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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Monday
Apr292013

New Guest Post Series: What Makes an Infographic Cool?

What Makes an Infographic Cool?

 

I’m very excited about this project!  This week I’m going to start sharing a weekly guest post series from prominent infographics designers about “What makes an infographic design cool?”  Each Wednesday, I’ll feature a different expert opinion (until I run out of experts).  I’ve invited these experts to draft their own posts, and share whatever examples they want to highlight.

I’ve been running the Cool Infographics site since 2007, and we have watched an amazing category of design being developed.  They didn’t exist when I started, but now we have an infographics design industry, and a number of well known infographics design experts.  The practice of visual storytelling has become a recognized design profession.

I receive around 30-50 infographic submissions to the site every day, and most of them don’t make the cut to be considered a “cool infographic” to be posted.  The process of filtering these designs is very time consuming, and my current backlog is up to at least 400 unread submissions.  Over the years, we have developed our own formula for filtering the infographic designs you see posted on the site, but I really wanted to hear and learn from other experts about what they consider to be “cool.”

Stay tuned, and let me know what you think of the series in the comments.

Friday
Apr262013

2,000 Years of Continental Climate Changes

2,000 Years of Continental Climate Changes

Climate change is a complicated, and sometimes controversial, global topic.  I really like this data visualization of 2,000 Years of Continental Climate Changes that was included as part of the report published by the “2K Network” of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) Past Global Changes (PAGES) project.

Thirty-year mean temperatures for the seven PAGES 2k continental-scale regions arranged vertically from north to south. Colors indicate the relative temperature. The most prominent feature of nearly all of the regional temperature reconstructions is the long-term cooling, which ended late in the19th century. North America includes a shorter tree-ring-based and a longer pollen-based reconstruction. Modified from: PAGES 2k Consortium, 2013, Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia, Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038/NGEO1797.

Each color band represents a 30-year mean temperature found on each continent.  Their choice of data visualization method is very compelling, and visualizes a huge amount of data in a small space.

I also love that a good data visualization can attract attention and build awareness all by itself.

Found on the post by Andrew Revkin on the NY Times Dot Earth blog.

Tuesday
Apr092013

JAWS

JAWS infographic

I’ve been meaning to post this one for a long time.  JAWS, designed by Robert Machuga, uses the design style of the movie poster to create this cool infographic that visualizes multiple dimensions of data from the movie.

From Robert:

This project was an assignment in my senior year at the Hartford Art School where my class had to dissect a movie and translate it into an infographic Each of the colored lines represents the location of each of the main characters in the film divided into beach, mainland, and ocean. The red icons represent each time a human was eaten while the green buoy icons represent danger in the water. The orange lifesaver icons appear when the shark eludes capture and the timeline across the bottom spikes in green at points of musical intensity while the blue spikes are moments of suspense. 

In approaching this project I really had to sit down with the film and the remote, fast forwarding and rewinding, trying to find the most pivotal events and themes that I could use to depict this movie in a static visual. I was trying to capture the thrill of the movie without loosing the story in the graph so I tried to break it down to it’s simplest forms. After many rounds, encouragement and great advice from professor John Nordyke I was left with the graph I have now. 

Nice job Robert!

Thursday
Apr042013

How Far is it to Mars?

How Far is it to Mars? motion infographic

How Far is it to Mars? by David Paliwoda is a fantastic animated, interactive infographic website that shows the viewer the scale of the distance to the Moon and to Mars as measured in pixels.  David calls this a motion-infographic.

Click the image above to see the animated site.  Very cool! 

Found on Daring Fireball

Tuesday
Mar192013

Ink Costs More Than Human Blood

Ink Costs More Than Human Blood infographic

The Ink Costs More Than Human Blood infographic is a demonstration design by the team at Nuesion.

I think this is a fantastic design, but lacks some crucial elements for a successful infographic.  The overall design is telling one story very clearly, and that’s one of the best practices in infographic design.  Some of the best infographics have one Key Message that the audience can’t miss, and this design nails it!

The problem I see with this design is that it lacks credibility.  There are no sources listed, so the audience doesn’t know where the data came from or how current it is.  Why should they believe the data visualization?  Is it biased or skewed in any way?  Without doing a ton of research on their own, the audience has no way to tell.

Also, the footer of the design is missing both copyright information and a URL to the infographic landing page.  It lists the nuesion.com home page, but it took some digging on my part to find the original high-resolution infographic buried in one of their blog posts.

Monday
Mar182013

See Conference April 20th

see#8 | 20 APRIL 2013 | SCHLACHTHOF WIESBADEN from Scholz & Volkmer GmbH on Vimeo.

 

I really wish I could make it to the See Conference (The Conference on Visualization of Information) in Germany (www.see-conference.org).  This year looks like they have a great conference lined up!

For eighth years now the see conference has been gathering the most creative people and exciting ideas on the topic of information visualization. The interdisciplinary platform brings together fields like design, art, architecture and new technologies. Our international speakers will show the latest ideas and approaches on how to deal with the current flood of information, on how to visualize it and turn it into something that can be experienced. Among our new speakers at see#8: Data journalist Francesco Franchi, Dutch design studio Catalogtree and British-born Antony Turner from Carbon Visuals. More info regarding program and tickets at www.see-conference.org

Event: see conference #8 
Date: 20 April 2013 
Location: Wiesbaden, Germany 
URL: www.see-conference.org

If you have a chance to make it to this conference, I would highly recommend it.  When I looked today, there were only 161 seats left!

Let me know what you think if you make it to the conference!

Friday
Mar082013

Shutterstock: Annual Design Trends 2013 Edition

Shutterstock: Annual Design Trends 2013 Edition infographic

Shutterstock has created their Shutterstock: Annual Design Trends 2013 Edition infographic. From the infographic, we learn what was hot in 2012, as well as expected trend for the coming year of 2013. Interesting fact: Infographic downloads from Shutterstock are up 525% from 2011! 

Here at Shutterstock, if there’s one thing we obsess over as much as inspiring imagery, it’s data. Add that to the fact that we license more images than anyone else, and you have a recipe for some pretty insightful trend forecasting.

We created our first design-trends infographic last year; this time, we took things up a notch, incorporating a lot more data, a lot more images, and a more in-depth look at what we see heating up in the year ahead.


Check out the full infographic, then read on for 10 of our own favorite takeaways.

The use of stock vectors, especially for data visualizations, is on a huge upward trend as more and more people are designing their own infographics and data visualizations.  I am very excited about this trend, as people are breaking away from the chart templates in MS Office to visualize their new data in new and different ways.

I would prefer to see all of the statistics visualized using the stock vector data visualizations from Shutterstock.  That would have been more in line with the growth trend they are showing.  Much better than just showing the numbers in text they way they have in this design.

The footer of the infographic is missing both a copyright statement (or Creative Commons license), and the URL directly to the blog post with the high-resolution infographic.  The URL they did include is just to the main blog page, and six months from now the infographic will be buried in the past blog posts.

Thanks to Danny for sending in the link!

Monday
Mar042013

SxSW 2013, an infographic

SxSW 2013, an infographic

Rocksauce Studios has released SxSW 2013, an infographic looking at the basic statistics and demographic data around this year’s South By Southwest conference in Austin , TX.

  • The seven SXSW events — gaming expo, interactive, film, trade show, music, music gear expo and flatstock — attracted an audience of more than 300,000 last year (though only a sliver were badge holders). The PDF offers an attendance breakdown.
  • Demographics: the largest percentage of attendees are between the ages of 31 and 40; 86 percent of registrants are from the U.S.; 60 percent of attendees are male; and 29 percent of festival goers work in the creative industries.
  • Five companies to see success with SXSW include Foursquare, Twitter, Gamesalad, Phonebooth and Foodspotting.
  • The 2013 SXSW festival runs March 8-17.

300,000 attendees last year, and this year looks to be even bigger! Not sure why they released it as a huge, high-resolution PDF file, but the you can download it here.

Thanks to David for sending in the link, and also found on the Austin Business Journal

HEY!  I’m headed down to Austin on Friday for SxSW, so I would love to hear from anyone else headed down there as well.  Should we have an infographics meetup?  

Tuesday
Feb262013

Manhattan Building Heights as Land Value

Manhattan Building Heights infographic

Manhattan Building Hieghts by radicalcartography.net is an indirect measure of land value based on building height. The infographic is shaped like Manhattan itself, and the actual building’s color darkness shows their heights in their correct locations.

You can also see an alternate design using assessed tax value as the data set, and how that maps out land value differently.  

Found on http://visual.ly

 

Wednesday
Feb202013

NPR Chart Check from the Enhanced State of the Union (SOTU)

On February 12, 2013, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union speech, but this year it was “enhanced” with charts, data visualizations and additional information in a sidebar of the display (full video above).  The team at NPR (@nprapps) published a great review a few days later called Chart Check: Did Obama’s Graphics ‘Enhance’ His Big Speech?  They also included opinions from a couple of the best data visualization experts Stephen Few (PerceptualEdge.com) and Nathan Yau (FlowingData.com)

Chart Check from the Enhanced State of the Union (SOTU)

I will say that I think the use of the charts was very successful and does make the President’s speech more effective.  By their very nature, the charts imply that the President has data behind his message, and that can be a very persuasive, compelling tactic.  You’ll also notice the wide array of chart styles so they are each memorable for different topics in the speech.  We didn’t get 27 bar charts, because the audience wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart after the speech.  We got different data visualizations for different types of data.  Stacked bars, line charts, area charts and grids colored icons.

The key frame from the video (above) is what first caught my eye.  This is the still image shown before you start playing the video.   I was instantly concerned about all of the charts after seeing this one about Deficit Reduction.  It may be because I work with data visualizations every day, but I could see instantly that the chart was wrong.  How can the $500 Billion part of the stacked bar be larger than the $600 Billion part?  That can’t be right!  Seriously, I look at this stuff all the time, and this jumps out at me in a big way.  Welcome to my life.

Here’s the full chart:

One of the biggest risks with data visualizations and infographics is what I call the Risk of Negative Impression.  The idea is that while good visuals can quickly leave a good impression with your audience, if your visualizations are incorrect or flawed, you can leave a bad impression just as quickly and effectively.  The audience thinks, “if they messed up this chart, why should I trust anything else they have to say?”  Then they feel like they have to carefully scrutinize every chart, and you have lost all credibility with your audience.

The NPR piece does a great job of breaking down 14 of the 27 charts from the speech, and even created some corrected charts to show a more realistic real visualization of the data.  I highly recommend you read the whole article on the NPR site.

I’ll mention one more example.  By visualizing data, the designer adds context and bias to the information.  The best designers try to minimize the bias, but even the choices about what data to include in the visualization help frame the audience’s understanding.  One common way to skew perception of the data is to change the scale of one or both of the axes.  A number of slides from the speech don’t start at zero, so the chart exaggerates the changes.  This is a common practice when charting stock values so the audience can see the small changes, but they often make the changes feel much bigger than they actually are.  That was the intent with this chart that only shows the range of values from 400,000 to 550,000.

Stephen Few redesigned this corrected chart for the NPR piece, and I think he nailed it.  By expanding the y-axis to start at 0, he puts the changes over time into a different perspective for the audience.

The White House has published all of the 107 slides as a scribd.com presentation:

 

White House State of the Union 2013 Enhanced Graphics by The White House

Found on the White House blog