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

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

DFW DataViz Meetup
NEXT EVENT: July 30, 2015

Join the DFW Data Visualization and Infogrphics Meetup Group if you're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!

Search the Cool Infographics site

Custom Search

Strata Conference Discount Code
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 science (19)

Tuesday
Jan202015

The Key to Infographic Marketing: The Psychology of the Picture Superiority Effect

In Ancient times, Cicero considered memory training to not just be a method, but a form of art. He felt strongly that training your memory was one of the most valuable things you could do to improve your capabilities as a speaker, and a citizen.  Even in ancient times, Cicero knew that remembering images was superior to remembering text alone.

People remember pictures better than words, especially over longer periods of time. This phenomenon as we know it today, is called the Picture Superiority Effect*. It refers to the notion that concepts that are learned by viewing pictures are more easily and frequently recalled than are concepts that are learned by reading their written word form counterparts.

What had been known to the Ancients throughout the centuries, has been quantified scientifically in our modern times. In my book, I included this quote from John Medina’s Brain Rules, to help explain the value of the Picture Superiority Effect. However, to make it visual I created this simple data visualization to help readers remember the power of visual information.

“Based on research into the Picture Superiority Effect, when we read text alone, we are likely to remember only 10 percent of the information 3 days later. If that information is presented to us as text combined with a relevant image, we are likely to remember 65 percent of the information 3 days later.” - John Medina, Brain Rules, 2008

Cool Infographics Picture Superiority Effect

via: coolinfographics.com/book

Advertisers have known this for years. Whether it’s been a simple application like the Yellow Pages (ads with pictures got more business) or giant billboards in New York’s Times Square. To see a real world example of how the Picture Superiority Effect works, check out this excellent coverage area map ad campaign from Verizon:

Verizon Coverage Map Infographic Ad

These maps show Verizon’s 4G LTE network coverage area, compared to the coverage area of their competitors. If you were only to get the text version, imagine how much of this paragraph explaining their coverage area you would remember 3 days after reading it:

“Among the four major wireless carriers, only Verizon’s 4G network is 100% 4G LTE the gold standard of wireless technology. Available in over 500 cities, Verizon 4G LTE covers almost 97% of the U.S. population. Experience the speed and power in more places.”

Now, take a look at the maps again. How much easier it is to see how the four major wireless carriers stack up against each other? It’s obvious Verizon covers the most area. Verizon takes it a step further, and has a link to a PDF highlighting their coverage in Alaska and an interactive map to view different parts of the country. All complete with map visualizations, of course.

However, there is another very important aspect of the Picture Superiority Effect that must be understood: It’s not just any image. It needs to be an image relevant to the content, which reinforces the message from your data. This works across all mediums of advertising, and of course, infographics.

In infographic design, the Picture Superiority Effect is extended to include charts, graphs, and data visualizations. Infographic designers use data visualizations and illustrations as the visual component of a design to trigger the Picture Superiority Effect, which can have incredible success getting the audience to remember the information presented.

Here is an great example from Dan Roam, author of the book, The Back of the Napkin, Solving Problems and Selling Ideas With Pictures, of how using images and text can help a designer understand which type of visualization is appropriate to use when communicating different types of information. Easy to understand, easy to remember.

Dan Roam Back of the Napkin <6><6> Rule

via: DanRoam.com

Infographics work so well because using text and images together helps people to retain the information. Remember, if it’s just words, people will only remember 10% of the information they read. But, if you combine the text with a relevant image, they are likely remember 65% of the information! While others may choose to work harder by crafting a perfectly written article or advertisement, it would be a smarter choice to use text and relevant images together.

Remember to “Make It Visual” if you want your audience to remember the information about your company’s products or services. You don’t have to be a professional designer either. You can make your content visual using a wide range of tools like the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Microsoft PowerPoint, OmniGraffle, or online design tools like Visme.co or Tableau Public.

 

Sources:
*Nelson, D.L., Reed, U.S., & Walling, J.R. (1976). Pictorial superiority effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory, 2, 523-528.
Monday
Jan192015

The Future of Rare Earth Elements

Rare Earth Elements infographic

Rare Earth Elements make up a large portion of our high tech equipment and the demand for the elements is only increasing. This infographic, published by Buy Metal Online, has that examines the situation and the troubling shortages in our future.

Here we have an infographic that takes a look at rare earth elements (REE) including information about what they are, what we use them for, who’s producing the World’s REEs and more.

Good topic with clear visualizations and attractive illustrations.  They have a lot of valuable information packed into this design. However, in my opinion, there’s way too much text included, with multiple paragraphs explaining each section. In my experience, if readers see this much text in an infographic, they are likely to perceive it as too complicated and detailed. They’ll probably move on without ever reading it. Infographics are supposed to be simple explanations that are quick and easy to understand.

Thanks to Dave for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Dec232014

The Shapes of Snowflakes

The Shapes of Snowflakes infographic

The Shapes of Snowflakes is a fascinating categorization of crystal structures from Compound Interest, a chemistry site run by Andy Brunning in the UK. The site has a huge selection of chemistry and science related infographics.

In the Northern Hemisphere at least, the idealised vision of Christmas involves snow. Whilst no one snowflake is exactly the same as another, at least on a molecular level, scientists have none-the-less devised a system of classification for the many types of crystals that snow can form. This graphic shows the shapes and names of some of the groups of this classification.

The number of categories snow crystals can be categorised into has been steadily increasing over the years. In early studies in the 1930s, they were classified into 21 different shape-based categories; in the 1950s, this was expanded into 42 categories, in the 1960s to 80 categories, and most recently in 2013 to a staggering 121 categories.

Science meets Christmas!

You can also download a high-resolution PDF version.

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
Jun302014

The Periodic Table of Fictional Minerals

The Periodic Table of Fictional Minerals infographic

Periodic tables are always helpful whether your in chemistry class, or reading an infographic that uses the idea! The Periodic Table of Fictional Minerals infographic from Buy Metal Online is about the many different fictional materials made up for tv shows, animated series, games, comic books, films, and literature.

This infographic we have made is a periodic table of metals, minerals and other elements that don’t exist, except in popular culture (notably films, TV shows, animated series, games, comic books and literature). The table is a fun play on the real-life periodic table and demonstrates just how many fictional elements there are.

Infographic images need to be able to be shared on their own, so the design should include the publisher’s logo, a copyright and the uRL to the original infographic landing page.

Thanks to David for sending in the link! 

Thursday
Jun122014

The Evolution of Life Poster

The Evolution & Classification of Life poster

This beautiful “tree of life” poster does two things at once:

First, it shows how over 250 common plants, animals, and microbes are classified by biologists into domains, kingdoms, phyla, orders, families, and genera.

Second, it shows where each group fits into the evolutionary history of life according to the most up-to-date genetic research.

It also includes several extinct groups, featuring artwork by paleo-artists John Gurche and Nobu Tamura.

 

A “Tree of Life” in a 24” X 36” poster form, The Evolution & Classification of Life poster was designed by Matt Baker from Useful Charts, and and can be purchased on Amazon for $24.95.

There is good use of color to help organize the tree and allow the reader to understand the major section breaks.  Having the pictures of the animals as the main focus of the tree, rather than their names keeps the poster clean and not too cluttered.

Great job Matt!

Friday
May092014

Comics That Ask "What If?"

Randall Monroe, author of my favorite web comic XKCD, gave a great TEDTalk about answering science and math questions with his comics.  One of the best parts of this video, and the web comic series in general, is that he uses hand-drawn data visualizations and illustrations to answer them, which makes them easier to understand.

Web cartoonist Randall Munroe answers simple what-if questions (“what if you hit a baseball moving at the speed of light?”) using math, physics, logic and deadpan humor. In this charming talk, a reader’s question about Google’s data warehouse leads Munroe down a circuitous path to a hilariously over-detailed answer — in which, shhh, you might actually learn something.

Pre-order or watch for his new book, “What If?” to be released in September 2014!

Friday
May242013

How Many Alien Civilizations are there in the Galaxy?

How May Alien Civilizations are There in the Galaxy? infographic

Very cool!  The How Many Alien Civilizations are there in the Galaxy? infographic from BBC was designed by Information is Beautiful to illustrate the Drake equation. The Drake equation is an equation used to calculate how many potential aliens may exist in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Today, we live in an age of exploration, where robots on Mars and planet-hunting telescopes are beginning to allow us to edge closer to an answer.

While we wait to establish contact, one technique we can use back on Earth is an equation that American astronomer Frank Drake formulated in the 1960s to calculate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations may exist in the Milky Way galaxy.

It is not a rigorous equation, offering a wide range of possible answers. Instead it is more a tool used to help understand how many worlds might be out there and how those estimates change as missions like Kepler, a telescope that is currently searching for Earth-like planets, begin to discover more about our universe.

Until ground-based observations, space telescopes and planet-roving robots uncover any tell-tale signs of life, what better way to speculate on how many intelligent alien civilizations may exist than to explore the universe with our interactive version of the equation.

It’s actually an interactive infographic because it let’s the user change the assumptions and recalculate the results.  So if you only believe there is a 50% chance of plant life developing, change the assumption value and recalculate.

Found on FastCo Design.

Tuesday
May212013

DNA Explained

BBC Knowledge Explainer DNA from Territory on Vimeo.

 

An animated visual explanation of DNA found on creativeblog.com.

BBC Knowledge and Learning is exploring a wide variety of topics from social history to science in a series of three-minute online Explainer documentaries, and commissioned Territory Studio (territorystudio.com) to produce an animated film on the subject of DNA.

Three minutes is a short time to explore a subject where most doctorates only scratch the surface, so writer Andrew S. Walsh teamed up with molecular biologist Dr Matthew Adams to distil the script down to the most fundamental elements required to understand not only DNA’s form and function but how our understanding of these discoveries has affected the wider world. While this length may feel restrictive, the team found that this limitation acted as a lens, focusing the piece on the essentials.

The Explainer series is designed to intrigue and inform, encouraging those who discover the documentaries to further explore through links to additional information found on the BBC website.

Thanks to Jordan from sayitvisually.com for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Nov272012

Sheldon's T-Shirts of The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon's T-Shirts of The Big Bang Theory infographic

If you have seen the comedy show The Big Bang Theory, then you know Sheldon…. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it and get back to us.  Have you ever noticed his wardrobe?  The Sheldon’s T-Shirts infographic from fibers.com tells you his favorite shirts, how often he wears his shirts, and even what colors he wears the most! 

Graphs, Charts and illustrated T-Shirts with correlating sizes to wearing frequency - would there be any other way to visualize Sheldon Cooper’s t-shirt collection from The Big Bang Theory? We think not.

Big thanks to Sheldon’s Shirts where we got most of the data for this graphic. You can find a lot of Sheldon’s Shirts for purchase on the following websites:

This is just a fun infographic that uses some data visualization to appeal to fans of the show.  Good design using publicly available data that has been complied in an engaging way.

The charts actually very well done.  Charts are color-coded to match the data.  Icons are included on the bars or in the pie slices, so no chart legends are needed.  This makes the data faster and easier to understand.

Found on Fibers.com