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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.

 

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Entries in food (66)

Wednesday
May092012

TEDTalk Video: Information is Food

In March 2012, JP Rangaswami gave a short TEDTalk in Austin, TX, Information Is Food, about treating information similar to how we treat food.

How do we consume data? At TED@SXSWi, technologist JP Rangaswami muses on our relationship to information, and offers a surprising and sharp insight: we treat it like food.

With a background in economics and journalism, JP Rangaswami has been a technology innovator and chief information officer for many leading financial firms. As an advocate for open source and disruptive technologies, Rangaswami has been a leading force in the success of multiple startups, including School of Everything, Salesforce.com and Ribbit. He blogs (unmissably) at Confused of Calcutta.

This is an interesting concept, and was appealing to me because I talk about humans evolving into Informavores in my presentations about infographics and data visualization.

The analogy is that we have food consumption issues that cause health problems, and we can have information overload issues that can cause issues with understanding and our belief systems.  I loved the quote from the presentation posing the question: “Are we going to reach the stage where information has a percentage of fact associated with it?”

The video is also available on YouTube:

 

Monday
Apr022012

Interactive Infographic: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi

 

The Coke VS. Pepsi: The Cola Wars infographic from cnntees.com. Which side are you on?

For over a century Coke and Pepsi have been at each other’s throats in a constant struggle for a bigger piece of the billion-dollar soda market. 

Along the way the companies have picked up a slew of loyalists and fans, adamant that their cola reigns supreme. While there are countless spots online to check out the history of either company we decided to put together an interactive infographic, putting all cola war highlights together in one spot.

This is a really fascinating experiment with infographic design.  Although it appears to be a static infographic, it’s actually interactive.  If you look closely, there are two videos built directly into the middle of the infographic that play when clicked.  The growth chart at the top is also interactive.  Click on a decade, and then choose the specific year, and it displays events in each companies history related to that time period.

The interactivity is so subtle though, most people will probably miss it without me spelling it out in the title and here in the commentary.

The financial stats section is a really poor use of pie charts in the bottle caps.  The logo images work, but pie charts are for visualizing percentages.  Here, they forced the data into the cute visual, but it makes the data confusing and hard to understand.    Are the charts visualizing the percentages of each expense related to total revenue, or just arbitrarily visualizing the values to represent the comparison between the two companies?  No percentages are shown, and no values are shown for the values of the total pie.  This is forcing a round peg into a square hole.

At the bottom, it’s missing a URL to the original blog post (so readers that find this on the Internet can find the original high-resolution infographic), a copyright statement, a trademark statement and a credit to the designer.

Thanks to Ron for sending in the link!

Thursday
Mar222012

The Health Benefits of Guinness vs. Beer

The Health Benefits of Guinness vs. Beer is a new infographic from the team at GoIreland.com.  Primarily focused on calories, this infographic does a good job at visualizing comparisons.

We at GoIreland have rustled up a useful infographic about Guinness and other beers. But not just any infographic about booze. We recognize that folks in the 21st century are more health conscious than ever, so have combined these two facets to look at the health benefits of Guinness vs. other types of beer.

Whether you enjoy the dark stuff, or lean towards lager, the results show that a pint of one, or the other, can have positive effects on various areas of the body, such as the heart, bones and even your skin. Through painstaking research, we even worked out how many individual peanuts each drink is the equivalent to eating, how long it would take to burn off those calories and taken a look at some of the strongest beers known to mankind.

This infographic is really well designed, and it’s focused on one of my favorite drinks in the world!  The visual comparison between Guinness and a handful of light beers is clear and easy to read.  However, when they start comparing to “Regular Beer” it’s unclear what brand they are using as the average beer and where that data comes from.  I like the Running and Dancing comparisons that are fun and make understanding the differences easier to an average reader.

The only visualization error I see is the circles on the world map.  Circles have to be sized by their AREA, so if we assume the Ireland circle is the correct baseline, then the circles for values of 0.06 and 0.02 would only be a couple pixels wide.  The circles in the design are shown larger than their actual values, which is a false visualization.

At the bottom, I wish there was a URL to the original landing page for readers to get back to the original, and some form of copyright statement.

Thanks to Oli for sending in the link!

Here is an alternate, shorter and in my opinion “better” version.  What do you think?

 

Friday
Feb242012

See Mix Drink: Infographic Cocktails

The See Mix Drink Cocktail Guide is a fabulous infographic drink recipe book from Brian D. Murphy (@murph_e).  Currently available for about $10 on Amazon.com, it’s on my wish list.  Featured on GQ.com back in October when it was released, I have been totally remiss by not posting about it until now.  (My apologies Brian!)

Have you tried mixing a Mojito? What about a Rusty Nail? Or a Cosmopolitan? With See Mix Drink, the first-ever cocktail book to offer instruction through info-graphics, making the drinks you love at home is as easy as, well, See, Mix, Drink.

This unique, illustrated guide graphically demonstrates how to make 100 of today’s most popular cocktails. For each drink, color-coded ingredients are displayed in a line drawing of the appropriate glassware, alongside a pie chart that spells out the drink’s composition by volume for intuitive mixing. No other cocktail book is this easy or fun. Instantly understandable 1-2-3 steps show exactly how each drink is prepared, and anecdotes, pronunciation guides, and photographs of the finished drinks will turn newbie bartenders into instant mixologists. 

The GQ.com feature has the designs for ten of the recipes from the book.  They are all simple to understand, and easy to follow.

One thing I would suggest to improve the visualization design style is to combine the key and the ingredient portions.  No need to make the reader look to both sides of the glass illustration to figure out how much of each ingredient.  Just putting the name with the amount on the left side and getting rid of the color key would eliminate an eye motion for the readers.

Thanks to Brian for sending in the link (back in October!) and congratulations on the publication!

Wednesday
Feb222012

Tea & Biscuit Dunking Guide

The Tea and Biscuit infographic from Green Hat Design in the UK shows avid dunkers of biscuits the proper timing to keep their favorite snacks in the tea or coffee to conquer floppage and avoid the disappointment of contamination!  Also available as a high-resolution PDF.

This biscuit infographic is based on 8 of our favourite UK brands which helps us (and others) to get the best out of his (or her) biccy when dunking it in hot tea or coffee, while at the same time assisting the user to avoid… floppage. That unfortunate moment that the biscuit suddenly gives way and contaminates your beverage. Nasty. We feel many could actually benefit from such details. I know it has changed my life.

This one is a fun topic.  Apparently the biscuits in the UK are so hard you have to dunk them to eat them…  :)

The radial design works well to show three values for each biscuit, and is easy for the reader to compare them.  The illustrations work well, even though readers in the U.S. (myself included) won’t recognize any of the biscuits.

A couple things are missing from a Marketing Infographic design perspective.  It needs a title!  I made up the “Tea & Biscuit Dunking Guide” because it didn’t have a good title of its own.  There should be some type of license statement, and in this case I would suggest Creative Commons.

The PDF file is hosted on the Green Hat Design site, but the infographic isn’t displayed anywhere.  t’sI hard to share a PDF compared to how easy it is to share an image file online.  It REALLY needs it’s own official landing page on the Green Hat Design site to display the infographic, and be the one place you want everyone else (like this blog) to link to.  They had uploaded it to visual.ly, and I linked to it there, but that shouldn’t be the primary landing page if they want to drive traffic to their site and awareness to their brand.

Thanks to Steve for sending in the infographic!

Thursday
Feb092012

The Definitive Cocktails Poster

 

The Constitution of Classic Cocktails is a cool new poster from Pop Chart Lab.  Available in print for $36, this is a 27”x39” poster.

This definitive guide to classic cocktails breaks down 68 drinks into their constituent parts. Follow the lines to see where spirits, mixers, and garnishes intersect to form delightful concoctions. This massive movie poster-sized print contains over 40 types of alcohol (from distilled spirits to bitters), mixers from raspberry syrup to egg white, and garnishes from the classic olive to a salted rim. This obsessively detailed chart also includes the ratios for each drink, as well as the proper serving glass, making it as functional as it is beautiful. Over a year in the making, this is Pop Chart Lab’s most elaborate chart ever.

 

I love the circular design, with radial connections between the different alcohol types in the center and the mixed drinks around the perimeter.  I find it easier to start in the center, and figure out which drinks you can make with that alcohol.  They show the different shapes of glassware for cocktails across the bottom, and use those icons to show which glass should be used with each drink.

Pop Chart Lab also posted a fabulous, behind-the-scenes article on FastCoDesign about the process they went through during the design development.  Check out The Only Chart You Need To Mix A Proper Cocktail to see the early concepts and the different stages the design went through.

Found on Chart Porn.

Tuesday
Jan102012

The Anatomy of a Vegan

The Anatomy of a Vegan infographic from AdvancedPhysicalMedicine.org takes an “in depth” look at some of the demographic data they gathered in a survey of Vegans.

In spite of its long history, veganism is still considered unusual by many in this carnivore nation of ours.  But did you know there are 3 million+ vegans in the U.S.?  Yep, veganism has officially arrived.  So here are some facts about those who follow this lifestyle.

Designed by InfoMonkeys, I love the X-Ray design style.  They do a great job of showing context of the data being represented.  Hands with a wedding ring, the house, the shopping cart, the cityscape and the meat grinder is especially humorous.

Eye-popping colors and an X-ray theme give a whole new meaning to taking an “inside look” at veganism. Packed with information, this infographic strikes a great balance between education and entertainment. Based upon a Facebook survey with text provided by the client, this is one of our favorite pieces!

- InfoMonkeys

The black background stands out boldly in blog formats, and the infographic includes all the important information (clear title, data source, copyright, website URL and even lists the designer).  It should have listed the URL of the infographic on the Advanced Physical Medicine site instead of the homepage.  I like the idea of the “Importantometer”, but I just noticed the size of the arrows in the visualization doesn’t match the data.  The 17% arrow shouldn’t be larger than the 38% arrow, etc.

I have a few things I would suggest changing about the design:

  • I say it often here on the blog.  Big fonts do not make good data visualizations.  Too many of the statistics are listed as big numbers without any visualization, and it would have been simple to visualize these statistics.
  • The percentage sign under the value numbers on the bar charts are hard to read and disconcerting.  Shrink the numbers and lets the visualization tell the story.  The actual numbers themselves are secondary.
  • The Annual Household Income is shown as a bar chart, but those percentages are all part of the complete 100%.  They should be shown as parts of the whole like a pie chart or a stacked bar chart.  Same with the shopping statistics.
  • I have a really hard time reading the script font they used in the quoted responses at the bottom.

One final thought is that readers should always be skeptical of the data sources.  144 respondents from a Facebook survey is not enough to be a statistically valid study that would indicative of the entire population.  The reader also doesn’t know how the respondents were screened as part of the survey.  By visualizing the data in an infographic, it implies a certain level validity that isn’t truly there.

Thanks to David for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Dec212011

Christmas Drinks (alcoholic) from Around the Globe

Now here is a fun holiday infographic!  Direct from Kringle’s Bar at the North Pole is Christmas Drinks from Around the Globe, brought to us this holiday season by Treetopia.com.

Santa’s been throwing ’em back for a few centuries and has zipped around the world a thousand times, which has been plenty of time to pick up some wicked Christmas cocktail recipes. In this infographic from Treetopia are some of his favorite mixed drinks he’s collected from around the globe - complete with easy-to-follow mixing instructions. More than just your father’s traditional eggnog recipe!

Whether you have family coming to your house, or you’re going to visit family, you will probably have the opportunity to try one of these recipes out in the next couple of weeks.  Although, some of these recipes are a little more complicated than just mix & serve.

I love the color-coded pie charts to show the main ingredient proportions, especially the peppermint swirls in Candy Cane Eggnog.  The cocktail glass illustrations can be misleading though, since the eggnog recipe actually makes almost a gallon of nog.  What a fun idea for a Christmas infographic!

Thanks to Greg for sending in the link!

Please don’t drink and sleigh!

Monday
Nov072011

The Infographic History of Spices

Turn Up the Heat: Worldwide History of Spice from recipe-finder.com brings together a whole bunch of related infomrmation into one infographic.

They say that money makes the world go round. While that might just be true today, centuries ago, spices made the world go round. Spices used to be worth so much that people set about to conquer new territories in search for these flavor enhancers. Today, basic spices may not fetch so much in the market (although saffron will still cost you an arm and two legs), but they are used just as much in kitchens around the world.

The information in here is fantastic, but a few design problems make this a little harder to understand than it should be.  The sized-circles over the map…what do the sizes mean?  From an overall design aspect, it’s missing a clear title, license and URL to the original posting.

I can eat jalapeno peppers in a lot of the food here in Texas, but anything over about 6,000 on the Scoville Scale is out of my league!

Thanks to @franky for sharing this on Twitter.

Wednesday
Aug312011

Who Owns The Beer Brands?

That beer you’re drinking from that cool independent brewery may not be what you think.  Another very cool data visualization from Philip H. Howard and Ginger Ogilvie at Michigan State University called Concentration in the US Beer Industry.  Similar to their last project visualizing the soft drink industry in The Illusion of Diversity, this new project shows the breweries and individual beers owned by the top 13 companies.

There is an appearance of great diversity in the number of brands and varieties of beer sold in the United States. The beer industry, however, is dominated by a relatively small number of firms.

AB InBev owns, co-owns or distributes more than 36 brands, for example, while MillerCoors controls at least 24 more. MillerCoors also brews Metropoulos & Company’s products under contract (thus the company that controls Pabst and 21 other brands is a “virtual” beer company).

Only meant to show which companies own which beer brands, the three bubble sizes are used to show parent companies, brewery brands and individual beer brands.  They designed a separate treemap visualization to show market share.

Because these are large visualizations, they have posted them within zooming viewers on the Michigan State University site.

Found on Flowing Data.