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 poster (116)

Wednesday
Apr282010

Jess Bachman Interview (Death & Taxes 2011 Poster Giveaway!!)  #deathandtaxes

Last week, Jess Bachman (@mibi) from WallStats.com released the new 2011 Death & Taxes poster.  I caught up with Jess (by email) to ask some questions about his huge infographic undertaking.  The high-resolution image of the poster is available now online, and the printed version will start shipping on May 7th.  You can pre-order for $24, and the shipping cost is only $0.75 TODAY (April 28th)

WIN a copy of the poster!  Jess has been kind enough to offer a free poster to a reader of Cool Infographics.  To be eligible, you must tweet (or retweet) a link to this post on Twitter before May 7th, and include the #deathandtaxes hashtag.  I included the hashtag in the post title, so any retweets will be automatically eligible.  NOTE: you must also be following me on Twitter (@rtkrum) so that I can send you a DM if you have won!

Death and Taxes” is a large representational graph and poster of the federal budget. It contains over 500 programs and departments and almost every program that receives over 200 million dollars annually. The data is straight from the president’s 2011 budget request and will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress to begin the fiscal year. All of the item circles are proportional in size to their funding levels for visual comparison and the percentage change from both 2010 and 2001 is included so you can spot trends.

The detail in this poster is stunning, and in this small shot you can see how the total budget request breaks out. Only the “Military/Nat. Security Discretionary” and “Non-Military/Nat. Security Discretionary” portions of the budget request details are displayed in the poster.

 

Jess was also nice enough to answer a few interview questions I sent him:

Cool Infographics: What software applications do you use for the Death & Taxes posters?

Jess Bachman: The only applications I use are Photoshop and Excel.  Excel is where I in put all the data and it crunches the numbers, adjusts for inflation and calculates diameters.  Photoshop is where I put it all together and the PSD file occasionally exceeds 1 gig so it can be a beast to work with.  Saving takes about 5 minutes.

Cool Infographics: What’s your design process?

Jess Bachman: Normally I start from scratch and layout the images and make them fit; however, this year the budget didn’t change all that much, likely being from the same President, so I was able to keep the 2010 format and change the size of circles.  Of course some things had to be added and removed.  So this year I saved myself about 3 weeks of work just getting right into it, but the design process is grueling.  it’s small tasks, repeated 500 times.

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

Jess Bachman: I can definitely see the differences in Presidents from Bush to Obama.  Lots of reductions on the military side this year and the whole security climate as a whole isn’t as fiscally robust as it was a few years ago.  Much more progressive funding with Obama too.  Every year Bush would cut climate change research, now its back, along with other green tech.  For some reason, public proadcasting gets the hack saw every year no matter who’s in office.

Cool Infographics: Where are some of your favorite places that have the Death & Taxes poster on display?

Jess Bachman: Well it’s always good to see it on display in schools and classrooms.  But I really enjoy hearing from military members who have in their offices or even in station.  I have sent several to Afghanistan.  Critics often say the poster is anti-military, but the military is quite receptive to it, even the former Dept. of Defense Comptroller, Tina Jonas, loved the poster.  Some people from the Dept of Energy’s Oak Ridge Lab displayed the poster on their 30’ Everest computer screen… that was cool too.

Cool Infographics: What’s the hardest part when developing the poster?

Jess Bachman: The hardest part is just getting through all the rote data processing and mindless photoshopping.  The research side is quite fun, and going through the military budgets is a trip with all their classified and hi-tech programs. However, copying and pasting 5,000 times really takes a toll on my creativity and motivation.

Cool Infographics: You said you do a lot of copy & paste work, in what format do you get the data?

Jess Bachman: Some of the government data is in Excel already, but there is no context so I am dubious about working solely with their data sets.  Mostly I pull the numbers from the actual printed budget, which is in PDF form.  So I end up copying and pasting the program name and its funding level for 3 years into Excel, then I copy and paste the program name, funding level, and percentages back into photoshop as a text layer.  Rinse and repeat 500 times.  Many people ask if there was an automated way to create the poster each year and I wish there was, but the confines of the paper make size and fit a manual process.

Cool Infographics: Where do you have them printed, what are the printing specs and why?

Jess Bachman: I get my posters printed from a company called PrintPelican in Florida.  There really are no cheaper prices out there but I opt for a thicker cut of paper than usual.  I get 100# gloss cover which is a few shades from a business card in thickness.  To be honest, they have screwed up my order a few times over the years but we have always managed to work it out.  I usually print runs of 1000-2500 and always 24” x 36”.

Cool Infographics: How do you handle all of the printing and shipping of the posters?  Do you tube them yourself?

Jess Bachman: I used to do it all myself.  I had a 400lb brick of posters next to my bed, and 12 giant boxes of tubes all over the house, and I would roll pack and ship them all.  Now I use two shippers who do fulfillment of the orders for me.  For a while I would send them the orders and addresses weekly but I have offloaded that duty as well.  I think the self shipping method is a good lesson in customer service and its good to know your product inside and out, but after while my time became more valuable than stuffing tubes could afford.

Cool Infographics: You’ve used a few different online zoomable image services in the last few years, what have you learned?

Jess Bachman: There are lots of zooming options out there and new ones seem to pop up all the time.   I used Zoomify until it felt too clunky and slow, then Zoomorama which I really loved for its performance and options.  This year I experimented with an self hosted open source app called Open Zoom and it certainly was a slick and great user experience, unfortunately the demands it placed on my server from huge inflows of traffic proved too much, taking down the whole site.  So I had to switch to my backup, which was Closr.it, and let them deal with server demands.  Closr.it has been very attentive to my needs and I have found that most developers will work with me to tailor a custom solution if I ask.  The zooming apps keep getting better so I expect to keep changing apps as long as the space keeps innovating.

Cool Infographics: You mentioned the 30’ display, have you printed it out in larger sizes?

Jess Bachman: No, I have not printed it out any larger.  The file being Photoshop, and the images being mostly rastered do not allow quality printing beyond the poster size.  The file is 300 dpi so I could get away with a slightly larger size, but oversize printing is expensive and who wants a poster that big anyways. 

Cool Infographics: Where do the images come from?

Jess Bachman: Most of the military images come from defenseLINK, which is a great repository for hi-res military photos.  Other images come from stock photography sites for the most part.  It does help that most government logos are round.  I suppose it’s just an old school way of doing things, government seals and all.  The design aesthetic amongst government logos is really all over the map though, and its quite interesting.  Some look like that are from the 1700’s, and some from the 2700’s.

 There was one correction to the online version that Jess has posted:

So I totally had the wrong data for NASA on the visual. Here is the corrected image, which reflects what you have been reading in the news. Science up, space down. I fixed it before it was printed, don’t worry.

You can view the image, buy the poster and more at the new site DeathandTaxesPoster.com.

SPECIAL: If you pre-order the poster TODAY (April 28th) shipping is only $0.75!

Monday
Feb152010

My Digital Life 2.0: A Consumer Gadget Map

Presenting My Digital Life 2.0!  I’ve significantly updated the My Digital Life infographic I designed last year.  In addition to including many more gadgets and accessories in the graphic, I changed the connection lines to indicate either a constant or occasional connection.  The line arrows also indicate the direction of information flow (sometimes one-way, sometimes both ways).  You can see the high-resolution images on Flickr by clicking on the images.

 

 

The infographic highlights many of the decisions a consumer has to make with each new gadget they buy.

  • What kind of batteries should I use?
  • How much and what kind of memory will I need?
  • How do I connect to my existing gadgets and computers?
  • How will it work in my car?
  • Do I have an available connection?
  • Where can I add a new gadget (like a new hard drive)?

For the purpose of Product Development and Marketing, this is a fantastic way to map out the experiences a consumer faces and how new products will fit into their life.  For example, if you were at a company designing a new consumer electronic gadget how would your product fit into your target consumer’s life?  What decisions would they have to make about your product?  Is it easy for them to understand if your new product will work with their existing setup?

Even if you’re only a headphone manufacturer, it’s incredibly important to understand the whole consumer experience.

 

 

You’ll notice that the map began to form natural groupings that I call experience zones.  Here’s a modified version that highlights six specific areas of experience: video, audio, phone, photos, computing and mobile.  From an average consumer perspective, I know I’m missing two potential additional areas: Gaming and Reading.  I don’t own a gaming console (Xbox or Wii) and I don’t own an e-reader (Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader).

Since I’m a technology geek, I already understand how all of these connections work…in my head.  I’m the one who set them up and I use them every day.  However, imagine your parents or grandparents trying to understand all of these connections, and that doesn’t include the software communication between many of these gadgets.

I’ve added a few new types of connections, and included the different line types in the legend.  I also took a few liberties with the connection types.  “Snap Together” indicates any type of physical connection, like the Ear Jams snapping onto my Apple Earbuds and also the iPhone snapping into the car mount.  I left the camera memory cards as USB connections without getting into any more detail of the inner connections in the cameras.  The legend is not truly necessary because in true Tufte form, I included the connection icons in each of the connection lines, but I decided to leave the legend in to identify any icons that people aren’t familiar with.

The biggest challenge in designing the infographic, was arranging everything so that none of the lines crossed.  To make this happen, I ultimately had to skip a couple connections.  I have used the Etymotics earbuds with the MacBook occasionally, but that connection line would have been horribly ugly, crossing the entire graphic.

Monday
Jan252010

Photos of The Caffeine Poster


I tried out the poster printing service from PosterBrain.com last week and printed out a couple copies of The Caffeine Poster.  I’ve never posted the full, high-resolution image online, but I used it with PosterBrain to print it out fullsize 24” x 36”. (Apologies for my not-quite-professional photos)

 

The poster is gorgeous!  I’m so impressed by the PosterBrain service, and the quality of their prints.

 

You really should try their service.  I uploaded the file on Sunday, and paid only $24.99 each to have them printed with free shipping.  I received the posters on Friday by standard USPS mail.  They were beautifully packaged with sheets of tissue separating the posters.

 

 

Monday
Jan252010

Making-Of The Caffeine Poster - Part 3

 

How did you pick which drinks to include?

The original spreadsheet with the caffeine calculations had about 100 drinks on it, but that made the image WAY too crowded.  Looking back, I could have made the images smaller to fit more drinks onto the poster, so maybe the next version will have more.

For the coffee side, I picked some of the most widely available coffee shops, and I also only picked one drink from each.  Starbucks alone had 20-30 different drinks I could have listed.

For the drinks side, I picked the drinks that were most widely available at the grocery stores in the DFW area.  It may be different regionally, but the local region was all I had to work with.

 

Dude, where’s the TEA?!?

I posted this in the comments, but I know I left tea out of the graphic (along with thousands of other drinks). It was actually hard to cull down the wide assortment of drinks down to only the ones I included. Not a tea drinker myself, tea didn’t make the cut (Kevin Rose would be disappointed, I know).  It’s very crowded in the under 100mg space, so tea didn’t make the cut.  Based on the feedback I got, I’ll include it if a next versions happens.

FWIW, tea averages between 40-70mg of caffeine in each 8oz cup

 

Can I buy a copy of The Caffeine Poster?

I haven’t setup the poster for sale, but I did keep the high-resolution images offline so I could make it available if there was interest.  The images on Flickr are certainly high-resolution enough to read the details, but they won’t print very nicely as a 24” x 36” poster.  So far, I haven’t heard from many people who wanted to buy a copy.

I also got some feedback that The Caffeine Poster makes a good infographic, but maybe not a great poster.  To be a great poster, it probably need more details and other additional information to make the viewer curious to step closer and read more.

However, I did have a few copies printed for myself…of course.

 

Will there be a next version?

Probably.  I’ve got some other projects in the works, so there’s no telling how long it will take.  You suggestions on what to change or add are very welcome.

 

 

The is the end of the Making-Of posts.  I got so many questions about the behind-the-scenes stuff that I moved all of The Caffeine Poster posts together on a separate page.  Check out the Caffeine Poster link at the top of the page.

Tuesday
Jan192010

6 Twitter Topic Visualizations for "Caffeine Poster"

The Caffeine Poster got a huge amount of traffic, specifically on Twitter, so I thought this would be a good chance to share a collection of the available, interactive twitter visualizations.  Although there are many visuals that show a Twitter user’s network of connections, these are visualizations that show conversations based on the search topic “caffeine poster” on Twitter.

SocialCollider.net, by Karsten Schmidt and Sascha Pohflepp, maps the connections within a conversation starting with a Twitter stream or search topic.

This experiment explores these possibilities by starting with messages on the microblogging-platform Twitter. One can search for usernames or topics, which are tracked through time and visualized much like the way a particle collider draws pictures of subatomic matter. Posts that didn’t resonate with anyone just connect to the next item in the stream. The ones that did, however, spin off and horizontally link to users or topics who relate to them, either directly or in terms of their content.

 

The Twitter Streamgraph from Jeff Clark at Neoformix.

The StreamGraph shows the usage over time for the words most highly associated with the search word. One of these series together with a time period are in a selected state and coloured red. The tweets that contain this word in the given time period are shown below the graph. You can click on another word series or time period to see different matches. In the match list you click on any word to create a different graph with tweets containing that word. You can also click on the user or comment icons and any URL to see the appropriate content in another window. If you see a large spike in one time period that hides the detail in all the other periods it will be useful to click in the area to the left of the y-axis in order to change the vertical scale.

 

Cloud.li, by Elbert F, creates a word cloud based on your search terms.

 

 

 

Trendistic will plot the tweet volume on a timeline based on your search terms.  You can click anywhere on the timeline to see the specific tweets for that time too.

Trendistic is a tool that allows you to track trends on Twitter, similarly to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into one-hour intervals.

This way, it shows how the frequency of one, two, three and four-word phrases fluctuate over time. The result is a visualization of what is popular and what is not among Twitter users, and how certain events are reflected or even predicted by themicroblogosphere.

You can enter a phrase (topic) in the 
Trendistic search box to see how its frequency varies over time, or several different topics separated by commas to see how they relate (each topic will show in the chart with a specific color): try comparing ‘dinner’ and ‘breakfast’ or ‘morning’ and ‘night’ for instance, to see how powerful it can be. 

 

 

TwitterFall shows you the tweets based on your search term, and presents them as an animated waterfall.

Twitterfall is a way of viewing the latest ‘tweets’ of upcoming trends and custom searches on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Updates fall from the top of the page in near-realtime.

For popular trends, Twitter is queried from the Twitterfall server, and results arepushed to your browser, rather than your browser doing the queries, or your computerpolling our server repeatedly. This means using Twitterfall for popular trends is nicer on Twitter than other services.

 

 

 TwitRadar.com will map out a search term, a user or a hastag into a handful of different visuals.

Google Translated from Portuguese: The TwitRadar is a tool for monitoring Twitter. With TwitRadar you can track, monitor and share real-time, the subject you want. Just type the tag you want to track, the TwitRadar show, very simple and intuitive, all that is written about it on Twitter. And not to be confused with the volume of information tracked, the TwitRadar organizes the results according to the criteria that you want.

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:

 

 

Friday
Jan152010

Making-Of The Caffeine Poster - Part 1

As much as I love infographics, I’m not a graphic designer.  I’ve created a number of graphics for my corporate jobs, but they always deal with confidential information so I can’t share those on the blog.  Up until now, all of the graphics I’ve posted about on Cool Infographics are the work of great designers around the world.  Recently, I decided to try my hand at creating one of my own to share with everyone.

If you follow me on Twitter (@rtkrum), you may have read that I started on this back in June 2009.  I haven’t had much time to spend on it, so it definitely took longer than I originally thought.  I want to share some of the decisions and solutions I came across during the process, and maybe it will help anyone reading this when they work on their own infographics.

You may say, “This is such a simple graphic, why did it take 6 months?  It looks like it should be pretty easy.”  First, I would say that I wasn’t working on it full time, but I think the exercise also highlights how much work really goes into infographic designs.  It’s not a new sentiment, but let me say that designers don’t get enough credit.

 

What should the infographic be about?

Of course the first question I had to tackle was what should I create an infographic about?  I wanted to find something that had a lot of publicly available data, but also a topic that hadn’t already been covered by a bunch of other graphics.  A topic of interest to a lot of people, so the audience for the infographic would also be large.  I liked the idea of caffeine content because although the data is available online, it’s not included on the government regulated Nutrition Facts on drinks.  Very few companies add it voluntarily, but for the most part you have to go find the data on your own.

Also, the data available online was predominantly text figures, so you have to scroll through pages of information to find the drink you’re looking for.  This combination of hard to find data, and hard to decipher once you find it made for a good topic.

 

How to calculate the data?

I created a simple spreadsheet to massage the data, and there were two ways I could have calculated the caffeine content.  Either total caffeine content (mg), or caffeine concentration (mg/oz).  Although caffeine concentration would be a good common denominator to compare drinks, it doesn’t capture how much you consumer when you actually purchase a drink.  Most of these drinks don’t come from a dispenser where you could choose how much you wanted to drink.

For example, the Starbucks Doubleshot is a very high concentration (20 mg/oz), but it comes in a 6.5oz can.  Therefore you only get 130mg of caffeine when you drink a can.  Compare that to a McDonald’s Large Coffee that has a lower concentration (9 mg/oz), but comes in a 16oz cup for a total of 145 mg.

Ultimately, I decided to visualize the consumer friendly version that would should how much you get when you make a purchase decision, and went with the total caffeine content.

 

What type of visual should I use?

The scale was the obvious choice to show the relative content of the drinks.  Back in June, I started with a very simple sketch in my Moleskine.

 

Because there are so many drinks in the lower half, my original design thought had a closeup of the 0-100mg range.  Here’s an early working version:

I didn’t like how this looked, or how much dead space in the post this would create.  So ultimately I ended up significantly cutting down the number of drinks I could include, and moving the scale to the center so I could include drinks on both sides.

You’ll also notice how muddy brown the yellow in the middle of the scale looks in these old images.  I later figured out how to do a 3-color blend instead of just a 2-color blend from red to green.

 

What software did I use to create the poster?

This is easily the most asked question I hear about any infographic.  I use a Mac, and really only used a small number of applications.  Here’s a list of the software packages I used:

  • OmniGraffle Pro 4.2.3 - Overall layout and creation of the final image
  • Pixelmator 1.5 - Image editing
  • Keynote 5.0.3 - Used for image editing and alpha masks
  • Numbers 2.0.3 - For the data calculations

 I will add that one of my best friends is an art director, and she helped clean up a few of the photos using Photoshop and Illustrator.  A huge “Thank You” to Steffani for her help.

 

More to come…

Making-Of The Caffeine Poster - Part 2

Tuesday
Jan122010

Bronson Wins Infographic Poster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats to Bronson Harrington (@Gnuboss on Twitter)!  Bronson won a free poster of his choice from Infojocks.com by retweeting about the infographic contest we announced in December.  By including the #BCSvisual hashtag, Bronson was then randomly selected to receive the free poster.

The contest wraps up next week, so look here for all of the entries and the winner.

Thanks to everyone for helping to spread the word!

Monday
Dec212009

Infographic Posters for Data Lovers

Both Infosthetics.com and Datavisualization.ch have posted great stories about what to give the data lover in your life for Christmas.  From books to posters to software to conferences.  Please visit those sites to get the whole list of ideas, but here I'd like to present a few of my favorite posters made by the friends of Cool Infographics.  Just click on the images to be taken to somewhere you can purchase these.

Posters:


The History of the Supreme Court of the United States
from Nathaniel and Frank at TimePlots.com



Death & Taxes
from Jess at WallStats.com



Two posters: "Cities of Champions" and "The Taxonomy of Team Names"
from Jeremy at InfoJocks.com



Web Trend Map 4



The Conversation Prism 2.0
from Brian Solis and Jesse (Jess3) at theconversationprism.com

Thursday
Dec172009

The Simpsons 20th: Comedy [Family] Tree



The Simpsons celebrate their 20th anniversary this week on Thursday, and CNN Entertainment published this chart "The Simpsons Comedy Tree" on Monday.  A combination Nightingale Rose Graph (also called a polar area diagram), family tree and timeline, this simple chart connects the influences that impacted Matt Groening and the creators of the Simpsons as well as the shows that came after.
"The Simpsons" stands on the comedic shoulders of many that came before -- and has influenced countless works that have arrived since. Here are just a few of the roots of the "Simpsons" comedy tree and the branches of those it gave life to. (The following, illustrated by the doughnut at the top of the story, is by no means complete, and each member has its own, sometimes overlapping influences.) 
Thanks to Tony Hendra's "Going Too Far" for inspiration and cartoonist Art Spiegelman for having his fingerprints all over the place.
The article also includes descriptions of the actual influence for each of these shows.

Thanks for the link Matt!

Also:



For those Simpsons fans of you, here is also the poster created exclusively for Entertainment Weekly celebrating the release of the 20th season DVD set on Jan 12.  Dude, make sure to go look at the large, scrollable version.