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 history (215)

Thursday
May242012

The Evolution of the Handgun

The Evolution of the Handgun infographic

There have been literally thousands of different gun models, but The Evolution of the Handgun infographic from GunVault.com covers most of the major advancements in handgun design.

I really like the first two sections of this design, and I think the last section was unnecessary.  The timeline and the gun specifications sections do a good job of laying out the data and keeping it simple.  The barrel length and the calibers of each model work very nicely.  Since the # of Rounds data is quantitative, I would suggest visualizing that as a series of circles instead of a solid bar to better communicate quantity.  

The last section adds a lot of text, repeats the data from the second section and makes the overall infographic gratuitously long.  The flags showing the country of origin could easily have been added to the earlier sections.

Thanks to Archie for sending in the link!

Thursday
Apr262012

The Eagle Scout Infographic

The Eagle Scout infographic is a new design from the Boy Scouts of America, and shows them experimenting with using infographics to share their message.  It’s odd that I can’t find any mention of it on Scouting.org, but found it posted on the Bryan On Scouting blog, which is the official blog from Scouting Magazine, and posted in the official BSA Twitter stream (@boyscouts).  There’s also a high-resolution PDF file available for download if anyone wants to print it out.

My son just bridged over to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts, and their national office is here in the DFW area, so I was naturally interested.  This is a really good first attempt at an infographic design from their design team, but makes a few mistakes visualizing the data.

  • Good use of the red, white and blue color scheme.  It’s clearly scouting, and specifically related to Eagle Scouts
  • The data being presented is fantastic since only the BSA would have access to many of these statistics.
  • I love the choices of imagery used.  The embroidered patches and icons used for the scouts keeps the design clean and easy to read.  Many BSA publications use a lot of full-color photos of the scouts, and that would have added too much visual noise to an infographic design.
  • The BSA logo at the top clearly identifies this as an official publication, but it’s missing a title.  What should we call this infographic?  Why should I read this infographic?  Something like “100 Years of Eagle Scouts: By The Numbers” would have worked nicely.
  • The information included will change over time since the data is a current snapshot of the state of Eagle Scouts.  2,151,024 Eagle Scouts as of what date?  The infographic should more clearly identify the date that the data is gathered from, because people will be looking at this for years on the Internet.
  • Filling unusual shapes to show percentages is always a challenge.  With images like the hand icon and the globe you can’t just calculate the height of the colored area like a bar chart.  You have to calculate the AREA of the space to be colored, or you end up with false visualizations like these.
  • The same is true for sizing shapes, like the people icons for the Average Age of Eagle Scouts visualization.  You have to size the overall AREA of the shapes to match the data being presented, which is hard with complex shapes.  You can’t just change the height.
  • The space shuttle avoids this issue by only coloring a rectangular shape in the middle, turning it into a stacked bar chart, but the visualization doesn’t match the data.  The red colored section is visualizing more than 60 astronauts as Eagle Scouts, when the number shown is only 40.
  • I love the Eagles by Decade data, but avoid 3D charts.  The 3D effect doesn’t add anything to the data being presented and it’s incosistent with the rest of the design.  The data tells a great story, and clearly shows that Boy Scouts continues to grow strongly and is a viable organization in the 21st century.
  • I like this use of the word cloud for Notable Eagles, but don’t change the font sizes because in infographic design this is assumed to convey data.  With Brave and Loyal in larger fonts, it implies that these are more important than all of the other virtues.  The virtues should all be one, consistent font size, and the names should all be a second font size.
  • At the bottom, there should be a copyright (or Creative Commons) statement, and a URL for readers to be able to find the original high-resolution version. 

Thanks to Dean for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Apr242012

Gov 2.0 Infographic: Bringing the Tobacco Control Act to Life

 

In 2011, Enspektos, a health marketing communications innovation consultancy, invited InfoNewt (my company) to be involved in a special project the firm was leading on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).  As a new federal agency, the CTP is tasked with regulating tobacco products and preventing tobacco use – especially among youth.

During the project, we collaborated with the CTP to help create The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Facts, History and Milestones, an infographic timeline that covers the past and future actions related to the Tobacco Control Act passed in 2009.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) is an important piece of legislation with many requirements. This infographic illustrates the history, rationale and major events associated with the Act. The Tobacco Control Act provides all of the events, deadlines and requirements in full and should be used as the final resource for information about the Act.

The infographic is yet another example of Gov 2.0, or the effort to utilize a range of digital technologies to improve government transparency and public understanding of how federal agencies function.  The original Tobacco Control Act is a 68-page document available online, but in actual practice that isn’t easily accessible or understandable by the general public.  The FDA has created several tools to help the public understand the Tobacco Control Act, like a snapshot overview of the Act, an interactive scrolling timeline viewer, a searchable interface and the infographic timeline.

On Wednesday, April 25th, the FDA is holding a LIVE webinar to share the different tools they have created to help everyone access and understand specific information from the 68-page law. 

Attend Our Live Webinar!

As you might expect from an official government publication, the design went through many iterations of review and revisions.  In my opinion, the final infographic is text-heavy, but strikes a balance between optimal design and content that was vetted and approved by many different individuals at the CTP. 

Fard Johnmar, Founder and President of Enspektos agreed to answer some questions about the project.

Cool Infographics: How do you think the infographic and other tools will aid public understanding of the Tobacco Control Act and the CTP? 

Fard Johnmar:  I think the infographic and other tools are an important step for the federal government.  Transforming dense and complicated legislation into simple, visually appealing information products is a very difficult process.  You have to balance the wish to make things clear and concise with a requirement that information be as accurate and complete as possible.  

We had two primary goals: The first was to improve the public’s understanding of the Tobacco Control Act.  The second was to get people within FDA comfortable with using new tools that help visually communicate important regulatory and public health information.  Now that this project is complete, I think FDA will be looking for other ways to communicate about its mission and activities in more visually appealing ways.

Cool Infographics: Do you see other health and medical organizations using visual communications techniques? 

Fard Johnmar: Absolutely.  In fact, since we published the Empowered E-Patient infographic a few years ago, I’ve seen a number of health organizations using infographics to communicate about a range of topics, including GE for its Healthymagination project (click here for a few sample infographics).

Cool Infographics:  How difficult was it to push the infographic through the FDA approval process

Fard Johnmar: As you can imagine, getting final approval for a novel visual project like this can be difficult for large organizations.  However, there was a real passion for the project from Sanjay Koyani, Senior Communications Advisor at the CTP and other members of his team.  They helped to successfully meet all of the legal requirements and answer the numerous questions posed by colleagues at the CTP.  Now there is a higher comfort level at the agency with utilizing these types of visual tools to tell the CTP story.

I truly appreciated being involved in the project, and think this is a really big step towards making the often overly complex information released through official government channels more understandable to more people.

Thanks to Enspektos and the team at the Center for Tobacco Products!

Monday
Apr232012

The Rise of the Slacktivist 

Ever had this feeling that you were a Slacktivist? Well wonder no more! The Rise of the Slacktivist infographic from sortable.com will put a rest to all your questions!

Is there any value in a Slacktivist? Can 500,000 people on twitter actually change something? Is hitting the streets and protesting the only real way to cause social change? Sortable takes a look at the rise of slacktivism, and the power this movement has.

This design does a good job of telling a story to the reader that is easy to understand in a linear fashion top-to-bottom.  It starts with the background of “What is a Slacktivist,” then shares a number of behavioral stats about Slacktivists, a few successful Slacktavist campaigns and finally the “10 Signs you might be a Slacktivist” is a self-check for the readers.

The illustrations are mostly relevant, and the overall design isn’t too crowded with information.  I don’t understand some of uses of the social media icons, like why is Twitter representative of volunteering and Facebook representative of taking part in events?  They missed the opportunity to visualize some of their data point too, like the Red Cross stats related to the Haiti earthquake.  Even at least an illustration of five days on a calendar would help.

Even though there are a lot of Sources, they were thorough and correctly included them in the infographic design.  They are also listed on the landing page, but none of that text gets carried along when someone reposts the infographic.

The bottom of the design is missing a copyright statement, and it would be nice to give the designer credit.  Readers are generally more receptive to a design when the designer is mentioned because it comes from somebody and not just a corporation.

Thanks to Brenden for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Apr112012

Defense of the Ancients (DotA) Infographic

The Defense of the Ancients (DotA) infographic from GameArena.com takes game enthusiasts through a brief history of how the game came about!

Dota, Defence of the Ancients, is the latest hype in gaming. Initially developed as a modified game in Starcraft, the concept has now grown globally and has even made its way into professional competitions. Popular game titles that have implemented the “DotA” concept include Warcraft 3, DotA Allstars, DemiGod, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Realm of the Titans. Two more upcoming titles that will certainly get the gaming world’s attention are DotA 2 and Blizzard DotA.

So what is DotA exactly? Our trusty graphics boffins have once again created the infographic below for the complete history on how the new genre came about.

The design style is certainly relevant to the game look-and-feel itself.  The timeline is odd that some events don’t have specific dates identified.  The use if icon illustrations for different concepts and company/game logos on the timeline helps the reader.  I would have liked to see some of the stats behind the game and its popularity.

Thanks to Eric for sending in the link!

Friday
Apr062012

Augusta National Golf Club - Then and Now

Bill Younker from Historyshots.com has designed a new infographic poster!  Augusta National Golf Club- Then and Now, shows how the famous golf course has changed since its first Masters Tournament 79 years ago!

Augusta National Golf Club has undergone continuous modification since hosting its first Masters Tournament in 1934. This graphic depicts the more than 100 major changes made to the course over the past 79 years. At the top is a visual side-by-side comparison of each hole for 1934 and 2012. Below the hole comparisons is a timeline that maps tee, fairway and green area changes year-by-year. The combination of visual comparison and detailed timeline provides a sweeping overview of all the major changes made since 1934.

This is a great design that demonstrates how simple visuals can be used to show the viewer differences between the hole designs.  By showing a terrain map of each hole then and now, side-by-side, the poster is easy for viewers to compare the changes and enjoy.

You can buy the 40” x 24” inch poster for $34.95 and definitely check out the zooming viewer to see the poster up close at Historyshots.com.

Great job Bill!

Thursday
Apr052012

The Fiction to Reality Timeline

The Fiction to Reality Timeline infographic from attsavings.com brings all of cool gadgets from the future in movies into the present.  Anything is possible!

Do you remember “Star Trek” and all the great gadgets the crew members used in each episode? Or the fancy gizmos from “The Jetsons” or “Minority Report?” Ever wonder when, or if, we’ll invent technology like what we’ve seen in the fictional universe? Satisfy your craving for fictional tech with The Fiction to Reality Timeline.

Although I disagree that some of their actual technology references are the first time certain technologies have appeared in the modern world, the overall message is clear.  Things like Heads-Up Displays have been around in fighter cockpits for much longer, and the iPad wasn’t the first portable display device, just the first mainstream commercially successful device.

I couldn’t figure out if the line colors had any meaning.  Are they color-coded to match some type of category?

Where’s my flying car?!?

Thanks to Ryan for sending the link!

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!

Friday
Mar162012

Client Infographic: Streamlining your Digital Life with the new iPad

With the Apple event last week announcing the release of the new iPad, the Streamlining your Digital Life with the new iPad infographic from NextWorth takes a look at the history of the electronic devices that the iPad has replaced in our lives.  A true multifunctional device, the iPad has replaced many of our separate gadgets.

The digital world is converging on a revolutionary all-in-one device, the powerful, brand-new iPad. These are the iconic portable devices that led to (and are to some extent being replaced by) Apple’s innovation.

The lines are color coded to connect the types of devices in the timeline, and show any devices that had multiple functions of their own (like the Eee PC 701).  Using a treemap in the iPad image, it also shows the amount of time spent using the different functions on the iPad from average consumers.  The use of illustrations instead of photographs of all these devices keeps the design simple and focused on communicating the data.

Finally, using their own internal data, an assortment of prices are shown of the current maximum values that consumers can get by trading in their now-obsolete gadgets.  With a handful of the right gadgets, you could easily get enough money back to pay for a brand new iPad!

All of the essential information is included in the design: data sources, brand logo, URL of the original high-resolution infographic landing page, company logo, copyright statement and even a mention of the designer (nice job Jeremy!).

This was an infographic design from my own company, InfoNewt, and of course, the team at NextWorth was fantastic to work with!

Tuesday
Mar132012

10 Irish Inventions that Changed the World

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I thought i would share the 10 Irish Inventions that Changed the World infographic from GoIreland.com explores 10 of the greatest Irish inventions ever.

Ireland: The land of saints and scholars, right? Well, sort-of. Whatever about saints, this little island has certainly produced its fair share of clever clogs. For a country that makes no secret of some pretty audacious claims to fame (we even tried to claim that Barack Obama guy as one of our own!!), we have been remarkably quiet about some outstanding Irish inventions.

Modern chemistry? Tick. Color photography? Tick. Both Irish inventions, and, as you can see from the infographic, there are many more. And when it comes to refreshing beverages, it’s not just Guinness that should come to mind. Raise a toast to soda water and chocolate milk, both Irish inventions to rival the black stuff.

Certainly more narrative than data visualizations, but they picked some fun and interesting inventions to include.  There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the sequence of events; they’re certainly not in chronological order.  I did notice that in the Atomic Bomb section, the visualization for 600,000 Volts actually shows 800,000 Volts.

Three things are missing from the bottom of the design: a copyright statement, the URL where readers can find the original infographic landing page and credit to the designer(s).

Thanks to Aidan for sending in the link!