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 politics (54)

Thursday
Jun202013

How to Create a Winning Email Marketing Campaign

How to Create a Winning Marketing Campaign infographic

Originally intended for the election year, VerticalResponse has created an infographic on How to Create a Winning Email Marketing Campaign

With over three billion email accounts open worldwide, numbers are showing that email marketing is a viable strategy to target and captivate potential customers. That number is expected to grow to a whopping 4.3 billion by 2016.

How do you make your email stand out from an inbox that receives an average of 112 emails per day? If stats citing click-through rates for 2011 are accurate, only 22 of those emails are opened, leaving the other 90 emails to become unopened, or worse, marked as spam (a four-letter word that strikes fear into the hearts of email marketers).

With election day coming up, we wanted to celebrate the occasion with a patriotic infographic on email marketing. From choosing the right “from” name to integrating your email with social networks, if email marketing has your vote, check out the infographic for five steps towards a winning email marketing campaign.

This is a good way to use an infographic as a visual explanation instead of a bullet list in text for a blog post.  It’s easier to share and includes the images to make it easier to understand.

They had some great data about the growing number of email accounts, but they didn’t include that in the infographic.  Any text description on the infographic landing page is usually lost when people share the infographic, so all of that information should be included in the infographics itself.

Thanks to Leigh for sending in the link!

Friday
Oct262012

A Visual History of the US House poster and interview

The Visual History of the United States House of Representatives infographic poster

 

Timeplots has launched a new infographic poster, The Visual History of the United States House of Representatives.  Available for purchase from the Timeplots site for $34.95.

This large-scale (48″x32”) print is like nothing else available on the history of the U.S. House of Representatives. It depicts the progression in political ideology of every House seat from 1789 to 2010.

Other highlights include a timeline of over 100 major legislative enactments and significant developments in U.S. legislative history, and visual summaries of party control and ideological distribution of the House and Senate in each Congress. A Visual History of the U.S. House of Representatives is packed with information and is not intended to be absorbed at a glance, but rather visited and revisited over time. 

The infographic design visualizes the entire history from 1789-2013.  The main, central visualization is the unique highlight of this design.  Each representative is shown by a colored circle that matches their party affiliation, and placed along a vertical scale based on their ideology.  The circles are filled partially transparent, so you get the cumulative color effect when the circles overlap.  This creates a darker color when many representatives within any particular two-year Congress share a similar ideology, and you can see clear areas of concentration.  Fantastic new visualization method, and creates a beautiful image.

The Visual History of the United States House of Representatives infographic poster ideology

The poster also visualizes the balance of power for each two-year Congress by party, and compares it to the Senate and the President from the same time period.  Major milestones, amendments, governance issues, economy, foreign affairs, civil rights and social policy achievements are also plotted within the time periods they took place.

Nathaniel Pearlman, Founder and President of Timeplots, agreed to answer a few behind-the-scenes questions about designing the poster.

Cool Infographics: What software applications were used to help analyze the data and create the design?

Nathaniel Pearlman: So far we have programmed our information graphic prints in the R language and done the final design pass in Illustrator. I’m interested in hearing about other platforms to use for complex data and layout — especially other software applications that would allow us to create interactive and print versions from the same code base.

Cool Infographics: What’s the most interesting thing you learned from the data?

Nathaniel Pearlman: As with some of our other posters, I like the big picture: for me, the visual history of the U.S. house print shows the sweep of U.S. history — a marked contrast with the more journalistic, and immediate, take on the political and economic state of the nation that we are used to seeing in the news. You can clearly see the ebb and flow over time of ideological overlap between the parties – and how they are at such loggerheads now.

Cool Infographics: What was the hardest part behind designing the House poster?

Nathaniel Pearlman: For the House poster, it took us a while to come up with a compelling central graphic. We were looking for something visually arresting from a distance, but that captured the key patterns in the data.  I think we found that.  

Cool Infographics: What should we expect in the future from Timeplots?

Nathaniel Pearlman:  We have recently launched Graphicacy, a design group that helps other tell their own stories with print or interactive information graphics, especially involving large or complex data sets. For Timeplots, we are currently working on a history of U.S. State boundaries and a visual history of baseball. I am excited about both of them. I would also love to hear from your audience what they would like to see, and we are always looking for collaborators, if someone would like to work with us on a project that they care about. We’re open to new ideas!

Cool Infographics: Who is your primary audience for the posters?  Schools, businesses, political offices, individuals, etc.?

Nathaniel Pearlman: Our primary audience is those with true interest in the subject matter.  Our work is explanatory or educational art for smart people – and just about everyone has areas of intense interest, whether it is sports, entertainment, food, politics or finance.  Timeplots has done a lot with American politics so far, but we intend to move now into other areas as well.

 

Thursday
Oct112012

Obamacare: The Price of Socialized Medicine

Obamacare: The Price of Socialized Medicine infographic

The big news in the public health field in the U.S. is Obamacare. In response to its passing, Master of Public Health.org created The Price of Socialized Medicine: Obamacare’s Unconstitutionality by the Numbers infographic to give insight into how it will affect everyone.

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, in a landmark 5-4 decision. Unfortunately, they got it wrong. The PPACA, known colloquially as Obamacare, should have been struck down by the high court, as it is both unconstitutional and very costly:

  • Individual Mandate: Obamacare requires that all Americans carry health insurance or face an annual penalty. The federal government is effectively compelling individual citizens to enter a market, which is a clear violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that this was constitutionally valid as within Congress’ taxing power.
  • Medicaid Expansion: As the original Act is written, the PPACA would require states to expand Medicaid support or risk having their entire Medicaid federal funding cut off. This infringes on states’ rights. Fortunately, the Supreme Court did rule against these sanctions.

In response to the ruling, we have produced an infographic titled, “The Cost of Socialized Medicine: Obamacare’s Unconstitutionality by the Numbers”, which illustrates the folly of the PPACA as well as some of the costs that will be borne as a result.

Obviously, this design is promoting a specific opinion, but we’re here to discuss the infographic design itself.

  • The design outlines a really good step-by-step story top-to-bottom, and summarizes the data behind their point of view clearly
  • Good mix of illustrations and data visualization within each section.
  • In general, there’s WAY too much text in the design.  They want to be thorough in their explanations, but this much text will turn away many readers from reading the infographic at all.  Also, most of the text is too small to read on their landing page.  Less text would have been more effective, and allowed for a larger font.
  • The timeline looks like events along the heartbeat axis, but they aren’t spaced out appropriately to match their dates.
  • I like the icon representation of the justices.  Just enough detail to be recognizable.
  • Clear, easy to understand map of the costs to each state in the country map
  • The sizes of the circles in the Cost of Obamacare section are close, but not quite accurately representing the dollar figures shown.  Some are larger than they should be, and a couple are smaller.  Almost like the sizes were eye-balled instead of calculated mathematically.  Odd.
  • The states that have filed lawsuits would be easier to understand if the colored states were still placed within the map of the U.S.
  • Good list of sources
  • Need a copyright statement and the URL to the original infographic landing page for readers that find the infographic posted on the Internet to be able to find the original.

Thanks to Jimmy for sending in the link!

Monday
Sep122011

Client Infographic: Sudan, Bombing Everything That Moves

 

Sometimes, you get the opportunity to work on a project with a very serious topic and global relevance.  Recently, InfoNewt (my company) worked with Prof. Eric Reeves and designer Mike Wirth to design the infographic Bombing Everything That Moves (hosted on Eric’s site SudanBombing.org). 

For well over a decade the Government of Sudan—the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in Khartoum—has engaged in a sustained campaign of deliberate aerial military attacks on civilian and humanitarian targets in both South and North Sudan. These attacks have been only fitfully condemned by the international community, and no effective action has been taken to halt them.

Obviously, the topic is very political.  Prof. Reeves has published an extensive report and makes his Excel data file available to everyone on his site, so I’ll keep my comments focused on the unique challenges we faced when designing the infographic.

The data for this visualization is much different that the readily available Internet stats we see every day.  There is no database to query or reseach data file to purchase.  The exhaustive work Prof. Reeves has done to manually consolidate these confirmed bombing attack reports from U.N. observers, humanitarian aid personnel, radio reports and news reports is a massive, ongoing effort.

Even though the number of attacks in the report was known, most reports had unknown numbers for casualties and the number of bombs used in the attack.  Because of that, the bar chart-style visualization that is the center of the design only shows the number of attacks (a solid number we could work with) and separately shows the average numbers of bombs and casualties from the reports that had that information available.

Data transparency is always important.  As an infographic, the data sources have to be very transparent becuase you want your audience talking about the implications of your information, not challenging your credibility.

Eric Reeves is Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He has spent the past twelve years working full-time as a Sudan researcher and analyst, publishing extensively both in the US and internationally. He has testified several times before the Congress, has lectured widely in academic settings, and has served as a consultant to a number of human rights and humanitarian organizations operating in Sudan.

Due to the nature of this infographic, please keep any comments on the infographic design itself.  Any inflamatory or political comments will be removed based on my judgement.

Wednesday
Feb162011

The Visual History of the Political Parties (infographic posters)

 

Timeplots.com has just released two new posters visualizing the history of the two major American political parties.  Zoomable images of both A Visual History of the Democratic Party and A Visual History of the Republican Party are available so you can see all of the detail online.  

Timeplots is also offering a discount to readers of Cool Infographics!  Enter the Coupon Code “CIG020311” to receive 10% off until 3/31/11!

 

 

Just like the other great posters from Timeplots.com, these are highly-detailed posters, loaded with a huge amount of data.  At its heart, they are timelines that show the overall party strength from 1832 (Democrats) or 1856 (Republicans) to the present.  Along the timeline additional information is included like the names of the national party chairs, Congressional leaders, city where the party convention was held, who were the winning and losing party nominees for President (along with campaign material), election highlights, party events, major legislation, as well as pictures of other party notables.

You get the point that there is a lot of history in there!

It places each party event in historical context, visualizing a remarkable range of party events, legislation, election results, and leadership to succinctly tell the story of the party. Narratives are displayed within the larger context of party strength by aggregating and annotating data on presidential elections, Congress, Governorships and State Legislatures. The Timeplot provides a new lens into American political history; it is not intended to be absorbed at a glance, but rather to be visited and revisited over time.

Posters are 36” x 24” and normal price without the discount is $29.95.

Posters should start shipping by 2/28.  Also, check the Timeplots.com site for student discounts on any of their posters.

Thursday
Jun102010

A Visual History of the American Presidency - new infographic poster

 

Timeplots has released their second infographic poster, A Visual History of the American Presidency.  Timeplots was launched by Nathaniel Pearlman and Frank Hamilton in December 2009 with the release of the Visual History of the Supreme Court infographic poster, which is now hanging in many schools, law practices and political offices.

This large-scale print is like nothing else available on the history of the American presidency. It places each president in historical context, visualizing a remarkable range of political, social, and economic measures to succinctly tell the story of the presidency. Narratives are displayed within the larger context of American political history by aggregating and annotating hard data on population, presidential elections, Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the U.S. economy, and the federal budget and debt. The Timeplot provides a new lens into American political history; it is not intended to be absorbed at a glance, but rather to be visited and revisited over time.

 

 

A beautiful poster, and a very impressive infographic design.  Very Tufte-like in its infographic design, which is no surprise since Nathaniel was a student of Edward Tufte at Yale.  

At its heart, this is a fantastic mix of timelines.  Additionally, the poster is an incredibly detailed infographic that includes things like the time period of each President, the balance of Congress during each term, approval ratings, population growth, the U.S. GDP, the Federal Budget, unemployment, election cartograms and statistics, a biography of each President’s political history and so much more.

 

 

The high-resolution infographic is available on the Timeplots site using Zoomify, but it really shines as the printed poster.  You can order the printed 32”x48” poster from the Timeplots.com site for $45, or a smaller 24”x36” version for $30. 

 

 

Great job to the entire team at Timeplots!  Later today, I’ll post a behind-the-scenes interview with Nathaniel.

Friday
Jan152010

World Progress Report poster - Available for one week ONLY

 

Nathan Yau at FlowingPrints has released a new poster, the World Progress Report.  It’s available for one week ONLY, and then he’s going to release the printer to start printing them up.  Orders will only be taken until January 21st.  Each 24”x30” poster is signed and numbered, and one can be yours for $26 + shipping & handling.

Nathan is doing another great thing.  All proceeds go to UNICEF’s relief effort in Haiti!

One more thing…for the first 50 people who pre-order: a free copy of Atley’s “How America Learns” poster!

 

UNdata provides a catalog of 27 United Nations statistical databases and 60 million records about the past, present, and future state of the world. Topics include demographics, life expectancy, labor levels, poverty, and a lot more. What does all that data mean though? World Progress Report, the latest from FlowingPrints, offers a look into the expansive UN collection.

In whole, the report tells a story of how we live and die, and the stuff in between.

 

Check out some of the great details in the poster:

 

 

Thursday
Jan142010

The British History Visual Timeline


The BBC has put up a great interactive, visual British History Timeline.  Each dot represents a signnificant event.  Clicking a color “era” zooms the timeline to just that time period.

Mousing over the individual dots shows the specific event details and timing.

 

 

You can also select a particular region of the UK, or search for a specific year or keyword.

Wednesday
Jan062010

Chart Wars: The Political Power of Data Visualization

Chart Wars is a great, short (5:15) presentation by Alex Lundry on the political power of data visualization and some of the issues surrounding using charts and infographics to promote a specific agenda.  Inspired title slide too.  Nice job Alex!

TargetPoint’s VP and Director of Research, Alex Lundry, was recently a featured speaker at DC Ignite, an evening of short presentations in which participants are limited to 5 minutes and precisely 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds.

 

Thanks to Dave Gray for tweeting a link!

Thursday
Dec102009

The Carbon Economy - Infographic Video

New infographic video from Xplane.com.  The Carbon Economy takes a look at the political landscape around climate issues and new, green markets are emerging.

Created with The Economist, the video conveys the state of global climate change and what steps must be taken to reach a positive outcome. The piece was shown at The Economist’s recent Carbon Economy Summit in November 2009.
Timed with the publication of a special report in The Economist, The Carbon Economy summit examines how the political environment has changed since Kyoto and how committed regions and industries are to a sustainable carbon strategy.