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

Infographic Design

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Entries in design (460)

Friday
Apr302010

What Font Do I Use? - a Typeface Decision Flowchart

Graphic designer Julian Hansen created this cool typeface decision flowchart, So You Need A Typeface, as part of a school project.  The high-resolution version is available to view online, but you can also pre-order the poster version here for $22.  It should start shipping on May 2nd.

So you need a typeface is an alternative way on how to choose fonts (or just be inspired) for a specific project, not just by browsing through the pages of FontBook. The list is (very loosely) based on the top 50 of the “Die 100 besten schriften”.

Of course, the part all of you want to see is the infographic branch…

Found on FlowingData.com

Tuesday
Apr272010

10 Tips for (journalists) Designing Infographics

This article was originally published on “Digital Newsgathering”, a class blog for Journalism 226 at San Francisco State University, Instructor: Staci Baird.  I wrote this post as a guest author, and with permission I am republishing it here.

 

Assuming you’re not working for a media corporation with huge graphics and statistics departments at your disposal, you may want to create some infographics for your own articles.  With today’s flood of information, infographics allow readers to quickly digest and understand complex data.  A good infographic will not only inform readers, but will also create interest and convince people to read your article similar to how good headlines and photos attract readers.  In contrast, both boring and overly complex graphics will quickly convince readers to ignore your article.

Here are 10 tips for designing better infographics (click the images to go to their original sites):

 

1) Be Concise: Design your infographic to convey one idea really well.  You’re not writing a scientific research paper, so don’t expect your reader to dig into a lot of detail.  This doesn’t mean you should only visualize one number, but your entire graphic should support one of the major points from the article.  You can include additional facts or information to make the infographic stand on its own, but don’t lose sight of the point you want to get across.

This example is an infographic poster I created about the caffeine content in drinks.  At this size, you can easily tell which drinks have more or less caffeine, and if you decide to view the higher-resolution image you can dig deeper into the details and additional information that’s included in the poster.

The Caffeine Poster, by Randy Krum

 

2) Be Visual:  Design your infographic with your final for viewing size in mind.  A number of articles online require the viewers to click on a text link to view the graphics that accompany an article, and I believe this is a huge mistake.  Design your graphics to be viewed in-line with your article.  There’s nothing wrong with allowing viewers to click the image to see a high-resolution version, but they should be able to understand the image when viewed with the article.  A side benefit is that a viewable image also allows for readers to share the image by itself on social media sites easily.

Google PageRank Explained, by Elliance

 

3) Be Smarter:  Build your data and explanation right into the infographic, and don’t make your readers have to work hard to understand what they’re seeing.  Your infographic shouldn’t need a legend to be understandable, and there’s no reason to ask your readers to keep moving their eyes back and forth between the chart and the legend to understand the graphic.  Treat your readers as intelligent and make your graphic look professional by including the relevant descriptions and numbers in the infographic.

Who Participates Online?, by Arno Ghelfi for Wired Magazine

 

4) Be Transparent:  Infographics can be used to lead readers to the wrong conclusions.  Always cite your data sources and allow readers to dig deeper into the data if they have the desire.  Some of the best articles include easy access to the source data with links to a spreadsheet for readers to view on their own.

BBC Budget, by David McCandless

See the visual. Explore the data.

 

5) Be Different:  If you can avoid it, don’t use a bar chart, a line chart or a pie chart.  This infographic of visualization styles is a great resource to help determine a good visual to use for your data.  The different styles are grouped together by the type do data they are trying to communicate and in the interactive version, an example is shown as you mouse over each style.

Periodic Table of Visualization, by Visual-Literacy.org

 

6) Be Accurate: Remember your geometry and visualize differences using area.  When trying to convey the scale of your data, many graphics use different sized shapes or images to show amounts relative to each other.  The reader’s eye sees the total area of the image as indicative of scale, not just the height of the image. 

For example, if you’re using circles to show one number is 3 times larger than another, the area of the circle must be in proportion to the values being represented.  If you make the mistake of making the diameter of the circle 3 times larger, the area is actually 9 times larger.

Circle Areas, by Randy Krum

The infographic below breaks down the number of FedEx trucks using the area of the circles in a mind map style image.  This could have been a simple bar chart, but it’s much more visually appealing as a bubble mind map.

The Fedex Universe, by Robin Richards for MeetTheBoss.tv

NOTE: One common exception to this is a standard bar chart.  No matter how wide the bars are, the height is the only dimension that conveys meaning.

 

7) Be Attractive: Include visuals:  Illustrations and photos included in the infographic make a big difference.  Even though this example is a bar chart, the inclusion of the company logos make it quicker and easier for the reader to understand.

What Does Your Email Provider Say About You?, by CreditKarma.com

 

8) Be Varied:  Find a good visual style that’s right for the data you’re trying to share.  If your data is about countries, plot it on a world map not a bar chart that lists countries.  Also, don’t be afraid to mix visualization styles together in one infographic.  

This example infographic by Emily Schwartzman about the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti won a design contest from GOOD Magazine, and mixes map data with a stacked bar and colored boxes for percentages.  This is also a great example of viewing size.  You can see and understand the visuals, but the actual numbers are available if you view the high-resolution version.

Haiti Earthquake Infographic, by Emily Schwartzman

 

9) Be Gracious:  Work on the assumption that your infographic may be viewed or shared without the article you originally designed it for.  Make sure that the final graphic includes the following pieces:

  • Copyright, to be explicit about any rights and terms of use
  • Source data, so anyone can check your facts
  • Designer’s name, always give credit to the artist/illustrator/programmer/designer
  • Original image/article address, so anyone who sees the image can find your original article

 

10) Be Creative:  Use whatever tools you have available to create your infographic.  Of course, the tools you use will depend on what you are trying to visualize.  Many infographics can be created using simple applications like a vector drawing program (like OmniGraffle or Microsoft Visio), a charting program (like Microsoft Office or Apple iWork) or an image editing program (like Adobe Photoshop).

Here are some visual tools available on the Internet: 

Thursday
Apr152010

The Feltron Annual Report 2009 and an Online Class April 29th

I’m not sure how it slipped off the radar, but I haven’t posted a link to the Feltron Annual Report 2009 here on the blog yet.  Nicholas Feltron has done infographics for Time, CNN, Wired, New York Times, Fast Company and more, but probably his most popular infographics are his annual reports.  The print version of the Feltron Annual Report 2009 is available for pre-order for $30 from the Feltron Store.

Mike Aruz interviewed Nicholas Feltron when the 2009 Annual Report was released on mikearauz.com

The reason this came up today is that Nicholas is going to be the host of Live DesignCast: Nicholas Felton, A Master Class on Information Design.  This is an online class from PRINT Magazine on April 29, 2010 at 4pm EST.  The class costs $69 and is one hour long.

Our current information age has produced an inevitable crush of complicated data to sort through. Thankfully, there is a rising group of designers who present all this data in a way that we can understand and use. And for the last several years, no one has done it better than Nicholas Felton. 

In this Master Class, Felton explains how detailed data leads to better stories, offers a few guidelines for displaying complicated data sets, and challenges you to use all five senses through the process. 

In this Master Class DesignCast, you’ll learn: 

• How to visualize large data sets
• How to go from an initial question to gathering, comparison, and display 
• How to use sensors, whether hardware or software, to gather data
• How data helps satisfy curiosity, provides insight, and entertains
• How better data leads to better stories

Tuesday
Apr132010

An Infographic Evolution of the Bra

This two-panel infographic on the Evolution of the Modern Bra was designed by Suzi Slavik for an assignment in her information graphics class at Ohio State University.

The first panel is devoted to social influences, industry leaders, and shifts in fashionable silhouettes. The second panel discusses historical milestones, significant fabrics used, and the bra fitting procedure.

The assignment was to choose any sequence, cycle, or evolution and represent it graphically. The information was to be presented in two separate panels that were related but could also function independently of one another.

Thanks to Matt for the link!

Monday
Apr122010

Diving the Depths - a really deep infographic

I love how this infographic, Diving the Depths, defies the standard paper or poster size to get it’s message across.  I’m really not a fan of the recent trend towards really tall infographics without purpose, but here the tall banner style actually conveys meaning.  Infographic designed by Big Oak Studios.

Found on Infographics Showcase, a great site that also highlights some of the best infographics from the web.

Thanks to Shell for the link!

Friday
Apr092010

An Infographic About Making an Infographic...

An infographic from Brandon Oxendine showing how his time is divided between activities when working on designing an infographic.  Brandon, try spending more time drooling…

You can see more on Brandon’s blog.

Thursday
Apr082010

The Ford Fusion 41 Competition infographic

As part of the advertising behind the Ford Fusion, Ford held a contest with eight teams to break some wacky world records.  Tapping into the public interest in infographics, they worked with designer Thomas Porostocky to develop a visual design they could publish.

The Fusion 41 competition amassed a wealth of raw data generated from all of the teams and activities. To bring these numbers to life we handed the database over to designer Thomas Porostocky who spun it into some amazing poster size visuals. Download the PDF to check out the Fusion 41 stats in their full glory.

This infographic has received some criticism on the web, so I thought I would add a few more comments.  I love the idea that Ford has taken some wacky, strange and funny statistics and visualized them to make them interesting and approachable by viewers.  The results from competitions like “Fastest time to plant a tree”, “Most ‘backseat driving’ comments in 10 seconds” and “Refrigerator magnets stuck to a Ford Fusion” help support the idea that it’s not all serious and the Fusion can be a fun car.  I think the statistics behind the competition are very well focused to be humorous and entertaining to the customer profile that Ford is trying to reach.  I like the grid and speedometer design portions of the poster a lot.

We’ve told the world that the Ford Fusion is up to and up for any challenge. So we chose eight Fusion drivers and their friends to put the Fusion to the test. Every 41 hours for three weeks we tasked these teams to rack up the most points by completing activities with a 2010 Fusion. During those 3 weeks the teams strove to out-score each other across 12 separate activities.  In the end, the team leading in the most Activities walked away with the title of Fusion 41 winner and a Ford Fusion of their own.

I only have two complaints about the infographic myself.  First, I don’t like the over-use of bar charts.  It reminds me of the pages of bar charts that many corporate reports have that could be replaced by a good infographic.  Second, the bright colors used are harsh to the eyes and hard to read.

In December, Ford teamed up with 8 loyal Fusion owners and 4 of their friends to compete in relay challenges that set world records in the 2010 Ford Fusion. Fusion 41 activities included the most turkeys donated to a food bank, most clothes donated to a shelter and most people dancing to the Fusion’s stereo to name a few. The teams had a blast participating in the Fusion 41 program and the results were remarkable!

Take a look and post your thoughts in the comments.  What do you think?

Friday
Mar262010

Japan - The Strange Country [infographic video]

Japan-The Strange Country (English ver.) from Kenichi on Vimeo.

Created by Kenichi Tanaka for his final thesis project, Japan - The Strange Conutry is an infographic video exploring the statistics about Japan and the Japanese people. Available in both English and Japanese language versions.

You can see Kenichi’s work on his design website or his blog.



Thanks to mobarts for the link!

Wednesday
Mar102010

What Do You Suggest? A Visual Search Interface

Using a mindmap-style visual interface, WhatDoYouSuggest.com shows you the search results from Google in an easy-to-use interface.  Created by Simon Elvery, the interface returns the top words that Google suggests based on your initial query.  By clicking on the relevant words, the search becomes more relevant, and more words are suggested to narrow your search.

Both the order of words and the thickness of the lines are meaningful.  More detailed information is available on the Simon’s blog.

 

What Do You Suggest takes a seed from you (or gives you something random) then guides you on a journey through language and the collective lives of Google users.

Using data from Google to make suggetions on where you might like to go next, What Do You Suggest is an experimental and interactive environment designed to explore how we use language and search on the internet.

  • The words that appear first in each set of options are the words Google thinks are most likely to be what people are looking for.
  • The words joined by the thickest lines are ones which will produce the most results if you searched for them on Google.

 

Of course, I had try see what “infographics” cam up with…

Found on Information Aesthetics and Gizmodo.

 

Friday
Feb262010

The History of Olympic Pictograms [video]

 

NYTimes.com posted this video by designer Steven Heller called “Olympic Pictograms Through the Ages”.  You may not agree with Steven’s opinions on which icons were better than others, but it is fascinating that every city for every olympics has tried to redesign the icons to add their own visual personality (with the exception of Montreal in 1976 that reused the icons from 1972).

Designer Steven Heller traces the evolution of the tiny symbols for each Olympic sport since their appearance in 1936.

 

Found on FlowingData and VizWorld