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

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

DFW DataViz Meetup
NEXT EVENT: September 6, 2016

Join the DFW Data Visualization and Infographics Meetup Group if you're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!

Search the Cool Infographics site

Custom Search




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

Entries in design (466)


iPad Meets the Competition (infographic)

From SectionDesign, iPad Meets the Competition is great design that looks at the products in the market that will compete with the iPad in four different product categories.

This infographic was commissioned by Courrier Japon Magazine in Tokyo and is based on the article “The iPad Changes Everything” originally published by Fortune Magazine. It was printed in the July 2010 Issue.

It illustrates the introduction of the iPad and how many devices in different markets are now finding themselves in direction competion to the power of the iPad and the Apps Store. All data was researched by myself, and the graphic was later split onto two pages to better fit the flow of the article.



Found on FlowingData.com


Facebook's Secret Strategy Infographic

Art: Audrey Fukuman

There was some controversy when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unintentionally revealed the 2010 Facebook Strategy Infographic that was printed on the inside liner of his hoodie at the D8 conference.  Audrey Fukuman at SFWeekly.com has recreated the infographic based on the video and photos.

Photo via AllThingsD/Anna Mathat

According to SFWeekly.com, this was a hoodie given to all Facebook employees.

I expect some disagreement, but I’m a firm believer that you can absolutely design an infographic to represent a strategy, a concept or a qualitative result.  Infographics don’t have to be based only on a massive amount of quantitative, numeric data.  What do you think, does this qualify as an infographic?

Here’s the video clip from the AllThingsD D8 conference when Mark removed the hoodie and revealed the graphic:

Found on SFWeekly.com and digg.com


InfoChimps Data API BETA program launched!

InfoChimps.com has launched the BETA program for the use of their data through InfoChimps APIs.  The two initial data sets are Twitter and U.S. Census data.

Initial pricing has been announced for this introductory period, and there is a level for FREE access for anyone who want to experiment with the data.

Found on ReadWriteWeb


The Color Strata, a beautiful color naming infographic

Stephen Von Worley at WeatherSealed.com has taken the data made public from XKCD’s Color Name Survey and created a very cool infographic, The Color Strata.  Check out the high-resolution version.

The Color Strata includes the 200 most common color names (excluding black-white-grayish tones), organized by hue horizontally and relative usage vertically, stacked by overall popularity, shaded representatively, and labeled where possible.  Besides filtering spam, ignoring cruft, normalizing grey to gray, and correcting the most egregious misspellings (here’s looking at you, fuchsia), the results are otherwise unadulterated.  As such, similar color names, like sea green, seafoam green, and seafoam, each appear separately.  They’re synonymous… or are they?

Also check out the smoothed version:

It’s the same basic graph, but with flipped shading, label-free, stretched to fill the vertical, and whipped until creamy smooth.

The volunteer survey have over 200,00 respondents that named over 5,000,000 color samples.  Here’s the original image created by XKCD.com when they posted the data.

Found on ChartPorn.org and FlowingData.com


A Cool Interview with Nathaniel Pearlman (infographic designer)


With the release of the Visual History of the American Presidency last week, I asked Nathaniel Pearlman, infographic designer and President of Timeplots, LLC, if he would be willing to do a short interview.  Nathaniel was nice enough to answer a few questions about his infographic design process and his projects.

Nathaniel started the company in May 2009 and released the Visual History of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) (which you see above) as their first infographic poster. 

Here’s the interview with Nathaniel:


Cool Infographics: What software applications do you use for the Timeplots posters?

Nathaniel Pearlman: So far we have programmed our graphics in the R language and done some final design work in Illustrator. I’m interested in hearing about other platforms to use for complex data and layout — especially other software applications that would allow us to create interactive and print versions from the same code base.

Cool Infographics: Can you describe your design process?

Nathaniel Pearlman: We start by asking ourselves what an informed audience would want to know about the subject we’re tackling. For example, for the presidential print, we asked ourselves, “Why is each president important? Why should people care about these guys? What is measurable about the context in which they served, and how could we show that?”

Then we go through a data collection phase: we take some time to see what data has already been collected on the subject, we catalog sources, and then we obtain data (and rights, if necessary) for the information we need. We wait until we have the hard data and have examined it and visualized it in several ways before we settle on what stories we can pull out of it.

The primary phase of the design process is iterative – there is a lot of trial and error. For example, we programmed (and scrapped) several major design ideas for our Senate print before settling on the current version. It turns out that our process is longer and more involved than I expected. Each print thus far has taken many months of data collection, design, and review. We also included quite a number of reviewers into our design process, folks with substantive expertise and designers as well.

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

Nathaniel Pearlman: I like the big picture: for me, the presidential print shows a historical view into the sweep of U.S. history — a marked contrast with the more journalistic, and immediate, take on the political and economic state of the nation that we are used to seeing in the news. It lengthened my perspective on current events, and I hope that it does so for those who purchase the print.

When you see the entire span of U.S. history visualized in just a few feet of space, you see the economy bouncing up and down, the parties jockeying back and forth, the budget bumping along. The ups and downs then seem fairly routine from this perspective, especially when compared to the sensationalism of our daily headlines. The other thing that really stands out is the growth of the country since 1789, both economically (in real GDP) and in population. As to the small picture: I love seeing details of each election — what percentage of the vote did Strom Thurmond get in 1948, for example, and which states did he win — so we tried to put each election into context with a scoreboard and electoral cartogram wrapped around the curve of party control of the executive.


Cool Infographics: What was the hardest part behind designing the Presidential poster?

Nathaniel Pearlman: When you see a finished product like ours, what you miss are the hundreds of decisions that were labored over as it was created. For me, the most difficult thing is deciding when I’m done. Every time I look at a new draft, I have ideas for changes that could be made. At some point I have to say “enough is enough; we are done.” The other hard part is writing the text that’s included on the print.. just crafting short explications of each presidency is difficult.

Cool Infographics: Where are some of your favorite places that have the SCOTUS poster on display?

Nathaniel Pearlman: We are happy that the U.S. Supreme Court library displays a framed print, and the gift shop in the Supreme Court building itself carries the print. We’ve also seen many purchases by legal luminaries — we’re not legal experts ourselves, so it’s nice to see that the experts appreciate our work. A son of a current justice bought one. Also, many high school teachers from across the country have purchased prints for their classrooms (we offer discounts for educators); it’s great to see teachers showing interest in using data visualization as an educational tool.

Cool Infographics: Where do you have the posters printed, what are the printing specs and why? 

Nathaniel Pearlman: We shopped around quite a bit for a printer, because we are fussy about the results – we wanted the quality of the paper to top-notch, we needed relatively fast turnaround and reliable fulfillment, and we wanted the printing process to be environmentally friendly — all of this, of course, at an affordable cost. We currently offset-print the posters in Maryland, at Whitmore printing, and they also do our fulfillment. (Ideally, we would like to find an affordable on-demand printer who can handle our large-scale posters and fulfillment. If we found this, we would be able to sell shorter-run prints; please send me any suggestions!)

Cool Infographics: Would you share some thoughts on running a business selling infographic posters?

Nathaniel Pearlman: I am enjoying Timeplots. As a profit-generating business, it is not for the faint-of-heart. I am lucky to have some time and space to try it, but it is unlikely to run in the black for quite some time. My first company, NGP Software, Inc. (www.ngpsoftware.com) is doing well and allows me to do this on the side.

Cool Infographics: How has the Timeplots On Demand side of the business been going with private clients? 

Nathaniel Pearlman: We’ve really enjoyed working with people who aren’t necessarily familiar with data visualization — everyone who we’ve worked with has been more than happy with the results. So — if anyone reading this has a project in mind, or if you want us to create a visualization for you or your institution — let us know!

Cool Infographics: How did the process of using Amazon Mechanical Turk for proofreading work for you?

Nathaniel Pearlman: Mechanical Turk is a good method for crowd-sourcing some kinds of work. We’ve used it for three separate projects now — twice for proofreading, and once for fact-checking research. We have gotten more hits than misses, so it’s been worthwhile. Eliza manages that process and has been impressed by the level of work she has received. The Mechanical Turk worker community (“turkers,” as they call themselves) are serious about their work, and it shows. In a couple cases, a “turker” found an error that we all missed: for example, when we posted the presidential print for proofreading, one turker pointed out that we listed Vice President John C. Breckinridge as “Breckenridge,” clearly misspelling his name. Another turker noted that we had described President Taylor as dying “halfway” through his term, when in fact it was a few months prior to “halfway.”

Cool Infographics: What should we expect in the future from Timeplots?

Nathaniel Pearlman: We have a rough list of fifty or sixty more projects we would love to do. After we launch the Senate print, we will decide what is next. I would love to hear from your audience what they would like to see, and we are always looking for collaborators, if someone would like to work with us on a project that they care about. We’re always open to new ideas!



A Visual History of the American Presidency - new infographic poster


Timeplots has released their second infographic poster, A Visual History of the American Presidency.  Timeplots was launched by Nathaniel Pearlman and Frank Hamilton in December 2009 with the release of the Visual History of the Supreme Court infographic poster, which is now hanging in many schools, law practices and political offices.

This large-scale print is like nothing else available on the history of the American presidency. It places each president in historical context, visualizing a remarkable range of political, social, and economic measures to succinctly tell the story of the presidency. Narratives are displayed within the larger context of American political history by aggregating and annotating hard data on population, presidential elections, Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the U.S. economy, and the federal budget and debt. The Timeplot provides a new lens into American political history; it is not intended to be absorbed at a glance, but rather to be visited and revisited over time.



A beautiful poster, and a very impressive infographic design.  Very Tufte-like in its infographic design, which is no surprise since Nathaniel was a student of Edward Tufte at Yale.  

At its heart, this is a fantastic mix of timelines.  Additionally, the poster is an incredibly detailed infographic that includes things like the time period of each President, the balance of Congress during each term, approval ratings, population growth, the U.S. GDP, the Federal Budget, unemployment, election cartograms and statistics, a biography of each President’s political history and so much more.



The high-resolution infographic is available on the Timeplots site using Zoomify, but it really shines as the printed poster.  You can order the printed 32”x48” poster from the Timeplots.com site for $45, or a smaller 24”x36” version for $30. 



Great job to the entire team at Timeplots!  Later today, I’ll post a behind-the-scenes interview with Nathaniel.


iPhone 3GS vs. iPhone 4 infographic


From the iPhone team at Mahalo, the iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 3G infographic does a good job covering the bases on what’s new about the new iPhone.  But Jason Calacanis asked at the end of the post “any ideas of how to improve?”  So I offer my infographic suggestions:

  1. Visualize the data accurately.  It the battery section the bars shown are 8 bars for 5 hours and 12 bars for 7 hours.  Based on that scale, the 7 hours should only be 11.2 bars. Matching the numbers exactly with 5 and 7 bards would be easier for the readers to comprehend. The small bar chart in between is redundant.
  2. Do something to visualize the increase in processor speed and RAM.  Don’t just list numbers.
  3. Do something to visualize the megapixels of the camera, don’t just list the numbers.  A square showing the area covered by each resolution would be good.
  4. Same with the screen resolution, do something to visualize how many more pixels or on the display
  5. The 24% thinner looks like an after thought, make size and dimensions its own category
  6. Don’t show 8GB, 16GB and 32GB memory cards all the same size.  Visualize the differences.

 What would you suggest as improvements?


WTF is HTML5 and Why Should We Care? (infographic)

From Focus.com, WTF is HTML5 is a cool visual explanation of HTML5, how supported it is by different browsers and how it compares to Adobe Flash.

From an infographic design view, I don’t like the legend for the color codes in the browser matrix.  I shouldn’t have to look back and forth to figure out what feature is missing from a particular browser.


5 SciFi Movie Quotes...made into infographics

Nathan Yau has designed these humorous infographics representing five famous sci-fi movie quotes for SciFi Wire.

You can see Nathan’s explanation on his website, FlowingData.com, and all of the quotes on SciFiWire.com.  I hope you do more of these Nathan!

In something of a Data Underload, special edition, I played with famous science fiction quotes for Sci Fi Wire. My favorite is obviously from Back to the Future, the greatest movie of all time.


Ecological Footprint from Digital Eskimo

In their interactive 2009 Ecological Footprint infographic report, Digital Eskimo has used the analogy of the football field (soccer field in America) to visualize their impact because global hectares (the standard units of ecofootprint measurement) aren’t easy to conceptualize.

I love that the team at Digital Eskimo is not only using this infographic to share results and information within the company, but also sharing it publicly to demonstrate their commitment to working on projects that inspire positive social, organisational and environmental change.  Infographics are a VERY powerful tool for communicating clear messages within your company, even if you never share it with the outside world.

Digital Eskimo has always worked very hard to minimise our impact on the environment. In order to help us better understand these impacts, and develop more effective strategies to address them, we calculated our ecological footprint for the 2009 financial year.

Ecological footprinting is one way of measuring whether the way in which we operate is sustainable in a global context. We chose this method because it is widely used, it provides results in an understandable format while clearly showing relative impacts of different elements of our operations.

Thanks to Sally for the link and a description of how Digital Eskimo is walking the talk.