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:

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Entries in Visualization (33)

Tuesday
Sep162014

Beer Colors

Beer Colors Cans Visualization Infographic

Beer colors is a fun design idea that combines packaging design with beer label design, these beer label designs imitate Pantone® color chips.  Maybe more of a data visualization of colors than a true infographic, but I love it!

Concept and design based on the color of the beer. Each type of beer is associated with its corresponding Pantone color. The typeface chosen is HipstelveticaFontFamily in its bold version by José Gomes, thanks for sharing.

Designed by Spanish creative agency Txaber, this series of beer packaging labels show each brew type represented by its corresponding official color. 

Beer Colors Bottles Visualization Infographic

Found on creativebloq and BoingBoing

 

Thursday
Sep042014

Abby & Chris: Wedding Invitation

Abby & Chris: Wedding invitation

Another fun way to spruce up your life with visuals! The Abby & Chris Wedding invitation from Abby Ryan Design takes an ordinary wedding invitation, and makes it extraordinary with data v visualization Fun idea! Maybe try it out for your next party?!

Abby & Chris: Wedding invitation

This illustrative wedding package was designed to reflect the playfulness of Abby and Chris’s food truck wedding. First, a 18 x 24 screen printed wedding infographic that works as an invitation, program and menu. The poster was designed with the rehearsal dinner invitation as the bottom section so it could be removed for guests only coming to the wedding. Next, the save the date card, which focuses on important events in Abby and Chris’s relationship with the final date being their wedding. A wedding website was also created to keep their guests informed.

This is fun and original. A keepsake for all the guests! It also gives a lot more useful information than most wedding invitations!

Thanks to Abby for sending in the link!

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.


 

Tuesday
Aug192014

Voice of the Photographer: Photographers Actively Engaged in Growing Skills

Voice of the Photographer: Photographers Actively Engaged in Growing Skills infographic

The field of Photography evolves quickly due to advances in technology. Eyefi has uncovered the latest trends in the field and have organized them into the Voice of the Photographer: Photographers Actively Engaged in Growing Skills infographic.

There’s just no arguing that today’s most prominent photographers are evolving at the speed of technology. Those that remain relevant do so by merging their visual talents with the latest advances, like WiFi SD cards, cloud storage, and new ways of lighting and photo manipulation.

Photographers at the top of their game must maintain a staunch dedication to continuous improvement as well. Thankfully, the web provides a bevy of opportunities to hone their craft, from top-ranking bloggers to photography-focused online magazines.

To find out exactly how and where today’s best photographers are expanding their knowledge base, Eyefi.com, creators of innovative WiFi cards, apps, and cloud services, in partnership with influencer marketing agency Evolve!, reached out to their accomplished user base with a myriad of relevant questions. The results showcase where the most influential photographers online are spending their time, money, and efforts to advance their abilities. Some are professionals, while others are hobbyists; but all these folks know how to move us with their visual storytelling skills. Check out the fascinating infographic below to learn more about the photography world’s current ever-evolving habits and trends.

I love seeing all of this survey research data shown in a visual, infographic form.  It’s so much more engaging and easier for the audience to understand.

When visualizing data with grids of icons, rows with 10 icons across are the easiest for your readers to understand.  This design includes some odd row quantities like 12, 13 and 20 icons across, which are not intuitive to the audience.  Our number system is Base-10, and icons shown in groups of 10 are the easiest to comprehend.

Thanks to Katie for sending in the link!

Thursday
Aug142014

Coolness Graphed

Coolness Graphed

 

Coolness Graphed

Coolness Graphed.com has a collection of bar graphs that describes when certain actions are deemed “cool” or “uncool”. The three shown here are just a few examples from the website.

Coolness Graphed.com brings normal events together with a humorous flare by rating them in a “cool”/”uncool” bar graph. The bar graph works well with the events as a visual ranking system. No real values are needed.  Data visualization used brilliantly!  It only takes seconds for the audience to understand each one, and they are highly sharable in social media.

The site has been running for more than two years now, and keeps getting funnier!  Thanks to Jones for sending in the link!

Now also available in a book!

Tuesday
Aug122014

The Vizzies Challenge

The Vizzies Challenge

A partnership between Popular Science and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have started a new data visualization contest for 2014 called The Vizzies Challenge.  They are accepting entries up until September 30, 2014.

Here at Popular Science, we’re big fans of visualizations—those often beautiful and always illuminating intersections of science and art. So we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with the National Science Foundation called The Vizzies.

Do you love animating data, creating science apps, or taking macrophotographs? In the 2014 Visualization Challenge, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Popular Science, your handiwork can receive its due glory and win you cash prizes.

The Vizzies is the newest iteration of the NSF’s annual International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, which has honored some amazing stuff in the past. They’ve hosted the contest for more than a decade, and this year we’ve joined forces with them so that you, dear reader, will have the opportunity to enter. Macrophotography, animations, data visualizations, even science games—we want them all! A panel of experts will judge the entries, and the winners in each of five categories will be featured in the pages of Popular Science (oh, and you’ll also get cash).

Visualization Challenge participants can submit their entries in one or more of five categories: Photography, Video, Illustration, Posters & Graphics and Games & Apps. The Experts’ Choice winner in each category will be awarded $2,500, and a People’s Choice prize of $1,000 goes to the best overall entry.

If you are designing data visualzations or using visuals to communicate any scientific research, they want you to enter your designs into the challenge.  The visuals can be videos, photos, games, apps or graphics.

Thanks to  for posting about the challenge in the Visual Thinking group on Linkedin!

Tuesday
Jun242014

HelpMeViz: DataViz Community Feedback for Your Charts

HelpMeViz: DataViz Community Feedback for Your Charts

Have you ever struggled with which type of chart to use in your presentation? Or how to get Excel to display the chart the way you want it to appear?  Or don’t know what software will create the data visualization you would like to use?

Jon Schwabish is a data visualization specialist, and in 2013 he launched a new website to help everyone become better at data visualization called HelpMeViz.  The HelpMeViz site invites you to submit your data visualization projects to get feedback from the community.  The community is encouraged to offer suggestions, critiques and debate ideas about chart formats, software tricks, visual applications and visualization methods that can be valuable feedback to make your data more understandable and impactful.

 

The data visualization community consists of people who use data and design to tackle a variety of issues and challenges. Outside of a few specific blogs and tutorials however, there isn’t a place where that community can provide in-depth comments and criticism on data visualization projects. This site is designed to facilitate discussion, debate, and collaboration from the data visualization community.

The site is open to anyone who is searching for feedback on their visualization designs, from seasoned designers and data visualization specialists to individual analysts searching to improve their graphic displays. All types of visualizations are welcome: simple, single line or bar charts to full-blown infographics to interactive visualizations.

If you have a chart that just isn’t working, or getting your message across to your audience, you can upload it to the site, and get really useful, actionable advice from the Community.

Mapping Program Participation by State

Jon is currently the Senior Researcher and Data Visualization Expert at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and he took some time to answer a few interview questions from me about the HelpMeViz site:

Cool Infographics: Who is the target audience of the site?

Jon Schwabish: The site was created for anyone—truly anyone—to seek feedback or submit comments. I want anyone to be able to use the site—from the data visualization expert to the experienced JavaScript programmer to the research assistant using Excel. To attract that broad audience, I decided against using established tools or sites like Flickr, Pinterest, Behance, or Dribbble. Many of those sites require users to create an account, or have some other barrier to easy entry and I wanted to avoid those types of barriers. Additionally, I felt that sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub appeared too difficult for the everyday user. So, although it’s often said that you should refine your audience, I wanted to go broad here to make it as accessible as possible.


Cool Infographics: How often do people post new visualization questions to HelpMeViz.com?

Jon Schwabish: To date, I’ve posted at least one visualization per week. There have been a few weeks when I’ve been able to do more. Interactive visualizations and ones that have a unique design question—for example, how to create something in Excel—generate the most interest.


Cool Infographics: Are you having success getting the audience to engage and recommend design ideas?

Jon Schwabish: For the most part, I haven’t had to engage the audience much on my own; community members have taken most of the initiative to engage with the content, making light work for me on that end. I’d like to see more requests on the design side—questions about font or color or layout. To date, requests have been primarily about tools and creation of the visualization. But I think a lot of people would benefit from asking basic design-style questions.


Cool Infographics: Does it take much of your own time to participate and keep the site running?

Jon Schwabish: It doesn’t take too much of my own time, but that will change, I hope, as the amount of content increases. I oftentimes have to rewrite the text to clarify the challenge or goal. Sometimes I need to tweak an image or extract an image from a larger document. I rarely fiddle with the data—if the person who submitted the visualization could use it to create the graphic, then it’s probably close enough for others to use. I’ll usually correspond with the submitter once or twice to make sure he or she is okay with my edits and then I post the submission.


Cool Infographics: What are the best examples of successful projects posted to the site?

Jon Schwabish: There have been a number of interesting challenges.

Perhaps the thing I’m most excited about for the site right now is the live Hackathon that will be held on Saturday, June 28, with Bread for the World Institute. We are inviting 25 coders, designers, and data scientists to help the Institute with two data visualization challenges. I will be live blogging the event and will make the data available on the HelpMeViz site so that anyone around the world can join the discussion and provide his or her own visualization suggestions.

This site is truly made for everyone, and I encourage you to check it out.  The feedback can range from Excel charting tips to visualization programming code.  You can upload your own charting challenges, offer recommendations on other people’s charts or just lurk and learn from the advice of other experts.

If you’re in the DC area, be sure to check out the HelpMeViz Hackathon event on Saturday, June 28th! HelpMeViz will bring together coders, data scientists, and data visualizers in Washington, DC, to help Bread for the World Institute with two data visualization challenges for its 2015 Hunger Report, which focuses on why women’s empowerment is essential to ending global hunger.

Thanks to Jon for creating this incredible resource, and taking the time to answer a few questions!

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
Apr252014

Every Job In America

Every Job In America infographic

Every Job In America is a treemap data visualization design from Quoctrung Bui at NPR based on the data that the U.S. government collects for the monthly Jobs Report.  I think I probably fit somewhere in the Services-Professional and Technical Services-Specialized Design section.

Whatever Friday’s monthly jobs report says, it won’t change the big picture. There are roughly 137 million jobs in this country. About two-thirds of those jobs are in private-sector services; the remaining third are split between goods-producing jobs (mainly manufacturing and construction) and government work (mostly at the state and local level).

Here’s a closer look, drawn from the same data that the government collects for the monthly jobs report.

Notes: 
*The data come from the government’s non-farm payroll report — which, as the name suggests, does not include farm jobs. Update: The report also excludes military personnel, government intelligence employees and some self-employed workers.

There isn’t much I would change about this design.  The treemap visualization is well done, and carefully organized to allow for the color coding rectangles.  Titles are missing from any rectangle that was too small to hold the text, but a smaller font could have been used, or a reference to a list at the bottom.

Even though this is part of an article posting, the infographic image itself has a title for easy sharing without the rest of the article.  Including a few other elements in the image file like the data sources and the URL to the landing page would be very helpful.

This is the type of project where I think a link to a public spreadsheet with the numbers used would be helpful.  The article links to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics press releases, but then someone would have to dig through the reports.

Tuesday
Mar182014

The Power of ACC Basketball

The Basketball Staff at CBS Sports has put together a handful of really good data visualizations showing the 29-year history of the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams.  The chart above shows Most Wins won in the Tournament by conference, color-coded by round.  These aren’t complicated designs, but the story they tell is very powerful.

Go N.C. State Wolfpack!  Fantastic win over Xavier tonight!  The Big East looks pretty strong too, but there’s nothing like ACC Basketball.  These data visualizations tell that story much better than text and numbers.  In Texas (Big 12), they just don’t seem to understand the importance of basketball.  Football is what you play in the off-season!  They have it reversed here in Texas, where football is much more important.

Here is that same data shown as a color-coded table that spells out the Most Tournament Wins by Year by year.  This looks like it could have been designed with Conditional Formatting in Microsoft Excel, but it’s done very well.  The simple color-coding adds context and makes the entire table easier to understand.

As an infographics design, the PNG image file itself should include a little more information, in case it gets shared online without the rest of the article (like this blog post).  It should list CBS Sports as the publisher/designer and the URL back to the original article.  I also would have used the conference logos along the y-axis instead of text.

Here’s their chart of overall NCAA Championship Wins over that same 29 year period.