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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Entries in design (413)

Friday
Sep062013

Visualizing the Microsoft-Nokia Deal

Visualizing the Microsoft-Nokia Deal

Good data visualization uses visuals to put data into context for the readers, making the information easier to understand.  This simple infographic takes a couple charts previously published by Nielsen, and uses them to provide context to the news story of Microsoft acquiring Nokia’s handset devices unit for $7.2 Billion.

Combining data visualization with text and images should make the information easier and faster to understand, and this design does a great job.

Designer unknown.  Thanks to Mike Elgan for posting on Google+ and Luke Millar (@ltm) for posting on Twitter.

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.

Wednesday
Aug212013

A Website Design Process

A Website Design Process infographic

A Website Designed is a process explanation infographic, created by John Furness of Simple Square, highlights the phases of creating a website for a designer and the client. 

A Website Designed is an infographic of the average website’s creation. Feel free to download and share this, or link directly to it here on our blog.

Great visualization design of a business process.  The sequential events are arranged along a straight timeline, but a number of additional elements of information have been added.  Color-coding, sized circles and milestones all add valuable information to the reader.

A high-resolution PDF is available in multiple languages: English, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew and Dutch.

Found on Simple Square!

Monday
Aug122013

Design Client Engagement Poster

Design Client Engagement Poster

The Design Client Engagement Poster argues that a positive client experience can lead to a sustainable business. The poster separates the experience into 3 phases. The Pre-Service Phase is about client’s expectations, the Service Phase is about the client’s experiences, and the Post-Service Phase is about client satisfaction/dissatisfaction. This poster can be found on Design Client Engagement.com and is available for purchase for $25 + shipping here.

A positive client experience with your service can lead to more clients and ultimately, a sustainable business. A service does not exist in isolation; it is a string of experiences made up of touchpoints over time. Like a chain that will break at the weakest link, the client experience will break at the weakest touchpoint.

Cool visual explanation design created by Matt Pasternack from Nack Creative can be found on www.designclientengagement.com!

Wednesday
Aug072013

Don't Design by Committee!

Design by Committee chart

Rule #5: Avoid branding by committee or focus group.  This is true for most design projects.  It doesn’t matter if the project is a logo, and advertisement, a product or an infographic.  The number of people may be off though.  I find a small number of people can create a fantastic design, but it goes downhill quickly beyond that.

From 7 steps to create a killer brand, by Jim Price, posted on StockLogos.com

It’s good to be inclusive and seek opinions and ideas. But if you form a committee and put everything to a vote, you’re likely to end up with a least-common-denominator brand that’s bland, uninspired, and may look more like a hybrid camel-elephant than the thoroughbred you’d hoped for.

Found on the Brands of the World Facebook feed.

Thursday
Aug012013

Choosing a CMS for Your Business

Choosing a CMS for Your Business infographic

This graphic will help you figure out what is the best Content Management System (CMS) for you and your business. Discover what a CMS is, types of CMS, popular CMS, market shares and advantages with, The Most Popular CMS for Your Business Needs infographic posted on Dot Com Infoway

Chennai, India Dot Com Infoway (DCI), a premier IT company providing offshore IT outsourcing solutions to businesses across the globe, has announced the release of its latest infographic, titled “Content Management Systems: Choosing the Right One for Your Business Needs”. The infographic provides a top to bottom look at various CMSs and chalks out a road map for organizations, businesses and individuals looking to choose content management systems perfect for their needs.

The infographic outlines the fundamentals of content management systems, the industries in which they find use and the types of CMSs available. It is replete with information, data, statistics and illustrations such as the date of initial release, the platform used, the latest version, the number of themes it has, average setup and customization cost, average monthly maintenance cost, the number of websites using the CMS, the popular websites that use the platform and the top industries using the CMS.

“With the recent exponential growth of nightly builds of CMSs’ modules and plugins, we thought this would be the perfect time to showcase the CMS industry with an infographic that provides users with an all-around perspective. Our run through of key aspects of various CMSs, will help firms make better business decisions by taking advantage of all the information at their disposal,” said Venkatesh C. R., CEO of Dot Com Infoway.

The infographic also provides statistics on the market share of various content management systems. Based on the analysis and research data, WordPress, with a market share of 54.4%, has a competitive advantage over other top CMSs. Following WordPress, (with margins of difference of more than 45%) are Joomla and Drupal with market shares of 8.9% and 7% respectively.

Personally, I run this site on the Squarespace.com CMS platform, and I’m very surprised that it wasn’t listed in the infographic.  I realize there are over 1,200 CMS platforms, so they had to make some hard choices about which ones to include.

The design does a good job of using the platform logos to clearly identify the different players.  I wish the numerical data associated with each platform was visualized instead of just shown in text.  It very hard for a reader to compare the costs or stats between the platforms when all of the data is only in text.

Also, the data is not clearly sourced.  The sites where the data was gathered from are listed, but no specific links the pages with the actual data used, like market share numbers.  Most of the source sites are actually lookup and comparison tools, so it would be hard to list specific URLs for some of the data.

Found on bestinfographics.co

Friday
Jul192013

Units of Measure Calendar

An intriguing calendar that shows the date by using units of measurements commonly used. Designed by the team at ACRE in Singapore, you can buy your own Unit of Measure Calendar poster. There are two editions, a blue and black version as well as a black and copper.  

The idea of creating a calendar was always at the top of our heads. However, we needed an idea that was sound, that made sense. We went back to our roots for that big idea, and we stumbled upon the fact our agency is named after a unit of measure.

Things began to click into gear and the team worked to create a calendar that would highlight 12 units of measure . This brought a lot of symmetry to our design philosophy which melds sense and practicality together. This craft-centric calendar is designed to be practically functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. 

I do wish the high-resolution version was available to view online, but we can only see the gallery images.


Dimensions: 990 × 680 mm (39 × 26.75 in)

Found on Fast Co Design

Wednesday
Jul172013

Kim Rees and Dino Citraro - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Kim Rees and Dino Citraro

 

When an Infographic Isn’t

Infographics are popular, useful, and seem to be an established part of our vernacular these days. They are easy to read, quick to digest, and for the most part, can require less work to create than a more in-depth data visualization. However, as with many things that are popular and useful, they have a dubious imposter that is frequently wrongly categorized. 

 

Digital Posters

Digital Posters are everywhere and almost entirely presented under the auspices of being an Infographic. These distant cousins confuse the definition of an Infographic because while they often might be easy to read and quick to digest, they fail to expand the essence of the data by adding context and metaphor. 

A collection of cats holding a variety of mobile devices may be adorable, but it is not an Infographic. A huddle of celebrities who all have a similarly peculiar personality trait might curious, but this also, is not an Infographic. Extremely large numbers surrounding nicely formed text treatments is not an Infographic.

All of these are examples of Digital Posters.

 

If You Want to Make an Infographic, Don’t Make a Digital Poster

You might still be confused by the revelation that not all things posing as Infographics are in fact genuine, but if it’s your job to create one, here are a few things to keep in mind:

 

Add Context

One of the most important things an Infographic can do is add context. Consider this example:

The illustration on the left represents the way this information would be presented in a Digital Poster. The illustration on the right shows the same information as an Infographic. Both of these start the same information, but the Infographic allows the viewer to glean a deeper understanding through the addition of context.  A good example of a Digital Poster posing as an infographic can be seen here: http://think.withgoogle.com/databoard/

 

Expand Context Through the Use of Metaphors

Infographics can (and should) be enhanced through the use of metaphor.

Being stuck with a single number to display is maddening. How do you show size? What does its size even mean? This dilemma is an opportunity to add context and metaphor. By comparing a number to something else that is familiar, you create understanding. 

Here are some examples of adding context to the previous graphic:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6352095776/in/set-72157629247990061

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6351350561/in/set-72157629247990061

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6351350295/in/set-72157629247990061

 

Keep in mind that the context should match the subject matter. The examples provided above concern emails – or correspondence – and the metaphor will be most effective when it extends the topic. Making a comparison to a page of text and the time spent reading it are easy leaps of imagination because the viewer’s mind is already considering the concept of communication. If we had instead compared that number to the blades of grass in a field, the size of the field might end up being pretty large, but the goal of getting the viewer to imagine the scale of the emails requires a larger cognitive leap, and provides less impact. 

By adding metaphor to data we add dimension. Through this abstraction we gain the ability to provide complex information in a way that is accessible to a much wider audience than that which might be familiar with the specific subject matter. In addition, metaphors not only provide an easy vehicle for empathy and comprehension, they are also an excellent opportunity to add visual interest.

 

Respect the Data

Data collectors are the historians of our time. The data revolution that started with affordable large storage devices is capturing our history in the finest detail we have ever known. The process of collecting it, specifically when it is done by real people, is difficult and tedious, and largely goes unnoticed. When you visualize data, you must respect what you have, and the enormous potential it represents. Even the simplest statistic deserves more than a passing thought, or an effortless grasp at the most obvious visual display that comes to mind.

 

Do More

When creating an Infographic, the data you present must do more as a graphic than if it were presented as a number or single line of text. Adjusting the size of your text, illustrating a word found within the text, or even showing the concept embraced by a cute illustration is not enough. If you believe the data has a story to tell, then you should do your best to tell it.

 

Know Your Options 

Working with data is nuanced and requires an understanding of the appropriate types of data display. A single data set, or statistic, can potentially have multiple ways of being visualized. In the same manner, a single data presentation method can be used to display multiple types of data. Understanding the relationship between your data and your data presentation options is essential if you want to create effective Infographics.

 

Strive for Elegance and Clarity

A natural tendency is to want to include every datapoint on the screen, assuming that more data will equate to more credibility. This is logical in spirit, but counterproductive in practice. Data design follows the same rules as visual design. Remove anything you can’t justify and isn’t relevant to the message you’re trying to convey. The empty spaces, the things you leave out, can provide clarity – and can also provide an opportunity to evoke questions in the viewer’s mind (that’s a good thing). 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/8004311938/in/set-72157631576836704

 

Use Emotion

The best way to connect with people is to elicit an emotional response. No matter what the subject matter, visualizers need to have empathy for how people will feel when they reflect on the data we’re presenting. Sock, joy, sorrow, curiosity, and other strong emotional reactions likely illustrate that you’ve chosen an important dataset and are presenting it well. In many ways, the ultimate compliment an Infographic creator can receive is to know that a viewer of their work is being moved at a level that goes deeper than just an intellectual response. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/8601076022/in/set-72157633115411317

 

Be Authentic and Sincere

Presenting datapoints without consideration for what they represent shows a lack of empathy. When you visualize data, it is essential to understand the role it plays in the larger social conversation. If it has the potential to change a person’s worldview, you need to do whatever you can to make this happen. Divorcing yourself from this responsibility is the sign of on uninspired designer. Imagine you are actually having a conversation with the viewer. Let your design choices begin a dialog.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6792935314/

 

Know the Difference

Data is easy to love. It represents truth and clarity, and can inspire people to grab whatever living thing is nearest to them and insist it listen. It can move a person to join a protest, to shout a slogan, or even inspire someone to make a poster. Even a digital one.

When we begin to discern between graphical representations of data and actual visualizations of data, we become better data consumers and better knowledge creators. There is a place for Digital Posters, it’s just not the same place as Infographics.

 

 

Kim Rees

Partner & Head of Data Visualization (@krees)

Kim Rees is Head of Information Visualization at Periscopic, and is a prominent individual in the data visualization community. She has presented at several industry events including Strata, OSCON, Wolfram Data Summit, VisWeek, Tableau User Conference, NY Hacks/Hackers, and Portland Data Visualization among others.

She is an advisor to the US Congressional Budget Office. Kim has published papers in Parsons Journal of Information 

Mapping, was an award winner in the VAST 2010 Challenge, and is a guest blogger for Infosthetics and FlowingData.

Recently, she was the Technical Editor of Visualize This, by Nathan Yau of FlowingData. She was a judge on the WikiViz Challenge 2011 and CommArts Interactive Annual 2012.

 

Dino Citraro

Partner & Head of Strategy (@dinocitraro)

Dino Citraro is Head of Strategic Design and Operations at Periscopic, and has a strong background in problem solving, creative direction, and writing. 

A twenty-year veteran of the multimedia industry, his work has spanned immersive online development, application design, interactive motion pictures, multi-player games, and interactive hardware installations.

He is the Visualization Editor of the Big Data journal, as well as a contributing blogger to several industry sites. He is also an accomplished photographer, a published poet, and has written & illustrated seven children’s books.

Wednesday
Jul102013

Matthew Dunn - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Dr. Matthew Dunn

What Makes an Infographic Cool?  Beer.

Beer is cool.

So is an infographic on beer cool?

I think this one is cool:

The Very Many Varieties of Beer infographic poster

But, unfortunately for the guys at Pop Chart Lab:

  • First Rule of Cool: “The act of discovering what’s cool causes cool to move on.”

Dang, if I think this is cool, it must not be, because

  • Second Rule of Cool: “Cool cannot be manufactured, only observed.”

plus

  • Third Rule de Cool: “…can only be observed by those who are themselves cool.”  *

I discovered this, and I’m not cool. (Never have been. Never will be.) So, Pop Chart Lab guys, I apologize for thinking The World of Beer infographic is cool, and killing you on #1 and #3.  But leaving aside my fondness for the subject matter, here’s why it’s cool.

1) Show More In Less. 

This shows me much more about beer varieties on one page than could be written in one page.  It makes effective use of a few visual-communications principles - connection, clustering, scale and typography - to help me traverse, relate and generally make sense of 300+ different beers and about 100 varieties. That’s thousands of relationships in one page; if they’d have typed all that, I’d have gone out for a sample instead.

Many of the awful constructs that set out to be “infographics” manage to say in one large page what could be said in one short paragraph. They’re long on decoration and stylistic flourish, short on substance. Not cool.

2) Structure Is Chancellor **

The visual design here is driven by the structure of the subject matter.  They didn’t draw a bunch of circles and lines and say “Hey, let’s fill these in with beer varieties!”.  Likewise, the aesthetic choices - color, line, typography for example - serve the subject matter instead of overriding it.  (The quasi-Victorian look underlines the historical longevity of beer varieties, for example.)  It’s also worth pointing out that visualization is more effective with this structure than language.  Describing all of these formal relationships in English (or your language of choice) would be ponderous and far, far longer. 

Run-of-the-mall infographics tend to impose style on structure. Not cool.

3) The Goal Is Understanding

A very old-fashioned criterion for cool, admittedly, but absolutely key IMHO.  I happen to like Arrogant Bastard Ale (top-left); understanding that it’s an American Strong Ale, which is an offshoot of Strong Pale Ale, in the flick of an eye…is cool. It delivers on that criterion called “utility value” in the intellectual-property world - ‘does something useful’ - because it helps me understand more, more quickly - at least up to the limits of consumption in this case. (Will I remember all of it? No. Is it in Evernote for future brewpub visits? Yes.)

Not-cool infographics tend to aim at goals external to understanding of the subject matter - goals like SEO ranking, keyword packing, and branding.  These are fine business goals, but pretending to inform me is an Arrogant Bastard move, really. It’s a trick of the form - “look at our cool infographic” masking “look at us.”  It’s interrupt advertising masquerading as content marketing and that’s not cool.

Infographics (a portmanteau nobody should carry) tend to split along data-rich and decoration-rich. The World of Beer isn’t a Big Data set - but it’s a respectably difficult subject to tackle.  There’s some real design integrity to this piece - no CGI trickery or typographical back-flips because that would be wrong for the subject.

It’s a personal bias, to be sure, but I find the coolest infographics tend to have that kind of restraint and class. They aim more at connecting me to the subject matter than the subject maker.  That’s me; may not be you.  Cool, like beer, is a matter of taste.

* Malcolm Gladwell, The Coolhunt, New Yorker, 1997.

** There are too many “content is king, ______ is queen” tropes, you don’t need another.   Where content is king, structure is the power behind the throne.

 

Matthew Dunn is Chief Explainer at Say It Visually, the Explanation Agency.  

He holds the first PhD in Digital Media, which he created at the University of Washington (just before the Web was invented), and an MFA in Directing from the University of Texas.  He’s been a teacher, professor, a 9-year Microsoft veteran, a Fortune 1000 Senior VP & CIO and a tech-startup CEO.  He’s also an award-winning writer, designer, director, frequent public speaker, and an inventor, with 15 patents to date.  He launched Say It Visually with a business partner in 2008, and lives with his family in Bellingham, WA, a town of superb brewpubs.

 

 

 

LINKS:

Website: sayitvisually.com

Twitter: @DrMatthewDunn

Google+: DrMatthewD

LinkedIn: drmatthewdunn

 

Friday
Jul052013

The Conversation Prism 4.0 for 2013

The Conversation Prism 4.0 for 2013 infographic

Brian Solis has released the new Conversation Prism 4.0, with updated companies and categories for 2013.  This project series has been a favorite on Cool Infographics since version 1.0 was released in 2008, and we haven’t seen an update since version 3.0 was released in 2010.

What is The Conversation Prism?

Developed in 2008 by Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life.

Version 4.0 brings about some of the most significant changes since the beginning. In this round, we moved away from the flower-like motif to simplify and focus the landscape. With all of the changes in social media, it would have been easier to expand the lens. Instead, we narrowed the view to focus on those that are on a path to mainstream understanding or acceptance. The result was the removal of 122 services while only adding 111. This introduces an opportunity for a series of industry or vertical-specific Prisms to be introduced so stay tuned.

The Conversation Prism 4.0 for 2013 closeup

The design highlights the major companies in 26 different categories of social networking services.  This update loses the flower-like design style of the last three versions, and changes to a more straightforward circle with equal sized pie slices.

The inner circles have always been a little confusing for readers and marketers because the intent is that the inner labels can be adjusted depending on the user.  They don’t necessarily relate specifically to the services they are located near in the outer slices.

As a snapshot of the current social media landscape, this is a fantastic tool for marketers to consider the tools and services they want to engage for any particular campaign.  Three years was too long to wait for an update, since this landscape is changing and evolving very quickly.  That’s why 122 individual services were removed and 111 services were added. 

The Conversation Prism 4.0 for 2013 poster

The Conversation Prism 4.0 is available as a free high resolution JPG image download (great for computer wallpaper/desktop) of for purchase as a 22”x28” wall poster for $19.

Thanks to Jarred for sending in the link!  Also found on Mashable and The Next Web.