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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 Infographic (41)

Wednesday
May012013

Alberto Cairo - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

GUEST POST by Alberto Cairo

A ‘cool’ infographic is one that not only forces you to stop and stare at it with awe, but also —and above all— one that gives you insights that you would not get otherwise. ‘Cool’ infographics reveal patterns and trends that lie buried below mountains of data and facts. They make complexity clear without compromising its integrity.

To be truly ‘cool’, an infographic needs to be honest, truthful, deep, and elegant. It can be fun, too, but it needs first to respect the intelligence of its potential readers, and be designed not just to entertain them, but to enlighten them. A bunch of out of context numbers or grossly simplistic charts surrounded by pictograms or illustrations is never a ‘cool’ infographic. Quite the opposite is true. The primary goal of ‘cool’ infographics is not to ‘bring eyeballs’ or ‘go viral’. Those are by-products. If you design with just those objectives in mind, you will end up having not an infographic, but perhaps a colorful but ultimately worthless poster. Any truly ‘cool’ infographic is a tool for rational understanding, an instrument to discuss relevant ideas and phenomena.

Washington Post Homicides in the District cool interactive infographic

As an example, I would like you to visit this very simple but very smart interactive graphic by The Washington Post. See how carefully the information is layered and dosed in it. Notice how it first highlights some important facts (“Drug killings down”, “Most dangerous age…”) and then it lets you explore the data at will. It is beautiful, it is informative, it is useful. And it is extremely cool.

 

Alberto Cairo

Alberto Cairo teaches infographics and visualization at the School of Communication of the University of Miami. He is the author of the book The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (PeachPit Press, 2012). He has been a consultant and instructor with media organizations and educational institutions in more than twenty countries.

LINKS

www.thefunctionalart.com

Twitter: @albertocairo

School of Communication: http://com.miami.edu/ 

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.

Monday
Mar112013

Wealth Inequality in America

The Wealth Inequality in America infographic video was posted on YouTube back in November 2012.  The video is a good example of what the best infographic designs accomplish: Make the complex understandable.  

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

The data visualization in the video is very powerful and effective.  It takes the huge numbers that our brains have trouble processing, and visualizes them in a way that we can understand.  Comparing numbers puts them into context for the viewer, and comparing the different fifths of the population works very well in this instance.

The data sources are clearly listed at the end of the video, and they are even made available as clickable links in the video description on YouTube (which is very helpful).  This helps the credibility of the video tremendously.  Not many viewers (4,336,254 views as of the day I post this) will click to the links to view the source data, but they’re there.  Transparency creates credibility.

However, it’s not clear who created and is publishing the video, and this hurts the credibility a little bit, at least to a skeptic like me.  The video was uploaded by the user politizane, whose account was created just to upload this video.  No history of other videos, and no links to a company or website.  The author/designer obviously has an agenda, and spent a lot of time or money creating the video.  It would enhance the credibility even more if the viewer knew who was publishing and promoting the video.

Thanks to Doug for sending the link!

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
Jan142013

SEO & Infographics - an Interview with Eric Enge

Eric Enge, Author and SEO GuruRecently, I had an amazing opportunity to interview Eric Enge about SEO & Infographics.  Eric has incredible insight in the world of SEO as a consultant, author, speaker and entrepreneur.

Eric Enge is the CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, a consulting company that provides a full range of Internet marketing optimization services including: strategic business planning, on page search engine optimization, link building, content optimization, conversion optimization, social media optimization, user engagement, and pay-per-click campaign development and optimization. Eric is co-author of the book The Art of SEO, a speaker at numerous search marketing events, and a contributing author to Search Engine LandSearch Engine Watch, and SEOmoz

 The interview covers some of the hottest topics that impact the infographics design industry today:

  • Infographics as part of a content marketing strategy
  • How Google’s changes to their algorithm impacts infographics
  • Infographics relevance and accuracy
  • Using attribution links, anchor text and embed code for infographics
  • Infographics on Pinterest 

You can read the complete interview on the InfoNewt blog

Tuesday
Jan082013

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet infographic

 

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet by LunaMetrics is a huge (and very long) informational infographic that shows the readers all of the important image sizing requirements for the major social networks.

In June of this year, we published an infographic listing all of the sizing information for images on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. It was a wildly successful piece of content, totally blowing our expectations out of the water. Unfortunately, while its popularity has flourished, nearly every social network instituted changes to their image sizes, rendering most of the information on the infographic out of date.

We knew we needed to update the information on the cheat sheet, but we weren’t comfortable with simply adjusting one or two figures on the blog post and leaving it as-is. We’d also received a lot of feedback, both on the design and information it contained. We decided to redesign the entire sheet and incorporate a few more social networks.

We also decided to permanently redirect the old sheet here, so that shared tweets, pins, likes, and so on, would lead to the correct sizing dimensions. Additionally, as sizing changes are implemented across social networks, we’ll actively update this sheet – meaning that if you use the embed code at the bottom to share this sheet on your own site, the image will automatically update with changes as they are rolled out. No more out-of-date information.

I love that all of the sizes are shown in correctly proportional rectangles!  Based on their claim, this infographic should also update correctly as they revise it to match the ongiong changes from all of the social networks.  

Some color of the official logos of the different social media networks at each section break would have been helpful to the reader.  The light typeface used at each section break is hard to distinguish from the rest of the design.

Found on Social Media and Social Good

Friday
Dec212012

Infographic Holiday Cards 2012

Infographic Holiday Cards 2012

 

This is a limited time offer!  

Funnel Incorporated is offering a FREE 4-pack of infographic holiday cards to everyone that submits a request (while supplies last) through a giveaway on Facebook.  You must request your free pack of cards through the Facebook page by Noon CT on Saturday December 22 (Tomorrow!).

U.S. and Canada only, but anyone can download the infographic holiday themed wallpaper designs from the Funnel website at http://www.funnelinc.com/holiday

Tuesday
Sep112012

What is an Infographic? (explained with LEGOs)

 What is an Infographic? infographic

This infographic from Hot Butter Studio presents the idea of infographics in, well, an infographic! What is an Infographic? Data sorted, arranged, and presented visually! (And in a fun LEGO design!)

This is an infographic about what is an infographic. Using Lego blocks and photography we wanted to show that.a good infographic is simple and requires very little text.

Simple and fun, this is a really good design that has had some phenomenal success in social media sharing.

Thanks to Karyn for sending in the link!

Monday
Aug202012

ROI = Return On Infographics

ROI Return On Infographics

 

Infographics about infographics are always fun.  Return on Infographics by Bit Rebels and NowSourcing takes a look at some of Bit Rebels’ own data from releasing infographics as part of their marketing.

The impact of an infographic can be measured on many levels, which makes it all just a little bit more complex and complicated to present. With the help of NowSourcing, we have been able to produce an infographic that will compare the traffic and social action impact of an infographic post with a traditional post that does not involve an infographic. It’s through social media analytics that a clear image slowly emerges to tell a story that for some has just been a question without an answer.

They’re pretty clear about this, but remember that this design is completely based on internal data from Bit Rebels.  It may be a good indicator of infographics in general, but we don’t know for sure.

Bit Rebels has shared some fantastic data from their internal tracking, which will be of interest to the you, the readers of Cool Infographics.  However, the design makes a few mistakes, and we’re all here to learn how to make infographics designs better.

  • One of my pet peeves, the design messed up the size of the circles in the comparison table.  Based on the full-size infographic they released at 975 pixels wide, the smaller circle for 243 Actions is about 55 pixels in diameter.  Doing the match for the area of a circle, the diameter of the larger circle for 1,091 Actions should be about 117 pixels wide.  In the design, it’s actually about 256 pixels wide!  So instead of visually showing a shape roughly 4x larger, it’s actually showing a circle about 22x larger!  This is a “false visualization” and mis-represents the data.
  • Are these comparison data points an average or a total of the 500 posts?
  • How many infographic posts are compared to how many traditional posts?
  • Love the use of the actual logos from the social networks in the comparison table, and they should have continued that with the rest of the design instead of just text later in the design.
  • The blue bars behind the higher comparison value look like bar charts, but obviously don’t match the data.  They just fit the text, and have no visual relevance to the data.  An indicator icon or highlighting the entire column width would have been better than the bars.
  • Are the Top 6 Social Networks in rank order?  LinkedIN is the top social network for infographics???
  • The circles near the end of the design are also incorrect.  Instead of showing a 10x comparison to match the dollar values, the circles show an over 100x comparison!

Found on WebProNews, MediaBitro’s AllTwitter, and Visual.ly.  Thanks to everyone that also submitted it and tweeted links to it!

Monday
Aug062012

New Feature: DataVis & Infographic Designer Job Openings

Infographic Designer Jobs

I recently added a new feature page here on the Cool Infographics blog called Cool Jobs.  The Jobs page is open for anyone to post freelance, part-time and full-time opportunities for data visualization and infographic designers.  Posting an opening on the Jobs page is FREE, and you should include a job description, a link to the opportunity, and contact information in the main body of your post.