I recently found a great old infographic from xkcd.com visualizing the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Check out the detail in the larger version on the xkcd site.
Entries in design (466)
As much as I love infographics, I’m not a graphic designer. I’ve created a number of graphics for my corporate jobs, but they always deal with confidential information so I can’t share those on the blog. Up until now, all of the graphics I’ve posted about on Cool Infographics are the work of great designers around the world. Recently, I decided to try my hand at creating one of my own to share with everyone.
If you follow me on Twitter (@rtkrum), you may have read that I started on this back in June 2009. I haven’t had much time to spend on it, so it definitely took longer than I originally thought. I want to share some of the decisions and solutions I came across during the process, and maybe it will help anyone reading this when they work on their own infographics.
You may say, “This is such a simple graphic, why did it take 6 months? It looks like it should be pretty easy.” First, I would say that I wasn’t working on it full time, but I think the exercise also highlights how much work really goes into infographic designs. It’s not a new sentiment, but let me say that designers don’t get enough credit.
What should the infographic be about?
Of course the first question I had to tackle was what should I create an infographic about? I wanted to find something that had a lot of publicly available data, but also a topic that hadn’t already been covered by a bunch of other graphics. A topic of interest to a lot of people, so the audience for the infographic would also be large. I liked the idea of caffeine content because although the data is available online, it’s not included on the government regulated Nutrition Facts on drinks. Very few companies add it voluntarily, but for the most part you have to go find the data on your own.
Also, the data available online was predominantly text figures, so you have to scroll through pages of information to find the drink you’re looking for. This combination of hard to find data, and hard to decipher once you find it made for a good topic.
How to calculate the data?
I created a simple spreadsheet to massage the data, and there were two ways I could have calculated the caffeine content. Either total caffeine content (mg), or caffeine concentration (mg/oz). Although caffeine concentration would be a good common denominator to compare drinks, it doesn’t capture how much you consumer when you actually purchase a drink. Most of these drinks don’t come from a dispenser where you could choose how much you wanted to drink.
For example, the Starbucks Doubleshot is a very high concentration (20 mg/oz), but it comes in a 6.5oz can. Therefore you only get 130mg of caffeine when you drink a can. Compare that to a McDonald’s Large Coffee that has a lower concentration (9 mg/oz), but comes in a 16oz cup for a total of 145 mg.
Ultimately, I decided to visualize the consumer friendly version that would should how much you get when you make a purchase decision, and went with the total caffeine content.
What type of visual should I use?
The scale was the obvious choice to show the relative content of the drinks. Back in June, I started with a very simple sketch in my Moleskine.
Because there are so many drinks in the lower half, my original design thought had a closeup of the 0-100mg range. Here’s an early working version:
I didn’t like how this looked, or how much dead space in the post this would create. So ultimately I ended up significantly cutting down the number of drinks I could include, and moving the scale to the center so I could include drinks on both sides.
You’ll also notice how muddy brown the yellow in the middle of the scale looks in these old images. I later figured out how to do a 3-color blend instead of just a 2-color blend from red to green.
What software did I use to create the poster?
This is easily the most asked question I hear about any infographic. I use a Mac, and really only used a small number of applications. Here’s a list of the software packages I used:
- OmniGraffle Pro 4.2.3 - Overall layout and creation of the final image
- Pixelmator 1.5 - Image editing
- Keynote 5.0.3 - Used for image editing and alpha masks
- Numbers 2.0.3 - For the data calculations
I will add that one of my best friends is an art director, and she helped clean up a few of the photos using Photoshop and Illustrator. A huge “Thank You” to Steffani for her help.
More to come…
Short but good presentation from Ryan Coleman, the Chief Community Evangelist at VizThink!
Just reading this description unleashes a complex process to help your mind understand what your eyes are looking at. Together, our brain and eyes run through these processes millions upon millions of times daily, all without us even being aware of it. “Designing for Visual Efficiency” looks at the process of how we see and how that knowledge allows you to create designs that are visually efficient.
Ryan Coleman is an entrepreneur, facilitator and information designer from Toronto, ON. Through interactive workshops, facilitated sessions and/or consulting projects Ryan works with clients to organize and refine their ideas and shape them into a common vision that they can act on and share clearly, concisely & consistently. Ryan is also a founding member and Chief Community Evangelist for VizThink, a global community of visual thinkers & practitioners.
You are what you drink. With so many drinks today claiming to be “energy drinks”, I wanted a little visual clarification, so I made The Caffeine Poster. With coffee drinks on one side and canned cold drinks on the other, you can quickly see how much of a caffeine “hit” (in mg) you will get after consuming. What’s especially interesting is many of the drinks have a very high caffeine mg/oz ratio, but the drink is so small you don’t get that much total caffeine.
I’ve been working on my own infographic for 6 months now off-and-on when I can make time. I figured that I’ve been running this infographic blog for a few years now, it’s time to start putting up my own work. Most of the data visualization I’ve designed are confidential to the company I make them for, so I wanted to create some infographics that I can publish on the blog.
The Caffeine Poster is supposed to help with one decision in your life. If you’re going to grab a caffeine drink during the day (or evening), which drink should you consume? I tried to stay focused on telling one story really well. I’ve heard from others that this may make for a really good infographic, but may not make a great poster because a good poster would have a much deeper level of detail. I like it, and we’ll see what king of responses I get.
I absolutely want to hear your feedback. Please add your comments below or send me a note. What do you think? I’ve also got requests to print and offer this as a poster. We’ll see if there is enough interest…
Also, I’m planning to post as “Making-of” article on what it took to create this infographic.
THANKS: A big thanks to Fast Company for posting about The Caffeine Poster on the Fast Company blog. The Caffeine Poster was the most popular story of the week on Fast Company!
I decided to update my résumé with a different perspective on the typical time-line theme. This is just concept art, as there are almost no real metrics represented except for time. There is no energy expenditure unit of measure, nor tics to delineate percentage or otherwise.
I do agree it’s more of an overview and less of a project-experience-oriented resume, but I’ve been thinking a lot about (and looking at) resumes lately, and I feel like what you really need to do is grasp someone’s attention first. This is whyhttp://www.percious.com is listed at the top, and that’s about all listed (no address, phone number, etc.) The other thing I was thinking about doing was to add an image map with links to provide more information about the things I have worked on.
Also using the subway map metaphor, Kevin Wang plots out his activities during his school years.
Curriculum Vitae, by Uito2 in 2007, shows his experience level in different software packages as progress bars.
Chester, Lau Cheuk Hang, does a great job utilizing a timeline at the top of his resume with spanning arcs to highlight time spent in different activities.
Greg Dizzia also creates a Curriculum Vitae showing vertical bars spanning a timeline for each company, and adds an additional element of icons to represent different experiences during each project.
This lists my history in the design world (some lesser clients have been left out) - Designed using univers exclusively. This is an appendage to a traditional resume, to be included as a forward page in my portfolio.
Jonathan Kaczynski, also tries a subway map style using the different lines as categories instead of attempting a timeline. I actually think this approach works a little bit better, the timeline versions appear difficult to translate into a subway map.
I am currently in the process of remaking my portfolio. It will have the appearance of a mass transit system’s website. This is the resumé that I’m working on to go along with the portfolio. It still needs a bit of clean-up and and logo needs some work.
Justin Evilsizor’s version incorporates a timeline, a level-of-skill chart and I personally love the addition of the Meyer’s-Briggs Type Indicator.
Arnaud Velten, Cartographer of Complexity, created this isometric resume. At its heart is a timeline, but he has added an incredible amount of detail to each of his skills. Seems like too much detail for me, but that may be what he wants to convey.
This information design piece maps out my interests between ages 6 and 24 and the context in which they were born and nurtured. It also brings to surface how these interests influenced and were in turn influenced by milestones in my personal journey.
Stephen Gates’ resume is very clean a take on the timeline.
Why did no one try something new? Why wasn’t there one designer who took on their resume as design challenge to do something visual and different? I also realized that I was just as guilty as everyone else so I set out to design something different. So after some work in my spare time I have the design shown above (click on it to see it full sized). It is just a start and it feels like it is heading in an interesting direction but let me know what you think.
Bob van Vliet also created a very clean timeline resume.
I thought I’d try something different from the standard A4 with a dull summary of positions. Four timelines represent the most important parts of my life so far: Work, Education, Activism and Fun. The years get wider towards the present as those say more about who I am now than when I just started university.
Christopher Brown’s colorful infographic timeline inspired by Michael Anderson’s concept.
Jordan Carroll’s resume includes a few different elements. Timeline, map and charts combine into one overall resume.
Another colorful timeline resume, this one by Pruek Wiyaporn, also appears inspired by Michael Anderson’s concept.
Jesse Burton also has a very nice stylized timeline resume.
Which ones do you like? Have I missed any other good ones out there?
EDIT: Here are a few more that I missed when I originally wrote the post:
Mike Wirth is a freelance infographic designer. His colorful timeline has experiences above the X-axis, education is below and his geographic locations are the shaded bars in the background. When he learned specific software packages is also identified in the colored area, which shows how long he has been using the different software packages.
Gabriele Bozzi designed this resume concept that focuses totally on skills and experience. Education is identified in the small bubbles, and the skills are connected to specific examples of her experience. She is working on a separate timeline graphic.
There are so many new examples of visual infographic resumes, I have started a dedicated board on Pinterest to share all of the cool designs I come across: http://pinterest.com/rtkrum/infographic-visual-resumes/
A fantastic, infographic website design for Digital Podge 2009. Digital Podge is an annual, invitation-only lunch in London, UK for only 160 invitees. The 2009 event was held on December 19th, and since the invite list was fixed at 160, a number of the infographics deal with data about the attendees. Each attendee has a bar beneath their photo indicating how many connections they have on LinkedIN.
The About page shows a map of where the attendees traveled from to get to the event.
The Menu page show a breakdown of the lunch entree selections made by the attendees.
The Where? page is interactive, allowing the user to add or remove layers to the map that can show restaurants, bus stops, subway stations, parks, etc.
Designed by London digital agency Line, the site employs simple infographics with a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor.
“While simply being invited to Digital Podge is a huge honour in itself, being tasked with developing and carry out all the campaign touch points for the event is an exercise that holds the agency up to the scrutiny of its peers like no other project. It’s probably one of the most demanding briefs in the sector, but our team of designers and developers revelled in the opportunity to use data in a humorous and informative manner that highlights some of the plusses and minuses of a cutting edge industry,” said Ross Laurie, Managing Director at Line.
The Visual Mapping Blogroll! I only recently came across this great use of the Subway Map infographic metaphor. The map is a listing of website bookmarks grouped into categories for each line. And the best part is that the overall theme is infographics and design websites, so the categories are things like Visualization, Mind Mapping, Humor, Creativity, Thinkers, etc.
Created by Claude Aschenbrenner (SerialMapper.com), the graphic is modeled onto the Paris subway system. Because of that (and that Claude speaks French), each line is identified in French on the left end and English on the right end. Websites that are in French are also noted in blue text.
Great job Claude! (and not just because Cool Infographics was included on the map…) Can we expect to see an updated version anytime soon?
Thanks to the #smchat group on Twitter for the link!
EDIT: I forgot to add that each node is an active HTML link, so when viewing the map you are able to click on any site to be taken directly there.
Great chart by Phillip Niemeyer over on NYTimes.com, Picturing the Past 10 Years. Using icons and unique pictures, Phillip captures the key event of each year in 12 different categories.
Phillip Niemeyer is an art director at Double Triple, an art and design studio.
Cool Infographics 2.0
Over the holidays I’m moving the Cool Infographics blog to a new host (Squarespace.com) so I can add some new features. This time seemed the best since traffic is really low during the holidays. Please pardon any issues you have in the next couple of days.
Here’s what you can expect from Cool Infographics in 2010:
- Updates to the overall design
- Same URL: CoolInfographics.com
- Same RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/CoolInfographics
- New infographics bookstore
- New infographics posters store/links
- New infographics job postings with a separate RSS feed to alert you to new entries
- New links page to infographic design software
- How-to features for creating your own infographics
- New comment system
You feedback on these changes is very welcome. So please feel free to use the contact page in the new site design to let me know what you like or don’t like. And as always, please send me infographics suggestions to include in the blog.