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 (410)

Tuesday
Jun182013

Design With Impact: A Guide to Webpage Anatomy

Design With Impact: A Guide to Webpage Anatomy infographic

Find out all the tips on how to design an impactful webpage with the Graphitas’ infogaphic, Design With Impact: A Guide to Webpage Anatomy.  See what you can and can’t live without on your webpage with the Impact-O-Meter.

As part of a my recent blog for SEOmoz on “Designing for SEO”, the team at Graphitas created an infographic to illustrate the impact of page positioning.

A lot of text in this design, but the information is strong and the design is visually impactful.  It’s missing a link to the original infographic page in the footer to help readers find the full size high-resolution verison.

Thanks to Justin for sending in the link!

Thursday
Jun132013

Visualizing International Criminal Tribunals


Visualizing International Criminal Tribunals

Very cool report that uses data visualization and infographics design to communicate complex information about International Criminal Tribunals from the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, New York City.

The Leitner Center launches a new report, “International Criminal Tribunals: A Visual Overview,” providing an introduction to the work of the international tribunals and the conflicts which led to their establishment. Despite widespread interest in these tribunals and the view that they represent a definitive advance of international law and justice, there is also much confusion and misconception about their work. This new 90-page report, providing analysis and information through written summaries and detailed visualizations, aims to make the work of the courts more accessible to the general public and legal professionals alike.

Media attention dedicated to the work of the tribunals is too often superficial, and tends to confuse key distinctions between them; more informed scholarship, on the other hand, is largely confined to specialty publications, remaining inaccessible to most. “International Criminal Tribunals: A Visual Overview,” aims to provide well-researched and accessible information for anyone wishing to more fully understand these issues. This will help democratize engagement with these courts, which are tasked with delivering justice for victims of some of the world’s worst atrocities. Examples of the visual graphics in the report are included below.

 

Awesome use of different styles of data visualization to summarize the often-complex information behind these tribunals.  Timelines, maps, area charts, polar grids, rose diagrams and treemaps.  The Case-by-Case timeline are fascinating.

The complete report is publicly available as a PDF for download.

I asked Daniel McLaughlin a few questions about the development and design of the report:

Cool Infographics: What software, websites or tools did you use to create the visualizations?

Daniel: We used Adobe Illustrator and InDesign to create the visuals for the report.

Cool Infographics: Did you create the report yourself, or use a design team?

Daniel: As a lawyer working with law students on this project, I was dependent on graphic and information design volunteers to create the visuals. The students and I carried out all the substantive research and then worked with these volunteers to figure out how best to translate it visually. Paula Airth of www.bepeculiar.com, in particular, was instrumental in bringing the project to life.

Cool Infographics: How long did the report take to design and put together?

Daniel: The report started out as a short (8-9 page) publication on the work of the international criminal tribunals. It grew into the present 90 page version as we continued to accumulate new data and the graphic/information design volunteers continued to create new graphics. All told, the research took around 4 months and the creation of the visuals/layout took another 5 months or so.

Cool Infographics: How has the use of data visualization design and social media impacted your marketing?

Daniel: The goal of this publication was to make the work of the international criminal tribunals more accessible to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. As indicated in the publication,

“There is wide awareness, though little true understanding, of the work of the international criminal tribunals.  International prosecutions of high-ranking civilian and military leaders, including former heads of state, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, represent for many the ultimate condemnation of these individuals’ past actions and a measure of their fall from power. Yet, despite the tribunals’ grasp on the popular imagination, they are the subject of significant misconceptions and confusion. Much of the media coverage dedicated to their work remains superficial, at best, and largely muddles over key distinctions between various tribunals, past and present. Conversely, the more informed scholarship is largely confined to specialty publications that remain inaccessible to most. In truth, many lawyers and non-lawyers alike lack a clear understanding of the role and functioning of these increasingly-pivotal international institutions.  This publication seeks to redress this knowledge gap by providing well-researched and accessible information for those wishing to more fully understand the international criminal tribunals and the conflicts over which they have jurisdiction. An informed public is an engaged public - and the issues that animate these tribunals, including delivering justice for victims of some of the world’s worst atrocities, are too significant to be discussed solely by a small cadre of international criminal law specialists.

Notably, this publication was created in partnership with graphic and information designers so as to reach a broader public. The designers’ visualizations present information regarding the tribunals and their underlying conflicts in a direct and accessible manner to a wide range of viewers, including those without a legal background. Beyond this democratizing function, information visualization also serves to reveal important data and trends that might otherwise go unnoticed in a more conventional format. Ideally, the following information, which is current as of January 2013, would be integrated into a continually updated interactive webportal dedicated to engaging a global public on issues of international justice.

In sum, this publication aims to facilitate a broader discussion of the international criminal tribunals’ notable accomplishments, as well as ongoing shortcomings.”

 

Thanks to Daniel McLaughlin for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Jun122013

Matt Siltala - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Matt Siltala

“Cool” infographics effectively build links, drive social shares, and create buzz in a unique way.  There are many that would call infographics a “fad” or “tactic”, but I don’t think of infographic marketing so much as a tactic, but more of one important piece to an overall marketing puzzle.

I analyze a lot of infographics and find that those that catch my attention have also caught the attention of many others, and that ‘s reflected in the social mentions (specifically retweets).  You’ll typically see a correlation in the number of shares on Facebook, the links built, and especially the comments.  The comments are very telling!

I guess that answer was more about the results of the infographic, rather than the makeup of the infographic, so let’s talk about the makeup:

  1. Design - Is the design distracting or does it build the story?  Is the design unique, new and refreshing?  How clean and easy to read and follow graphic?  With so many graphics out there, you have to find a way to visually set yours apart without detracting from the story you’re selling.  The graphic does not always have to be a LONG vertical piece that we are used to seeing in this industry.  You can see from our “Social MeOWdia Explained by Cats” piece, the design was critical to show everything right there without scrolling, so it does a better job of telling the story.
  2. Story - Does the graphic tell a story?  In my opinion this is probably the most important thing to get right with an infographic.  You must set reader hooks that are easy to understand and that set firmly and early on.   Having a good opener and intro makes all the difference in the world.  This is where you capture your reader.  You can now move into all of those juicy stats and data that really build the story out.
  3. Flow - How does the graphic flow?  This is an area where a lot of infographic designs fall short.  They have a hard time visualizing flow without becoming overly wordy.  Your visuals should transcend words whenever possible.
  4. Data - How striking is the data?   The key here is to have information that is both fresh and relevant.  Always use up to date survey results or make your own (often times we conduct primary research through SurveyMonkey).  If your graphic displays a unique set of data that can’t be found anywhere else, THIS MAKES the graphic.
  5. Shareability - Does it pass the “share test”?  Does your graphic add meaning and perspective to a conversation people want to have?  If so, it passes the share test.

BONUS - Think about what is next in this industry. If you have the budget to make even a simple infographic interactive, you should do so.  We created the “History of Social Media” piece first as a static graphic, but felt it would go over much better if it were interactive, and it did.  We got many compliments on the UI, and being a friendly, easy way to learn a little history lesson.  It is a great research piece for those looking up the history of social media too!

This goes back to what I said earlier about comments.  If you can start or effectively add to a conversation, then you have done your job! We blogged about top notch infographics earlier this year and really hit this point in more depth if you want to read more.  

I will be the first to admit I have put out some bad infographics, but the more I try to live within the walls of the 5 points above, the better my graphics get.  For those of you listening to the “infographics are dead” hype, let me assure you that visualization is not going away.  I have been working with infographics for the better part of a decade, long before most marketers had ever heard of them, and the majority of my new clients still don’t know what they are.  My point is this, marketers see a lot of infographics just like we do linkbait and all of the other marketing puzzle pieces, but the rest of the world still finds data visualization a refreshing way to tell a story, share good content, and build brand authority.

So, if you put out conversation-starting, story-telling, “cool” infographics, the social mentions will come, the links will build, and the brand recognition will grow.  That is never going to change or go away.  

This post would be never-ending if I shared all of the infographics I loved out there, so for the sake of time I will just share this link to my company’s porfolio of Infographics.  

 

 

Matt SiltalaMatt Siltala is the President of @AvalaunchMedia.  The company does Content Marketing, Data Visualization, Social Promotion, Web Design, SEO & PPC.  Matt is also a regular Search Industry Speaker.

Twitter:  @Matt_Siltala 

 

Monday
Jun102013

How to Woo a Designer

How to Woo a Designer infographic

Want to learn how to woo a designer instead of offending them? The How to Woo a Designer infographic from 99designs.com gives us a look into the designers’ world.  Both the best sides and the worst sides. 

The 99designs designer survey was conducted in September and October 2012 and received 2,379 responses. Survey sources include graphic designers active in 99designs’ community and graphic designers not affiliated  with 99designs. 

We asked our survey respondents to list some of the best and worst things a client has ever said to them

Good information whether you’re an inside designer or a design freelancer working for clients!  Some of the data could have been visualized better.  The ranking of misconceptions looks like a bar chart with the colored rectangles behind the text, but they fit the text size and don’t represent the data.

The design should include a clear title in the infographic (not just on the web page), the URL link back to the original infographic, some type of copyright or Creative Commons license statement and credit to the designer.  Come on, it’s an infographic about designers on an online marketplace for graphic designers!  Give the designer some credit!

Thanks to Lauren for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Jun052013

Dean Meyers - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest post by Dean Meyers

Gun Deaths, Infographics, and Emotional Storytelling

How do we get emotionally connected to a story? By finding where we can relate or empathize at the personal level. The best infographics tell their stories with emotional impact, helping us relate to the facts or the results of actions rather than just displaying them. Otherwise, they become yet another collection of data, perhaps with some striking visuals to make them appealing, but not much better than the spreadsheets they come from. The most memorable infographics will have a strong storytelling component that resonates with us emotionally.

As an example, during the rush to expose data due to the heated battles over gun control after the Newtown shootings, I saw a lot of infographics where data is displayed on a map. This is typical of what I found:  (see http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). 

Even though there is some slight interaction with the map on this page, it’s still a pretty cold reading of data. Interactivity and facts, yes, but how can I connect with this information?

Here is an interactive infographic that tells us the effect of people killed by guns in a much more personal way: 

Stolen years from a life… Who wouldn’t be drawn into discover more about the facts shown here? We all think about our lifespan, and this infographic takes thousands of potentially anonymous datapoints and allows us to both see the mass effect or lets us drill down in a variety of ways to these very personal, relatable stories. 

Another feature that heightens the emotional effectiveness of this infographic is the way it creates the display. The screen shot below shows how the image starts building, from a single arc representing one lifetime, which changes color at the point the victim loses his life. It’s like watching a shooting star, launching into its glowing path but losing its color the moment life ends before finishing the grand arc. Powerful and personal. The chart builds quite dramatically, showing the first three shootings one by one as arcs slowly shoot across the dark background. It then rapidly fills in the rest of the display in less than a minute, both to show us a flood of incidents and also keeping us from getting bored as thousands of curves are drawn and the numbers pile up.

In another view, more information is revealed which, true to the storyteller’s intent, gives us yet more information that carries the emotional weight of “that could be me, or someone I know and love”. Here I have selected the data for fatal shootings of 21 year olds, to highlight how many deaths from guns have occurred so far this year to these young people. Without resorting to pictures, icons or symbols, the graph combined with the text highlights the sad fact that so many young people died that, otherwise would not have been at risk. Again, a powerful message, and one that is intended to reach us emotionally.

I recommend bookmarking the site (http://guns.periscopic.com/?year=2013) and revisiting every few weeks, as the data for 2013 is being updated regularly. The creators of the infographic, periscopic.com, have the motto, “do good with data—socially conscious information visualization”, and take storytelling to heart. They have avoided the cliches of trying to impress strictly with big numbers, or, from the other side, telling the stories of the killers. Instead, they focus on the story of the victims, people like us, and make the data that much more meaningful and memorable.

Whether static or interactive, an infographic will have the greatest resonance and be most memorable when it tells a story that touches our emotions. When we find ourselves within that story, either as the subject or when we can comprehend the information as it might relate to us, we are compelled to pay attention and remember. To create a powerful infographic, save the big graphics and clever images. Dig into the information and find the story that means something to us all.

 


Visual Problem-Solver Dean Meyers combines creativity, design, marketing and training experience to facilitate visual thinking in a wide variety of business, educational and strategic settings.  Dean has worked in the dual fields of graphic design and technology since the mid-80’s, when he worked for Apple Computer at the launch of the Macintosh in international markets. His career has taken him from leading ad agency graphic departments into web design and development in the mid-90’s to his current practice of improving communications in user experience, general business strategy and education through his work as a visual facilitator. His interest in infographics focuses on interactivity and better storytelling across multiple media. He has been seen giving workshops and graphically recording for events including South by Southwest, the World Innovation Forum, Picnic (Amsterdam), Business Innovation Factory, Pop!Tech, LeanUX NYC and TEDMED. 

LINKS:

www.vizbiztools.com

Twitter: @deanmeistr

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vizbiztools

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deanmeyers/collections/72157622622863701/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/deanmeyers/

Curated content about Visual Innovation:  http://www.scoop.it/t/visual-innovation

 

Thursday
May302013

Water in the Anthropocene

Water in the Anthropocene is a very cool infographic video looking at the different ways we humans are changing the global water cycle.

Water in the Anthropocene is a 3-minute film charting the global impact of humans on the water cycle.

Evidence is growing that our global footprint is now so significant we have driven Earth into a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene.

Human activities such as damming and agriculture are changing the global water cycle in significant ways.

The data visualisation was commissioned by the Global Water Systems Project for a major international conference (Water in the Anthropocene, Bonn, Germany, 21-24 May, 2013). 
conference2013.gwsp.org

The film is part of the first website on the concept of humans as a geological force, anthropocene.info

Thanks to Owen for sending in the link!

Wednesday
May292013

Robin Richards - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Robin Richards

Created a visual to show you instead of telling you.  Some thoughts on what makes an infographic cool along with some examples.

Robin Richards - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Robin Richards

Robin Richards is a designer with a focus on visual storytelling and interaction design. He runs RIPETUNGI, a design studio based in Bristol, UK creating digital experiences for web, mobile and tablet and telling stories with data visualisation and infographics. 

LINKS:

ripetungi.com

Twitter: @ripetungi

LinkedIN: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/robin-richards/2a/262/147

Tuesday
May282013

Wireframe, Prototype and Simulator Tools

Wireframe, Prototype and Simulator Tools infographic

So what is the difference between Wireframe, Prototype, and Simulator Tools? This infographic compares how the products preform in terms of design capabilities, mobile integration, collaboration features, and interactivity. From User Testing, this infographic  helps guide you through the design making process of what program is right for you.

If you’re into building websites, mobile sites, or apps, you probably use some type of mockup tool—prior to coding—to help you envision how a site will work and look. But do you get customer feedback on them? In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore leading mockup tools — wireframing, prototyping, and simulating –and show you how to run user tests with them.

Good design that puts the icons and information directly into the visuals.

Also available as a PDF download.

Thanks to Liz for sending in the link

Wednesday
May222013

Karl Gude - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Karl Gude


Infographics: Inform, Illuminate

What makes infographics cool is that they can be extremely effective at explaining every conceivable topic in any industry for any reason. What’s being defined as an infographic nowadays ranges from decorating simple text blocks to make the content more appealing to incredibly complex data visualizations that reveal content because there’s no other way to understand it. 

I started out doing infographics in journalism (we called them “news graphics”), and the beauty of having creating them in this field is that news knows no topical boundaries; it can be about anything. Besides making infographics on the obvious breaking news stories (like bombings and plane crashes), every conceivable topic was fodder for making an infographic to help readers understand what was going on. We made news graphics on political, business, entertainment and sports stories as well as on all sorts of technical, medical, and scientific advances. 

This experience led me to realize the value of employing these sorts of visual explainers in other industries outside of journalism, and this has helped me be a better teacher and adviser now that I’m in academia. For example, PR firms, businesses and other organizations need to better engage their audiences, scientists need to explain their research to each other as well as to the lay person (like funders) and federal agencies need to make sense of huge data sets. The list goes on. 

The good news is that resources for creating infographics are exploding! There are a multitude of new free online tools for designing, creating and packaging charts, maps and diagrams (I’ve stored a great many on my wiki freevisualtools.wikispaces.com, so help yourself!) and more are coming along every day. Also, many more freelance designers and firms are learning how to make them. It ain’t as easy to make them from scratch as you might think, so don’t entrust your administrative assistant to make one just because he knows Photoshop! Your brand identity and credibility are at stake here!

But designing an infographic only comes after you’ve decided who your audience is, what message you want to convey to them and what information is needed to tell that story. This is where most infographics get tripped up, by conveying the wrong story. Always keep the dictum, “Form follows function” in mind every time you begin an infographic. Otherwise, your beautifully designed graphic will be all hat and no head.

In a nutshell, infographics can often convey a message to a target audience more effectively than text alone can. Or not. Done poorly, infographics can confound more than illuminate, and to me the key task of an infographic is to make people feel smarter, not dumber. This is when infographics are definitely NOT cool. 

 

Karl Gude - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Karl Gude is the former Director of Information Graphics at Newsweek magazine and The Associated Press. Karl left Newsweek after a decade to spearhead the first information graphics program at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. Karl also teaches a class on the creative process and on social media marketing.  

Karl is a visual storyteller, artist and writer who consults with corporations, scientific institutions and government agencies, including the NSF and the CIA, to help them create effective infographics. He also writes a regular column for the Huffington Post.

 

LINKS: 

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-gude/

Blog: karlgude.com

Twitter: @karlgude

New Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gudeye?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/karlgude/

Youtube channel with tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/user/kgude/featured

Monday
May202013

The Obama Energy Agenda: Gas Prices 2013

The Obama Energy Agenda: Gas Prices 2013 infographic

The White House has released a new infographic in April 2013, The Obama Energy Agenda, Gas Prices.  We have seen the White release a number of infographics as a communication tool, and they have consistently been getting better.

Gas Prices

Explore the infographic to learn about President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.

The prior Energy Agenda infographic I reviewed was in April of 2011, and it was a rough, early attempt at an infographic design for online publication.  This design is significantly better, and has a number of good points to highlight that all designers can learn from.

First, the data visualizations are well done with the chart axes clearly labeld and units of measure clearly shown.  The color scheme is simple and easy to understand, but some of the small, gray text is hard to read on the white background.

Second, the big issue with the prior designs was the lack of sources for the data.  This design does a good job of citing the source of data for each visualization (chart).  For an administration that is attempting to increase transparency, the sources are still very vague.  I would like to see URL links to the actual reports or data sets referenced to make it easy for readers to check out the data on their own.  Instead, most of the sources are listed as just “EIA” which is the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Certainly a step in the right direction, but could have much done better.

Third, there isn’t an obvious, clear Key Message.  Most readers only look at an infographic for less than 5 seconds, and it’s the designer’s responsibility to communicate the key message in that short time.  The rest of the information should tell a good story, and support the Key Message, but isn’t required reading.  There’s a lot of data shown in this design.  Probably too much data.  It’s hard for readers to understand the flow of information because there is both top-to-bottom sequence of sections and side-by-side charts.

The area chart in the center of the design draws the reader’s attention because it is so large in relation to the rest of the charts.  This visually implies that it is the most important data in the whole design, but I’m not sure that was the intent.

After reading through the whole design, I believe that the Key Message is “The Obama Administration has supported increased domestic drilling for oil, but that hasn’t lowered gas prices at the pump.  We need to do more.”  An infographic design should make this message very clear and easy to understand without having to read through the entire design.

What do you think?