Asleep on a Plane infographic

Traveling can be exhausting, especially when you can't catch any sleep on the flight. However, Work the World has come up with not just one, but 10 Ways to Fall Asleep on a Plane! Whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure, you can be assured that your flight will be a restful one.

Trying to fall asleep on a plane can be one of the most frustrating experiences during your travels. After some serious research we decided to put an infographic together detailing the top ten ways to fall asleep on a plane. If you struggle to fall asleep in the air, read on for reassurance that it can be done.

Great informative infographic that uses a classic content marketing strategy of a Top 10 list, even if it's a little text heavy for a graphic. Icons and illustrations make each idea visual, which will help readers remember the information when they actually need it.

The footer properly included a Creative Common license, and detailed sources. The only thing missing is the URL to the infographic landing page so readers can find the original, full-size version on the Work The World site.

There's so much text in this one, I would make the additional recommendation to repeat the text on the infographic landing page below the infographic image itself. By also putting all of the text on the page, the search engines will be able to parse and index all of this good text data.

Found on Visual.ly

Thursday
Jun252015

Business Etiquette Around the World

Business Etiquette Around the World infographic

When you are on a business trip, making a good impression is always key, but meeting internationally for business can make things a little tricky. The Business Etiquette Around the World infographic from CT Business Travel has compiled a list of expectations for those meeting in foreign countries around the world. As the infographic states, "Follow these tips and never put a hand, fork, or word out of place again."

Customs and etiquette vary wildly from country to country, and business professionals are often unaware of the differences.

This made us think, wouldn’t it be really useful to research and produce an illustrative guide that provides an easy to digest overview of the essential cultural differences for when professionals meet international clients, suppliers and colleagues overseas – so we did and here it is.

For instance the French prefer to shake hands lightly, as do the Japanese and South Koreans, and pre-business chit-chat may be customary in Brazil, but this is not the case in Russia, Switzerland and a number of other countries.

The following Infographic outlines the rules that can be unwittingly broken across the world and will be of interest to anyone who wants to seal the deal rather than tarnish their reputation.

Table data like this is always a challenge to visualize. Using icons in the table format is a good way to make the data easier to understand and compare between rows.

Thanks to Danny for posting the link on Linkedin!

Thursday
Apr022015

The True Cost of a Bad Hire

The True Cost of a Bad Hire infographic

The True Cost of a Bad Hire infographic from Executives Online in the UK puts into perspective the £4.13 billion a year that UK businesses are losing from a bad hire. With one £50 note being less than 1 mm thick, the stack would reach about 933 meters tall. London’s Big Ben is 96 meters tall.

People are a businesses most valuable resource. Actively finding and attracting top talent is a never-ending task for any company that aspires to be the best.

The amount of new hires that don’t work out is frightening – in fact a study by leadership IQ across a range of industries and job roles found that up to 48% of new hires fail within 18 months. It’s a problem that’s estimated to cost UK businesses over £4 billion a year.

So What’s The True Cost When One Of These New Hires Doesn’t Work Out? 

Outside of the obvious salary cost, there are a significant number of tangible and intangible factors that can drive the cost of a failed hire much higher than initially estimated. 

We used an example of a £100k per annum executive to answer one question: “What’s the true cost of a bad executive hire?” We factored in salary, benefits, the cost of the recruitment and sourcing process, and the knock on effects of having a poor performing individual in a role for up to a year.

Using data from a range of external sources and our own databases we arrived at a final figure showing this cost to be around three and a half times more than a year’s salary. To demonstrate the scale of this cost we laid it all out in a infographic as well as breaking down how that cost was arrived at.

So Why Do Bad Hires Happen?

Part of this failure to make successful hires is down to company policies focussing on hiring cost rather than ROI.

As Steve Jobs put it: “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C payers… I’ve noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1”.

Next time you’re making an executive hire, remember what it will cost if it doesn’t work out! 

It’s a long/tall infographic design, but I think that the length is actually part of the visual story in this case.

Visually, the grids would be easier for readers to understand if the rows were 10 icons across instead of 20. We live in a Base-10 society. Rows of only 10 would make the infographic twice as long, but an alternative would be to add some spacing to visually separate the left 10 from the right 10. Same thought for vertical spacing. It would help to have a gap in the icon grids every 10 rows.

The confusing part is that every icon is a £50 note, so with 20 icons, each row represents an even £1,000. That’s why I think they designed the rows to be 20 icons across.

Odd that they published the infographic as a transparent PNG file.

Thanks to Alex for sending in the link!

Friday
Sep192014

Marketing Artists vs. Marketing Scientists

Marketing Artists VS Marketing Scientists infographic

The Marketing Artists vs. Marketing Scientists infographic from Pardot highlights the assets of both kinds of marketers in the modern age. But the alliance between the two groups will create the best end product.

In a great article published last week, Stan Woods of Velocity Partners offered his thoughts on how fast marketing has developed over the past few months, and the new marketing roles this change has created.

In his closing paragraph, Woods distinguishes between the creative-driven and data-driven marketers by referring to them as “marketing artists” and “marketing scientists,” respectively. Although a slight oversimplification, these distinctions hold a lot of truth about the current divide that exists within many marketing departments.

Technology has given marketers the ability to track, quantify, and optimize marketing processes at a level that was unheard of only a year ago. The marketing scientist has come to dominate this new arena of objective measurement and data-driven thinking, while the marketing artist continues to thrive on creative ideas and a more abstract way of thinking.

But while these two differently-minded marketers may sometimes disagree over where the focus should lie,  the marketing departments that will truly excel in this new age of marketing are those that recognize the value in both approaches. We have put together the infographic below to help highlight the tremendous assets marketing artists and marketing scientists can bring to the table, and the advantage of finding a balance between the two.

This is a purely informational design with no numerical data, but tells a good story. There are two aspects to marketing represented by the illustrated personas. I would prefer less text and more icons or illustrations, but the infographic does a great job of telling one story really well.  That keeps the design short, easy to share and easy to read.  The dominant central visual is also appealing and attracts attention.

The footer should include the URL to the infographic landing page, not just Pardot.com.  When readers come looking for the full-size version, don’t make them search your site for it.

Found on http://www.business2community.com/

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!

Monday
Aug112014

12 Reasons Your Business Needs to Get Visual

12 Reasons Your Business Needs to Get Visual infographic

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times… but once more wont hurt! Visuals are important!!! This infographic from re:DESIGN attempts to summarize the reasons why in 12 Reasons Your Business Needs to Get Visual.

The shift to the visual is evident everywhere we look, in all media — the infographic explains why.

A good, strong visual married to a good concept — with the right strategy and the right words — wins every time, especially in today’s busy, noisy media world. One thing is clear: visuals and all that traditional creative expertise brings to the table has never been more important for capturing eyeballs, expanding brand influence, and getting people to act.

Love the message and most of the points included.  Good choice of images for each section. However, big fonts are not data visualizations and the infographic looks like it’s pushing the use of bigger fonts instead of visuals. Data shown in a big font does not provide the audience with any context, not do they make the data easier to understand.

I also noticed the popular false statistic included in the design: “Visual data is processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.”  It’s a statistic often quoted in presentations and infographics about the value of visual information, but it’s not true.  I’d love for this statistic to be real, but no one has been able to track down the original research.  It was used decades ago in some 3M marketing materials for transparencies used with overhead projectors (yes, that long ago).  It’s quoted so often now that everyone believes it.

If this topic interestes you, check out Chapter 1 of my book, Cool Infographics, called The Science of Infographics.  There I cover the research and data behind why visual information is more effective and why infographics are so popular.  You can download a free sample PDF of the chapter on the BOOK page.

Found on re:DESIGN

Thursday
Apr102014

3 Common Time Wasters at Work

3 Common Time Wasters at Work infographic

Do you feel like your employees are slacking? The 3 Common Time Wasters at Work infographic from Biz 3.0 points out the time wasting problems so that you can target them and create a more efficient work day.

No business can afford to have wasted time at work, especially when growth and profitability is directly tied to how productive your employees are. So check out our new infographic that identifies the top three reasons why people waste their time at work, so that you can find possible solutions to eliminating them. 

Great data with fun illustrations that engage the audience.  Great topic for a productivity software company.  The design is informative and will appeal to a broad audience, while being directly related to their product.

However, with all of the number values shown in circles, very few of them are visualized.  For the percentages, the circles could at least have been doughnut charts coloring only the appropriate portion of the circumference.  A good infographic design is supposed to make the data meaningful and relevant to the audience.  This helps them better understand the data, and you have to visualize the information to make that work.

Thanks to John for sending in the link!