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

Looking for help creating your own infographics?  Randy’s infographic and data visualziation design company:

InfoNewt Infographic Design

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Wednesday
Sep112013

Information is Beautiful Awards Deadline Friday Sep 13th

Information is Beautiful Awards

The deadline for submitting design entries to the Information is Beautiful Awards is this Friday, September 13th.  Anyone can enter and the available categories are:

  • Data journalism
  • Data visualization
  • Infographic/information design
  • Interactive visualization
  • Motion infographic
  • Website

The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards celebrate excellence and beauty in data visualizations, infographics and information art.

Last year we awarded 26 prizes across 6 categories and 8 special awards with entries from more than 20 different countries. The standard was exceptionally high and we really appreciate the effort people put into entering the awards.

The Awards were set up in 2012 by David McCandless, journalist and datavisualizer,  in collaboration with Aziz Kami, Creative Director, Kantar.

The Awards are non-profit and community-driven – that means you don’t need to shell out a big wedge of cash to enter your work, and if you’re successful, you won’t need to shell out again for a fancy sit down dinner awards night.

 

Information is Beautiful Awards Prizes

 

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.

Tuesday
Jun192012

Infographic Contest Winner: #Blame Twitter

A big congratulations to Tim Cooley!  Tim won the PosterBrain Design the Future contest with the entry above called #Blame Twitter, which is essentially a parody infographic.

From Tim:

All claims in this infographic are obviously false in nature and are solely intended for the comedic entertainment of readers. We <3 Twitter.

From PosterBrain:

We are sending a HUGE shout out to Tim Cooley for winning our Design the Future Infographic Contest! His infographic, #Blame Twitter, is very creative, informative, visually pleasing, and incredibly well done! We will definitely think twice about what, and how often, we tweet! Congrats again Tim, and thanks to everyone who participated!

Tim took the real data provided for the contest, but fictitiously correlated it to Twitter statistics.  In a classic example that “Correlation does not imply causation”, Tim visualized the real-world statistics as if they were caused by Twitter.  For example, it is true in the real-world that nearly 13,000 hectares of forest is lost every day, but it has nothing to do with the 233,370,615 Tweets every day.

Tim won an iPad2 for his winning infographic!  You can see all of the contest entries on the PosterBrain Facebook Contest Photo Album.

Please fell free to retweet this post without harming the environment…

Wednesday
Nov232011

Design The Future - Infographic Design Contest!

 

Calling All Infographic Designers!

 

Hosted here on Cool Infographics, PosterBrain.com is sponsoring the Design The Future infographic contest for the best Utopia or Doomsday infographic poster.  The grand prize will be a 16GB iPad2.  Plus random prizes will be awarded throughout, no matter what everyone will get something.  Instead of giving you a subject for the infographic we will provide the data and you will create your own subject.  Data MUST be pulled this data spreadsheet available on Google Docs.  THIS IS THE ONLY SOURCE you can gather data for your infographic from.  Judging will be based on creativity, aesthetics, clarity and the story that your infographic tells.

Contest will end when they receive 50 Entries!  So act fast!

 

Of course you can create you own illustrations and visualizations, but DepositPhotos.com is offering a free, PROMO CODE to all designer participants.  This promo code gets you FIVE FREE images to use in your design!

 

Click here for all of the Official Contest Page with of the details.

 

Once you submit your entry, 33% of the judging criteria will be on how many people “LIKE” your image on our Facebook contest page.  Once you email in your entry, PosterBrain will post them on the Facebook page so you can start gathering LIKEs.

Everyone is encouraged to enter, so even if you have never designed an infographic before, this is your opprtunity.  Plus, PosterBrain will be awarding some random prizes to participants

Friday
Nov042011

Death & Taxes 2012 (Q&A with Jess Bachman) - Poster Giveaway! #deathandtaxes

The new 2012 Death & Taxes poster has been released, and this year it’s better than ever.  Designed by Jess Bachman (ByJess.net) this poster visualizes the 2012 proposed U.S. Federal Budget.  The Death & Taxes poster is one of the best infographics I’ve ever seen, and it gets better every year.

Death and Taxes” is a large representational graph and poster of the federal budget. It contains over 500 programs and departments and almost every program that receives over 200 million dollars annually. The data is straight from the president’s 2012 budget request and will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress to begin the fiscal year. All of the item circles are proportional in size to their funding levels for visual comparison and the percentage change from both 2012 and 2002 is included so you can spot trends.

PURCHASE: This year, Jess also had the opportunity to partner with Seth Godin and his Domino Project to make the full-size 24” x 36” poster available for purchase through Amazon.  Currently, you can purchase a copy of the poster for $19.99.  Also, check out Jess’s video introduction on the Amazon page.

POSTER GIVEAWAY: Cool Infographics is giving away one FREE copy of the poster.  The free poster will go to one randomly chosen person that tweets a link to this blog post on Twitter and includes the hashtag: #deathandtaxes.  I included the hashtag in the post title, so any retweets will be automatically eligible.  NOTE: you must also be following me on Twitter (@rtkrum) so that I can send you a direct message if you have won!

I will choose the winner at 12 noon (Central Time) on Friday, November 11, 2011 (11/11/11).  I will contact the winner, and order the poster from Amazon to be delivered to the winner.

INTERVIEW: Similar to last year, Jess was willing to answer some behind-the-scenes questions about this year’s poster:

Cool Infographics: What’s the most interesting thing you learned from the 2012 data?

Jess Bachman: Lots of reductions in the military side.  It’s mostly from the OCO war funding, but its interesting to see what actually is getting cut the most.  Mostly Army funding and RDT&E across the board.  I would think the OCO was mostly Operations and Procurement.

Cool Infographics:  Has you design process changed at all this year?  What software did you use to help dig through the data and create the design?

Jess Bachman:  Well this year I tried to work exclusively within the official spreadsheets, rather than pick out the numbers from the paper (PDF) budget.  I think it’s more accurate and easier to get totals.  Mainly just used excel and photoshop as always.

Cool Infographics:  When did the 2012 data become available, and how long did it take you create this year’s poster?

Jess Bachman:  It was supposed to be released in February but it was a month late.  I started moving on it at a full clip then got involved with Amazon/Godin and the timelines shifted quite a bit, so while I usually get the post out in April, it was released in September this year.

Cool Infographics:  How did working with Seth Godin and the Domino project come about?

Jess Bachman:  Seth just emailed me out of the blue.  We talked and it seemed like a no-brainer.

Cool Infographics:  How does working with Amazon and the Domino project change how you print and distribute the poster?

Jess Bachman:  Well previously my Mom did most of the shipper and I also had a 3rd party do fulfillment and shipping.  It’s a rather time consuming and frustrating process.  Sending out orders, doing customer support, paying vendors, etc.  Now it’s all in Amazon’s hands.  They got it printed and of course are warehousing and shipping it too.  I’m quite glad as they do a much better job of shipping than I do.  Of course they also take their cut of the profits.  As for Domino, they have their own distribution channels and lists and also work closely with Amazon to make sure the product page is well presented too.  This year it reached #18 on the best sellers list.  I guess that makes me a best selling author.  I don’t think I could have accomplished that without Domino/Amazon.

Cool Infographics:  I see you made a video to include on the Amazon page, how was that experience?

Jess Bachman:  Seth told me they needed a video ASAP so I just made one that afternoon.  I suppose I would put more effort into it next year but videos help sell products and i think it does a good job of that.

Cool Infographics:  Any new design features added to the poster this year?

Jess Bachman:  I wanted to include some non-governmental items in the poster this year for reference.  They are in the bottom left and include things like the size of the video game industry, bill gate’s net worth and other such things.  When talking about billions of dollars all the time, sometimes you need to get out of government-mode to put those figures into further context.

Cool Infographics:  The past posters have been shared very heavily in social media, which social sharing sites have you found most successful?

Jess Bachman:  Well, Digg has traditionally been a big asset, but then Digg fell apart so I no longer pay attention to it.  In general, I have abandoned the traditional accelerants like Digg, reddit, etc. and instead focus on my network of bloggers and influencers. Combine that with Facebook liking and you can really spread something.

Cool Infographics:  Last year we talked about some favorite places that have the poster on display.  Any new ones this year?

Jess Bachman:  Well, with a larger audience and hopefully more sales, the poster will be everywhere.  Unfortunately, I get lots of requests for discounts for schools with tight budgets, but I have no control over price anymore.  I can say that an iOS app is in development so that will be interesting.  My ultimate goal is to get on the Daily Show to talk about the poster in April.  People constantly tell me I need to be on there, and I’m a huge fan, so I figure I have a good shot, just need to nag the right people.

You can follow Jess on Twitter (@mibi)

Here you can see the poster up close with the Closr.it zooming viewer.  I believe this is Flash based, so it may not work on iDevices.

 

Monday
Jun062011

DataVis Contest from Postgrad and David McCandless

Postgrad.com is sponsoring a data visualization contest using data gathered by David McCandless.  There’s a brand new iPad2 for the winner, and the top 3 will receive signed copies of ‘Information is Beautiful’ by David McCandless.

 

It Started With A Tweet…

Data journalist and information designer, David McCandless recently gathered data revealing surprisingly low numbers of black students accepted into Oxford and Cambridge.  However, despite being genuinely passionate about the data, David didn’t have time to visualise it himself.  So he posted the following message on Twitter…

We contacted David and offered to put up a prize as a competition for the best visualisation of this data. To our delight, David accepted our offer.

Like David, we feel strongly that this data should be made visible to many. And we’re challenging you to do it.

UPDATE:  Although the initial findings related to the number of black students, there’s a lot of information within the datasets about the ethnic heritage, and socioeconomic background of students attending different institutions.  You are free to pick out whatever story you wish and present it in a visual format.

Enter Now To Win…

It’s easy to enter the competition and you could win:

  • Recognition from our panel of industry experts in journalism, data visualisation and design
  • Your name and work promoted across the web
  • A proud and noteworthy addition to your portfolio, website or CV
  • A full post profiling you and your work, and the design process you followed
  • A signed copy of Information is Beautiful by David McCandless
  • A brand new iPad2

Expert Judges From The BBC, .net Magazine And More…

Assisting David in the judging, we are thrilled to have judges from the BBC, .net Magazine, Tableau Software, Visualising Data, and marketing agency 97th Floor.

The judges will consider a range of criteria including design, effective visualisation, and presentation of the story.

  • Andy Kirk, Founder, Visualising Data Ltd
  • Chris Bennett, President, 97th Floor
  • David McCandless, Author, Information is Beautiful
  • Elissa Fink, VP Marketing, Tableau Software
  • Katherine Mann, Director, Postgrad.com
  • Rob Bowen, Art Editor, .net Magazine
  • Russell Smith, Editorial Development, BBC News

It’s An Open Brief

The competition is based on the data collected by David, and other sources listed within the dataset.  However, you are free to mashup the data with any other source you wish, provided the sources are publicly available and cited in your entry to the competition. 

Your visualisation can be static, moving or interactive

You can include as little or as much text as you like

It can be as simple as a single chart or a full-blown infographic

You’ve A Good Chance of Winning…

People are often put off entering competitions assuming there will be hundreds of entrants. In reality, this is rarely the case. Simply entering really could put you in the running for a prize. 

There’s a brand new iPad2 for the winner. And the top 3 will receive signed copies of ‘Information is Beautiful’ by David McCandless.

Entries from amateurs and newbies are very much welcome. We’d love to see what you come up with.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. A simple yet effective piece of visualisation could be just the ticket.

And all highly recommended pieces, will receive recognition by our expert panel alongside the winners when results are announced.

Remember The Important Stuff

The competition rules are posted here.

You can grab the data here (be sure to check out the other sources listed within it).

To enter the competition, simply email your visualisation as a jpeg attachment to mark.johnstone@postgradsolutions.com and include your Full Name and the best email address to reach you on. As an alternative to sending your entry as an attachment, you are welcome to post your entry on your own site, and simply send us the link. In fact, we’d love it if you did that.

If your entry is interactive or moving, you will have to publish it on a separate site (your own site is preferable but social sites like YouTube are perfectly acceptable). Just remember to send us the link.

The competition closes at 11pm GMT on Monday 20th June 2011.

Winners will be announced by Monday 4th July 2011.

The Datasets

You can find the data collected by David McCandless here.

You may also find the following resources useful:

Guardian DataBlog post on Oxbridge Elitism

UCAS Annual Datasets

And Remember, the Competition Closes at 11pm GMT on Monday 20th June 2011.

 

 

Friday
Mar042011

Google Data Viz Challenge: Visualize Your Taxes

Google has partnered with Eyebeam to sponsor the Data Viz Challenge: Visualize Your Taxes using data provided by WhatWePayFor.com.  I really like the data viz styles used as a font, similar to the Goole Doodles.

Every year, Americans fill out income tax forms and make a payment to the IRS. It’s an important civic duty, but it is also a lot of money. Where does it all go? Using data provided by WhatWePayFor.com, we challenge you to create a data visualization that will make it easier for U.S. citizens to understand how the government spends our tax money.

The Prize: $10,000 in prizes with $5,000 for the top entry.  Winning entries will featured on the DataVizChallenge.org website, the Official Google BlogEyebeam.org and Fast Company’s design blog, Co.Design.

The Deadline: Submit your entries by midnight of March 27, 2011. Finalists will be announced the week of April 11, and winners will be publicly announced on Tax Day (April 18, 2011). 

Participants must be residents of the U.S., which is an issue for many would-be designers.

Found on Infographics News, VizWorld and Infosthetics

Thursday
Nov112010

Visualisation Mag: Hand-Drawn Infographic Contest!

 

Chris Watson, author of Visualisation Magazine is hosting a contest for all of you.  The next issue will be Visualisation: Volume 4 - Handmade Informal, and the contest winner will be featured on the cover (plus featured on the GOOD Magazine blog, the VisualThinkMap blog and here on Cool Infographics).  Seriously, ANYONE can enter, and you don’t have to be an expert in any expensive design software or programming languages.

Deadline is the end of December, so you have plenty of time to submit your entry.

Chris has setup a special group on Flickr where anyone can submit their entries.

This is the group to share your submissions for the contest to feature your work on the Cover (front wrapping round to the back), a double page spread and a blog post on GOOD Magazine blog, Vism.ag/blog and CoolInfographics.com.

I want to emphasize handmade techniques like, etching, screen printing, metal press, lino, mono printing, drawn, paper folding. the only digital element would be the capturing of the work for the front cover to send us, or taking printed elements and manipulating them by hand… to an extent.

CHECKOUT THESE PEOPLE FOR INSPIRATION:

Stefan G Bucher

Denis Wood & Siglio Press

Grayson Perry

Stefanie Posavec

Sara Fanelli

Amy Franceschini

Alfred Wainwright

VENTURI, SCOTT BROWN AND ASSOCIATES, INC

Visualise any subject you like (try not to be too offensive, would like all ages to appreciate) and to consider the: 

Complexity
Innovation
Culture

TO BE JUDGED 

by GOOD Magazine, Density Design, Cool Infographics & Visualisation Magazine

End date: aiming for end of December. 

Judging: Beginning of January

 

Dont’ be intimidated if you’re not an infographic designer by day.  This contest is open to everyone who thinks they can tell a good message visually.  Judging will be based on these criteria:

Complexity: More complexity doesn’t always equal better infographic.  Does the infographic improve understanding of a normally complex topic?

Innovation: Is the visual design method innovative, and visualize the data in a new way?

Culture: Is the infographic relevant to a broad audience in today’s world?  Does it have cultural importance?

 

More details can be found at vism.ag/61

Since I’ll be one of the judges, I can’t enter myself.  I will probably post more than just the winner here on the blog.  I expect the judging will be tough, and we’ll have a number of really good entries.

Please help spread the word and retweet the contest!

Friday
Oct012010

"How Do I Become President?" Infographic Contest for Kids

From Challenge.gov and Kids.gov is an infographics contest for kids up to age 17.  “How Do I Become President?” invites kids to design an infographic or poster before the deadline on November 3, 2010. The Best Overall Infographic will win $2,500 in prize money, and a printed version will be sent to schools and libraries around the country.

Kids.gov is frequently asked, “How can I become the President when I grow up?” Help answer this question by creating an infographic or a poster that explains the process.

The winners will be featured on Kids.gov and the Best Overall Infographic will be printed as posters and distributed to schools and libraries across the country.

 

The judging lineup should be familiar to followers of CoolInfographics.com, I have posted many infographics from some of the infographic judges.

Ali Felski

Ali Felski is Sunlight Labs Senior Designer. Having previously worked for design agencies, WashingtonPost-Newsweek Interactive, and in the United States intelligence community, she brings a wide array of design experience and perspective to the projects in the Labs. Her work has been featured in widely-read Web design publications including Smashing Magazine, numerous CSS Galleries and her personal portfolio website won a South by Southwest award in 2009. She earned her BFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Nicholas Felton

Nicholas Felton spends much of his time thinking about data, charts and our daily routines. He is the author of several Personal Annual Reports that collate countless measurements into a rich assortment of graphs and maps reflecting the year’s activities. He is the co-founder of Daytum.com, a site for counting and communicating daily data, and frequent designer of information graphics for numerous corporations and publications. His work has been profiled in publications including the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Creative Review.

Arlene Hernandez

Manager of Kids.gov

Sarah Slobin

Sarah Slobin has been a Visual Journalist for more than 15 years. She began her training at The New York Times where she spent over a decade working as a Graphics Editor across all the major new desks, as well as running the BusinessDay graphics department. Sarah left the Times to be the Infographics director for Fortune Magazine and Fortune.com. Currently, she is a Senior Graphics Editor at The Wall Street Journal.

Mike Wirth

Mike Wirth is a designer, educator and artist, who utilizes technology as his central medium. Mike is an assistant professor of New Media Design at Queens University of Charlotte and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design. He also owns and operates mikewirthart.com, where he produces interactive, print and motion media projects for clients of various industries.

 

Thanks to Jess and Arlene for sending in the link!

Monday
Aug022010

Automotive Family Tree: Update, Interview and Poster GIVEAWAY! #autotree

Andy Harris from TooManyCars.info has updated (a few times) his fantastic Automotive Family Tree map of who owns the car companies since the last time I posted about it a couple years ago.  The map is so big and detailed that you have to click on specific ownership corporations to zoom into just their connections.  The colored connection lines indicate the nature of each relationship (Joint Venture, License, Ownership or Sharing Technology).


You can enter to win a FREE copy of the printed poster by tweeting a link to this post on Twitter including the hashtag “#autotree” (without the quotes) by the end of the day on August 6th.  I’ve included the hashtag in the title, so you can enter by retweeting the post from my Twitter account.  One winner will be randomly chosen to receive a printed copy of the poster.  You have to be following me on Twitter so I can send you a direct message if you win.

The large version is available for a small donation to TooManyCars.info.  The PDF is available for $5, and the 36”x36” printed poster is available for $30.

Andy also agreed to answer a few interview questions about how he makes the Automotive Family Tree and it’s history.

Cool Infographics: What inspired you to create the Automotive Family Tree?

Andy Harris: About 8-10 years ago in a British auto magazine I saw a diagram showing the main connections between automotive manufactures (Ford owns Lincoln, GM owns Chevy, etc.). The more I thought about the diagram, the more info I wanted to know. I decided I want to learn HTML so I used the idea of the Automotive Family Tree as my learning curve.   

 

Cool Infographics: Do you do all of the design yourself?  What’s your background?

Andy Harris: I do all the design for the website and Automotive Family Tree myself. My day job is telecommunications engineering, however my background is in CAD. Bottom line, I draw maps showing where the telephone cable in the alley is located, type of cable, electronics, etc. I never really consider myself a design artist.   

 

Cool Infographics: What software applications do you use for the family tree?

Andy Harris: Because of my background in CAD, the large PDF is made using AutoCAD. But the smaller diagram for the website is done in OmniGraffle. So, my MacBook Air gets a work out switching between XP to use AutoCAD and OS X to use OmniGraffle.

 

Cool Infographics: How much traffic does having the infographic drive to your site, TooManyCars.info?

Andy Harris: When I first started my website, it was about car reviews. Then I switched to blogging a few years back. But the heart of my website has always been the Automotive Family Tree. This infographic is a major reason someone comes to my blog.


Cool Infographics: Are there any interesting places you know the poster is being displayed?

Andy Harris: The most interesting printed posted I sold to was someone in Russia and Turkey. My download PDF has also been sold around the world. But the most interesting request for the Automotive Family Tree was used in a Master Thesis from a student in Poland. However, one thing I’m proud of is being published in GQ magazine from Taiwan. The automotive industry is truly international!

 

Cool Infographics: What are some of the most surprising or interesting company relationships you’ve found by doing the family tree?

Andy Harris: I think the most surprising relationship in the family tree is the amount of change. There are joint-ventures everywhere because of the economy, and more and more sharing of technology between manufactures, making some strange bed-fellows. I’d say the new Renault-Mercedes-Benz connection is the most surprising.

 

Cool Infographics: How difficult is it to gather the company relationship data?

Andy Harris: I get this question many times, how long did it take you to make this? I really don’t like to think about it, but if I had to guess, 120 + hours in just gathering information, reconfirming, gathering more information, more confirmation and still gathering more information. I’ve recreated it two times. My first example was more simple and just using the major automotive manufactures from USA, Euro and Asia. Then as China grew, I added more automotive logos, more gathering of information and reconfirming. I’m not sure if it was difficult as much as time consuming. But putting this together became a labor of love.

 

Cool Infographics: What are the printing specs for the poster and why?

Andy Harris: I currently print at 36”x36”, I started as D-size or 24”x36”. As it grew 36”x36” was the most logical choice and the square print looks nice.

 

Cool Infographics: What’s the most interesting part of designing the Automotive Family Tree?

Andy Harris: I think one of the most interesting parts about the Automotive Family Tree, is the different types of people wanting to download the PDF. I’ve got request from a F1 engineering group, NUMMI manufacture marketing (before they closed), trading companies, automotive equipment manufacturers and oil companies. But not the petrol makers, think more like lubrications for engines and lubricants for manufacturing equipment. When I started this journey, I only wanted to inform the public that the automotive world is truly international, and now I get emails asking me to add more specialty manufacturers or even make custom inforgraphics.

Great job Andy!