Data Visualization and Infographics


The main goal of data visualization is its ability to visualize data, communicating information clearly and effectivelty. It doesn’t mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet designers often tend to discard the balance between design and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to serve its main purpose — communicate information.

In both print and web design infographics — visual representations of information, data or knowledge — are often used to support information, strengthen it and present it within a provoking and sensitive context, depending on designer’s creativity.

This article presents some spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.

Data Visualization and Infographics

Country Codes of the World2
Country Codes of the World maps 245 top-level domain country codes encompassing all United Nations countries as well as numerous islands and territories. Each two-digit code is aligned over the country it represents and is color coded with the legend below for quick and easy reference.

Infographics Screenshot3

Flags as Infographics4
These posters have been designed for the political magazine Grande “Reportagem”. The main idea behind visualization is to turn flags of various countries into infographics by adding a legend to them. For instance: United States. Red: In favor of the war in Iraq. White: Against the war in Iraq. Blue: Don’t know where Iraq is.

Infographics Screenshot5

Infographics Screenshot6

Independent: Infographic7
Middle-East: who backs immediate cease-fire? The infographic below was published on the front page of the “Independent” magazine during the Middle-East crisis in July 2007.

Infographics Screenshot8

Virtual countries9
This stand present the largest virtual countries according to the gross domestic product of the countries and world’s largest companies.

Infographics Screenshot10

Infographics Screenshot11

Net Neutrality12
This infographic is supposed to emphasize the importance of net neutrality; it isn’t really a data visualization, but it instantly delivers the message: this is how our future might look like.

Infographics Screenshot13

Corporate connections:14
An extremely compact and useful source of information.

Infographics Screenshot15

DIZZIA, Gregory M.16
This is the documentation of every intimate relationship Gregory Dizzia has ever had. The data spans 23 years.

Infographics Screenshot17

Amadana Infographics18
Amadana is a Japanese company, which explains why they might not have realized that a scapegoat isn’t the same as an “acuarium.” The first row is for that toaster oven, the second and third rows are for an air purifier, while the last is for a hot plate.

Infographics Screenshot19

The Japanese Wii Safety Manual20
This Japanese Wii safety manual is pretty much indicative of Japanese people’s general insanity. [via Gizmodo]

Infographics Screenshot21

Virtual Water22
Simple, clean, elegant and effective. A double-sided poster visualizing the water footprint of products and nations.

Infographics Screenshot23

Apple’s Tipping Point: Macs For The Masses24
Very calm, soft and appealing colors within a clearly presented context. Design by Paul Nixon.

Infographics Screenshot25

AT&T/Bell System Pre- & Post-Divestiture Chart26
Peter Ross. 1985.

Infographics Screenshot27

Flickr User Model28
A slightly more complex data infographics, however still clear and well-presented.

Infographics Screenshot29

Journey into the Universe30 (1985)
Information design, 1985.

Infographics Screenshot31

Megan Jaegerman32
A review of Megan Jaegerman’s work by Edward Tufte. Notice how clean and legible the infographics are.

Infographics Screenshot33

Infographics Screenshot34

Good Magazine Infographics35
In each of its issues Good magazine offers good, even excellent, infographics related to aspects of our life. Some excellent examples below.

Infographics Screenshot36

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Infographics Screenshot40

Who Participates and what people are doing online41
A slightly different presentation of usual charts gives it some uniqueness and appeal. [via Kottke.org42]

Infographics Screenshot43

The Cost of Living on the Bleeding Edge of Gadgetry44
Price and market penetration of consumer electronics over the past 50 years. By Arno Ghelfi. Infographics from a quite different perspective.

Infographics Screenshot45

A year in Iraq46
An unusual data visualization which gives information on the type and location of each attack responsible for the 2,592 recorded deaths.

Infographics Screenshot47

Cubism and Abstract Art48
Clean, informative and elegant. Alfred Barr’s work, found in Edward Tufte’s book.

Infographics Screenshot49

A data visualization application capable of rendering the relationships between the user and individuals in the address book by examining the TO:, FROM:, and CC: fields of every email in the 60,000-large email archive.the intensity of the relationship is determined by the color intensity of the line. “My Map” allows to explore different relational groupings and periods of time, revealing the temporal ebbs and flows in various relationships. My Map thus becomes a veritable self-portrait, a visual reflection of personal associations and relationships.


When Bots Attack52
Using rented botnets, you can launch hundreds of thousands — even millions — of infobombs at a target, all while maintaining total deniability. In this hypothetical scenario, a single attack launched by China against the US lasts only a few hours, but a full-scale assault lasting days or weeks could bring an entire modern information economy to its knees. This infographic is supposed to illustrate it.

Infographics Screenshot53

Mapping the Blogosphere54
This is what the blogosphere looks like…

Infographics Screenshot55

…what about globalization?

Infographics Screenshot57

George W. Bush Speech Infographics58
An interactive infographic, compares the number of times certain words appear in the address. Both are a nice example of how information design can give readers more ways to evaluate and contextualize a given text or set of data. So simple, but extremely intuitive and clear.

Infographics Screenshot59

yHaus60: BookScape61, Query Bursts62. Experimental projects by Yahoo! Design Innovation Team. These query bursts depict individual IP numbers that start very popular bursts of search queries. each particle shows a query from a unique location worldwide. bookscape represents about 250,000 illustrations taken from children books, originally collected by the Open Library Project. The experimental interface uses dynamic resampling of image data to place all the images in a single zoomable space, arranged alphabetically by title.

Infographics Screenshot63

Sources and Resources


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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    about #”Flags as Infographics”, googe show me that is blocked and targeted as dangerous :O

  2. 52

    Thanks nice collection!

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  4. 154

    Nice collection. There are some really impressive infographics included.
    Regards Fabian

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  6. 256

    Great examples!

    A shameless plug: here’s an infographic my company (Atlassian) just completed on the history of communication: . Let us know what you think of it!

  7. 307

    Nice list. We just made one about burglary statistics.


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