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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. [Content Care Nov/03/2016]

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 Link

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

Independent: Infographic4
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 Screenshot5

Virtual countries6
This stand present the largest virtual countries according to the gross domestic product of the countries and world’s largest companies.

Infographics Screenshot7

Infographics Screenshot8

Corporate connections:9
An extremely compact and useful source of information.

Infographics Screenshot10

DIZZIA, Gregory M.11
This is the documentation of every intimate relationship Gregory Dizzia has ever had. The data spans 23 years.

Infographics Screenshot12

Amadana Infographics13
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 Screenshot14

The Japanese Wii Safety Manual15
This Japanese Wii safety manual is pretty much indicative of Japanese people’s general insanity. [via Gizmodo]

Infographics Screenshot16

Virtual Water17
Simple, clean, elegant and effective. A double-sided poster visualizing the water footprint of products and nations.

Infographics Screenshot18

Flickr User Model19
A slightly more complex data infographics, however still clear and well-presented.

Infographics Screenshot20

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

Infographics Screenshot

Megan Jaegerman21
A review of Megan Jaegerman’s work by Edward Tufte. Notice how clean and legible the infographics are.

Infographics Screenshot22

Infographics Screenshot23

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

Infographics Screenshot

Infographics Screenshot

Infographics Screenshot

Infographics Screenshot

Infographics Screenshot

Who Participates and what people are doing online
A slightly different presentation of usual charts gives it some uniqueness and appeal.

Infographics Screenshot

The Cost of Living on the Bleeding Edge of Gadgetry24
Price and market penetration of consumer electronics over the past 50 years. By Arno Ghelfi. Infographics from a quite different perspective.

Infographics Screenshot25

A year in Iraq26
An unusual data visualization which gives information on the type and location of each attack responsible for the 2,592 recorded deaths.

Infographics Screenshot27

Cubism and Abstract Art28
Clean, informative and elegant. Alfred Barr’s work, found in Edward Tufte’s book.

Infographics Screenshot29

MyMap30
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.

Screenshot31

When Bots Attack32
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 Screenshot33

Mapping the Blogosphere34
This is what the blogosphere looks like…

Infographics Screenshot35

Globalization36
…what about globalization?

Infographics Screenshot37

George W. Bush Speech Infographics38
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 Screenshot39

yHaus40: BookScape, Query Bursts. 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 Screenshot41

Sources and Resources Link

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/08/02/data-visualization-modern-approaches/
  2. 2 http://www.historyshots.com/OtherArtists/4015.cfm
  3. 3 http://www.historyshots.com/OtherArtists/4015.cfm
  4. 4 http://www.kottke.org/06/07/independent-infographic
  5. 5 http://www.kottke.org/06/07/independent-infographic
  6. 6 http://flickr.com/photos/watz/162393041/
  7. 7 http://flickr.com/photos/watz/162393041/
  8. 8 http://flickr.com/photos/watz/162393041/
  9. 9 http://www.kottke.org/remainder/06/02/10423.html
  10. 10 http://www.kottke.org/remainder/06/02/10423.html
  11. 11 http://dizzia.deviantart.com/art/DIZZIA-Gregory-M-PDF-59770086
  12. 12 http://dizzia.deviantart.com/art/DIZZIA-Gregory-M-PDF-59770086
  13. 13 http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/01/02/amadanas-wonderful-c.html
  14. 14 http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/01/02/amadanas-wonderful-c.html
  15. 15 http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/home-entertainment/the-japanese-wii-safety-manual-is-crazy-219119.php
  16. 16 http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/home-entertainment/the-japanese-wii-safety-manual-is-crazy-219119.php
  17. 17 http://www.traumkrieger.de/virtualwater/
  18. 18 http://www.traumkrieger.de/virtualwater/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryce/58299511/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryce/58299511/
  21. 21 http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0002w4&topic_id=1&topic=
  22. 22 http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0002w4&topic_id=1&topic=
  23. 23 http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0002w4&topic_id=1&topic=
  24. 24 http://www.wired.com/gadgets/gadgetreviews/magazine/test2007/st_infoporn
  25. 25 http://www.wired.com/gadgets/gadgetreviews/magazine/test2007/st_infoporn
  26. 26 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/opinion/06chart.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
  27. 27 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/opinion/06chart.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
  28. 28 http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001TV&topic_id=1&topic=a
  29. 29 http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001TV&topic_id=1&topic=a
  30. 30 http://christopherbaker.net/projects/mymap/
  31. 31 http://christopherbaker.net/projects/mymap/
  32. 32 http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/15-09/ff_estonia_bots
  33. 33 http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/15-09/ff_estonia_bots
  34. 34 http://datamining.typepad.com/gallery/blog-map-gallery.html
  35. 35 http://datamining.typepad.com/gallery/blog-map-gallery.html
  36. 36 http://qed.princeton.edu/index.php/MG/Data_and_Analysis
  37. 37 http://qed.princeton.edu/index.php/MG/Data_and_Analysis
  38. 38 http://www.lifeclever.com/the-new-york-times-impressive-infographics/
  39. 39 http://www.lifeclever.com/the-new-york-times-impressive-infographics/
  40. 40 http://infosthetics.com/archives/2007/11/yahoo_design_yhaus_query_bursts_bookscape.html
  41. 41 http://design.yahoo.com/project.php?pid=9
  42. 42 http://infosthetics.com/archives/2007/11/sugar_batteries_infographic_movie.html
  43. 43 http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/11068

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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 UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Jon Aizlewood

    January 14, 2008 4:27 am

    Fantastic post.
    Phenomenal post.
    Splendiferous post.
    Supercalafragilisticexpialadocious post.

    Keep up the great work (as always).

    -2
  2. 2

    Chris Vincent

    January 14, 2008 4:49 am

    Data is what makes the world turn and to make it look good… is good

    0
  3. 3

    Evandro Guedes

    January 14, 2008 3:40 am

    GREAT POST!!!

    -1
  4. 4

    There’s some beautiful examples here – in particular MyMap. Loving the wii safety manual btw!

    -1
  5. 5

    Amarjeet Sinh Rai

    January 14, 2008 4:53 am

    Please fix the link for “When Bots Attack” goes to a wrong page.

    Thanks.

    -1
  6. 6

    very interesting collection, thanks!

    -1
  7. 7

    Thanks nice collection!

    -1
  8. 8

    Nice collection. The Japanese Wii safety manual is hilarious!

    -1
  9. 9

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    January 14, 2008 5:05 am

    @Amarjeet Sinh Rai: thank you, fixed.

    -1
  10. 10

    I only knew a couple of these. It’s a great list: thoughtful and interesting. It really shows how images can easily deliver a powerful message. It’s not always the case, but when it’s well done and well thought, it works great.

    -1
  11. 11

    Great post, as usual, but “communicating information clearly and effectively” is something that several of these examples don’t really do (there are great infographics in the NYT, but the one presented here is not one of them, imho).

    0
  12. 12

    Certainly inspirational but also containing quite some chartjunk and samples for rather bad information design. It would be interesting to see what at least Kaiser Fung thinks and makes of these samples.

    -1
  13. 13

    Amazing post, love the information. and so many examples :)

    -1
  14. 14

    I love this list! Thanks! I must get a copy of the Country Codes of the World map for my home office.

    -1
  15. 15

    This is a pretty awesome post! Thanks!

    -1
  16. 16

    COOOOOOOOL. :-D

    -1
  17. 17

    The Cubism and Abstract Art diagram is not by Edward Tufte, although he’s included it as an example in his books. The diagram is by Alfred Barr, as Tufte himself says here.

    -1
  18. 18

    Practically everything the Times produces is top notch, and GOOD magazine’s transparency section is always enjoyable. Probably why I subscribe to both.

    -1
  19. 19

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    January 14, 2008 9:42 am

    @Andrew: thank you, fixed.

    -1
  20. 20

    For more great infographics (and some not-so-great), check out http://www.visualcomplexity.com
    That site and Edward Tufte give me all the inspiration I need. Great post!

    -1

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