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

Search the Cool Infographics site

Custom Search

 

Subscriptions:

 

Feedburner

The Cool Infographics® Gallery:

How to add the
Cool Infographics button to your:

Cool Infographics iOS icon

- iPhone
- iPad
- iPod Touch

 

Read on Flipboard for iPad and iPhone

Featured in the Tech & Science category

Flipboard icon

Twitter Feed
From the Bookstore

Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Google Insights

Entries in infographics (12)

Friday
Aug292014

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics

Accuracy is the most important aspect of an infographic design!

Last week, the article The Truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge by Julia Belluz on Vox Media included the infographic, Where We Donate vs. Diseases That Kill Us, that used proportionally sized circles as its data visualization. The problem with this design is that the circle sizes don’t match the values shown. This is a false visualization and significantly over exaggerates the smaller amounts of money contributed to each charity and the deaths attributed to each cause.

This causes problems because readers often just look at the visuals without reading the actual numbers. They start with the assumption that a visualization accurately represents the data. The Vox Media story and infographic already have over 12,000 shares on Facebook, and this is a great case study for designers to understand how important it is to visualize data accurately.

As readers, we see the area of two-dimensional shapes on the page to represent the different values, but design software only allows width and height adjustments to size shapes. Designers make the mistake of adjusting the diameter of circles to match the data instead of the area, which incorrectly sizes the circles dramatically. It takes some geometry calculations in a spreadsheet to find the areas and then calculate the appropriate diameters for each circle. To demonstrate, I created this corrected version of the infographic.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised

My Google Docs spreadsheet of the correct circle area and diameter calculations is available here.

Assuming this was a design mistake, and there was no intent to deceive the audience, this is a common mistake that many designers make.  So many designers, that I included an entire section on this topic in the Cool Infographics book to help designers understand how to size the area of circles.

I made one other improvement to the corrected design above by removing the color legend and listing the charities and causes of death right next to the appropriate circles. This makes the whole visualization easier for the audience to read by eliminating the need to look back-and-forth from the circles to the color legend to figure out what each circle represents.  Placing the text next to each circle keeps the information in the reader’s field of view which minimizes eye movement.

Sticking with the circles data visualization style, I wanted to take the design a little bit further. I would recommend one of two alternate improvements.  First, adding colored connecting lines is one way to make it easier for the audience to find the related circles in the columns sorted in descending order.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised Lines

A second alternative would be to sort the lists to line up the related circles.  This makes it much easier for the audience to see the direct comparisons between charitable contributions and death rates related to the same cause.

False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics Revised Descending Sort

I’m passing over any discussion about whether using proportionally sized circles (a bubble chart) is the best visualization method for this data. If a designer makes the choice to use sized shapes, my point is that the data visualizations in the infographic must match the numbers using area.  David Mendoza published a good analysis worth reading and designed an alternative way to visualize the data in his article, This Bubble Chart Is Killing Me.

How else would you improve this design?

NOTE: I was able to contact the designer who created the infographic at Vox Media, and he had already realized his error after the infographic had been published. As I had guessed, he had mistakenly adjusted the diameter of the circles instead of the area. He told me that he’s working on updating the official infographic design in the article, but it hasn’t been published on the Vox Media site yet.


 

Monday
Aug112014

12 Reasons Your Business Needs to Get Visual

12 Reasons Your Business Needs to Get Visual infographic

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times… but once more wont hurt! Visuals are important!!! This infographic from re:DESIGN attempts to summarize the reasons why in 12 Reasons Your Business Needs to Get Visual.

The shift to the visual is evident everywhere we look, in all media — the infographic explains why.

A good, strong visual married to a good concept — with the right strategy and the right words — wins every time, especially in today’s busy, noisy media world. One thing is clear: visuals and all that traditional creative expertise brings to the table has never been more important for capturing eyeballs, expanding brand influence, and getting people to act.

Love the message and most of the points included.  Good choice of images for each section. However, big fonts are not data visualizations and the infographic looks like it’s pushing the use of bigger fonts instead of visuals. Data shown in a big font does not provide the audience with any context, not do they make the data easier to understand.

I also noticed the popular false statistic included in the design: “Visual data is processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.”  It’s a statistic often quoted in presentations and infographics about the value of visual information, but it’s not true.  I’d love for this statistic to be real, but no one has been able to track down the original research.  It was used decades ago in some 3M marketing materials for transparencies used with overhead projectors (yes, that long ago).  It’s quoted so often now that everyone believes it.

If this topic interestes you, check out Chapter 1 of my book, Cool Infographics, called The Science of Infographics.  There I cover the research and data behind why visual information is more effective and why infographics are so popular.  You can download a free sample PDF of the chapter on the BOOK page.

Found on re:DESIGN

Monday
Jul282014

Viral Sharing Tactics of an Infographic

  Viral Sharing Tactics of an Infographic infographic

Making a cool infographic is one thing, sharing it and making it go viral is another. Luckily, the Viral Sharing Tactics of an Infographic infographic published by Piktochart gives some tips on how to make your cool infographic a hit!

Making your carefully crafted infographic go viral isn’t a dark science. It doesn’t just happen miraculously. You have to make it happen.

The key to a successful viral infographic lies not just in the content. Apart from designing a very good infographic, what you do with it after that plays a big role in making it go viral. You have to go the extra mile to publicize and enable others to publicize your infographic for you. There are many available platforms and tools to accelerate your viral campaign.

There’s some really good information included in here, and many of the tactics listed here are included in my Infographic Release Strategy from the Cool Infographics book.  Designing a good infographic isn’t enough.  You need to publicize and promote your design so people can find it and share it.

I would have liked to see more statistics behind their recommendations.  The only data included in the design is the Google Trends chart of searches for the word ”infographic”, which is a very impressive trend!  The design should have also included a copyright, and the URL to the infographic landing page on the Piktochart site.  I love the “Click to Tweet” pre-written sharing element on the landing page!

Piktochart is an online infographic design tool, similar to a vector graphics software application.  You can find this tool listed along with others on the Cool Infographics Tools page.  I love to see that they used their own tool to design this infographic!

Thanks to Rachel for sending in the link! 

Thursday
Apr242014

Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing With SEO

Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing With SEO infographic

The Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing With SEO infographic is essentially a big list of the most popular online services in a number of different categories.  Published by blogmost, it’s meant as a reference tool for Marketers to help plan out their content strategies.

Trying to build High Quality Links without paying anyone? This infographic reveals techniques to build them and complete details of good website + mentioned Great SEO & SMO tools for better Marketing.

No data or numbers, the most prominent sites and companies are shown for 26 different online service categories.  The randomness of circle sizes appears to visualize some type of information, but there’s no data behind them.  It’s just the designer sizing them to fit the different logos and icons.

The design does a fantastic job of using logos and icons in place of text.  This makes the overall design faster and easier for the audience to read through.  It’s a much more enjoyable experience than reading the text name of all the different companies, brands and sites.

Some description at the top would be helpful to describe how the sites were chosen for readers that find the infographic on other sites.  The URL of the infographic Landing Page on the blogmost site in the footer would also be helpful for the readers to be able to find the original full-size version and associated text.

Found on Visual.ly

Monday
Mar172014

The State of Infographics at SxSW 2014

The State of Infographics at SxSW 2014

I post all types of infographics and data visualizations from designers all over the world here on Cool Infographics, and as a recap, I wanted to take stock of the state of infographics and data visualization at this year’s SxSW Interactive conference in Austin, TX.

I’ve been going to SxSW for a few years now, and infographics have been a growing presence in the Interactive portion of the conference every year.  You can find hidden sessions about data visualization, visual communication and infographics in different portions of the conference like the new SXsports, Health and Business sessions.

Check the links and search the presentation hashtags on Twitter to find more information and audience comments from each event.  I know I didn’t catch everything, so send me links to anything (Events, notes, slides, etc) I missed through the Contact page or the comments and I’ll add appropriate ones into the post!

*Sessions I was able to attend

Official Events:

 

Unofficial Sessions:

 

  • The Attention Economy with Walter, book signing by Ekaterina Walter @Ekaterina, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling
    • “Attention is the new commodity. Visual storytelling is the new currency,” say co-authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio in their new book The Power of Visual Storytelling.  The first 100 attendees for Ekaterina’s signing will get a copy of her book. Come chat with Ekaterina about the visualization revolution and her thoughts about SxSW Interactive 2014.
    • Hosted by Vocus @Vocus
    • http://www.eventbrite.com/e/wtf-sxsw-visualize-a-powerful-future-tickets-10822280733
  • FH Black Box lounge at the Four Seasons (#FHBlackBox)
  • Column Five announced the release of Visage
  • Cool Infographics Meetup
    • Special thanks to the team at the Fleishman Hillard Black Box Lounge!  They allowed me to host the Cool Infographics @Coolinfographic meetup event after my book signing on Monday for anyone that wanted to hang out.  It was also an opportunity to meet fans and sign books for people that didn’t have official SxSW badges.

 

Please help add anything I missed by posting in the comments below or sending me a note through the Contact page.  I’ll add new content into the post above.

 

 


Thursday
Jan302014

Cool Infographics: Best Practices Group on LinkedIn

Cool Infographics LinkedIn Group

I am excited to announce the launch of a new LinkedIn Group, Cool Infographics: Best Practices. I have personally been a part of many great discussion groups over the years and believe that this group fills an unmet need.  Please accept this invitation to join the group to share your own experiences and wisdom.

There are many groups that share infographics, but I felt that a discussion group dedicated to the craft of infographics and data visualization was missing.  This group will feature questions and case studies about how companies are leveraging infographics and data visualization as a communication tool.  Any posts that are just links to infographics will be moderated to keep the focus on engaging discussions.  Topics and questions from the Cool Infographics book will also be discussed.

Join us in a professional dialogue surrounding case studies and strategies for designing infographics and using them as a part of an overall marketing strategy.  We welcome both beginning and established professionals to share valuable tactics and experiences as well as fans of infographics to learn more about this growing field.

-Randy

 

Saturday
Nov302013

Cool Infographics 30% Off at Amazon This Weekend ONLY!

Cool Infographics 30% Off at Amazon This Weekend ONLY!

This weekend ONLY, Amazon is offering 30% Off any one print book, and you can use this deal to get Cool Infographics at the lowest price yet!  The deal ends December 1st at 11:59pm PST.  Use the promo code “BOOKDEAL“ at checkout under the “Gift cards & promotional codes” section.

You can read the details and Terms & Conditions here.

When I looked on Saturday, Amazon’s retail price was listed at $25.08 (it changes daily), and with this discount you could get Cool Infographics for only $17.56.  That’s the lowest price I’ve seen anywhere!

Monday
Oct282013

The Cool Infographics Book is Now Available! #coolinfobook

unboxing Cool Infographics book

The Cool Infographics book is now shipping!  I received my own printed copies on Friday for the first time, and they look fantastic!  It’s a special feeling to hold the physical result of 12 months of hard work in my hands.  The publisher, Wiley, did an awesome job printing them.

I know that people who pre-ordered the book have begun to receive their copies.  Everyone that pre-ordered copies should get their shipment shortly.  If you’re interested in an ebook version, I believe the Amazon Kindle version is now available, and other book sites will have an ebook version available in a couple weeks.

As I posted last week, I’ve made a free sample chapter excerpt available.  Use the online form to request the link to download the PDF sample chapter.

DON’T MISS OUT!  Time is running out to take advantage of the discount code “CINFO” to get 40% off list price on the Wiley publisher site.  The discount code is still good through the end of October (10/31/13).  Last time I checked all of the book retailer sites (yesterday), this was the best price online to get the book for only $23.99.

Friday
Oct252013

Download A Free Sample Chapter from the Cool Infographics Book #coolinfobook

Cool Infographics Book Sample Chapter

The Cool Infographics book comes out next week!

I now have a sample chapter available for download as a PDF file for FREE.  Fill out the form on the request page, and you’ll get an automated email with the link to download the sample chapter.

The sample chapter excerpt includes 30 pages from the first chapter, and covers the following topics:

  • Chapter 1: The Science of Infographics
    • Infographics vs. Data Visualizations
    • The Explosive Growth of Infographics
    • The Rise of the Informavore
    • The Rise of Big Data
    • Why Infographics Work
    • The Art of Storytelling

DON’T MISS OUT!  Time is running out to take advantage of the discount code “CINFO” to get 40% off list price on the Wiley publisher site.  The pre-order discount code is only good through the end of October (10/31/13).  Last time I checked all of the book retailer sites (yesterday), this was still the best deal online to get the book for only $23.99.

Cool Infographics Book

Wednesday
Oct022013

40% Discount on Cool Infographics Book Pre-Orders

40% Discount on Cool Infographics Book Pre-Orders

As a special offer for readers of the Cool Infographics blog, Wiley is offering a 40% discount when you pre-order the print version of Cool Infographics directly from their site.  The list price for my book is $39.99 in the United States (CDN $47.99 in Canada, £26.99 or €32.00 in Europe), so the discount brings the price down in the U.S. to $23.99 for pre-orders.  This offer is available globally from the countries included on the Wiley site.

Discount: 40% off list price

Link: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118582306.html

Discount Code: CINFO

Expires: 10/31/13

The 40% off pre-order discount is available for the month of October, leading up to the official release on October 28, 2013.

This discount is only available for orders of the print version of the book from the Wiley site.  The prices from online book retailers Amazon or Barnes & Noble change daily (or more frequently) based on their pricing algorithms, so there’s no telling what their prices will be on any given day.  That’s why the discount is only available from Wiley.  Enter the discount code “CINFO” at checkout.

Please share this offer with any friends or co-workers that would enjoy the book!

Note: Contact me for additional discounts on bulk orders for 26 or more copies for your organization.