All posts about
Information graphics

Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age

Visuals are great, but what about the language it uses, spoken.

“(…) the most compelling work by a new generation of designers, illustrators, graphic editors, and data journalists tackling the grand sensemaking challenge of our time by pushing forward the evolving visual vocabulary of storytelling.”

(Maria Popova a.k.a. @brainpicker ~ Brain Pickings)
courtesy of nicoooooooon

Edward Tufte’s ‘Slopegraphs’

“What’s interesting is that over 20 years before sparklines came on the scene, Tufte developed a different type of data visualization that didn’t fare nearly as well. To date, in fact, I’ve only been able to find three examples of it, and even they aren’t completely in line with his vision. (…) In this post, we’re going to look at slopegraphs – what they are, how they’re made, why they haven’t seen a massive uptake so far, and why I think they’re about to become much more popular in the near future.”

(Charlie Park a.k.a. @charliepark)

Showcase of Impressive Design Process Explanations

“A common feature amongst the top design portfolio and agency websites is a visually presented explanation of their design process. This simple idea of describing how a potential client’s project will be handled from start to finish is a great way of securing projects and giving the customer an insight into what their working relationship with the designer(s) will be like. This showcase rounds up a bunch of impressive examples of how various designers have explained their design process with the aid of clever graphical elements.”

(Chris Spooner a.k.a. @chrisspooner ~ Line25)

The Information Sage

“Edward Tufte occupies a revered and solitary place in the world of graphic design. Over the last three decades, he has become a kind of oracle in the growing field of data visualization – the practice of taking the sprawling, messy universe of information that makes up the quantitative backbone of everyday life and turning it into an understandable story. His four books on the subject have sold almost two million copies, and in his crusade against euphemism and gloss, he casts a shadow over the world of graphs and charts similar to the specter of George Orwell over essay and argument.” (Joshua Yaffa ~ Washington Monthly) ~ courtesy of jasonkottke

The Form of Facts and Figures

“The topic of my Master thesis project is the development of a design pattern taxonomy for data visualization and information design. In its core, the project consists of a collection of 55 design patterns that describe the functional aspects of graphic components for the display, behavior and user interaction of complex infographics. The thesis is available in the form of a 200-page book that additionally includes a profound historical record of information design as well as an introduction into the research field of design patterns.” (Christian Behrens)

Dashboard Design 101

“The explosion of information that analysts and executives must consume, as well as the increasing variety of sources from which that information comes, has boosted the popularity of information dashboards. Modeled after the dashboard of a car or airplane—which informs its operator about the status and operation of the vehicle they’re controlling at a glance—dashboard user interfaces provide a great deal of useful information to users at a glance. Typically, the role of an information dashboard is to quickly inform users and, thus, enable them to take immediate action.” (Mike Hughes ~ UXmatters)

Still awaiting Tufte’s influence?

“I concede that my knowledge of the US government is largely informed by the West Wing and so I don’t fully understand the relationships between and alignment of the various councils, departments, panels and bodies. Furthermore, I’m unclear about the role of the department that appears responsible for delivering the spending sites – Chief Information Officer’s Council nor entirely clear about the potential scope or reach of Tufte’s appointment.” (Andy Kirk ~ Visualising Data)

Celebrating the World Cup Visualizations

“We really enjoyed watching the World Cup over lunch here in the Cooper office. The games sparked many conversations about soccer, beloved sporting traditions, and why FIFA is so bloody minded about goal-line technology use (okay, maybe that last one was just from a bitter England fan). It’s also been a time to admire the many new and unusual visualizations used for the tournament brackets, game-by-game breakdowns, and statistical replays. For the fans that wake up in the coming weeks with an empty feeling, perhaps this library of visualizations will provide a glimmer of comfort and distraction until the next tournament.” (Nick Myers ~ The Cooper Journal)

Tufte & Beautiful Evidence

“It was a breath of fresh air not to be surrounded by fellow ad folk. Maybe you were there, but I didn’t spot you or find your tweets. There were certainly some designers and UX people. I found the lecture a mixed bag – it was certainly a lecture rather than a presentation. During the introduction and the conclusion Tufte seemed rather uncomfortable whilst reading from notes. But the core of the content, around analytical design, was delivered away from the lectern and that was when Tufte and the lecture came to life. My take out from the evening was that information doesn’t care what it is; but how it is brought to life is critical for its interpretation and power as a communicator. ‘Whatever it takes’ was Tufte’s recurring theme about how to visualise data, avoiding being a slave to a particular methodology.” (MBA Blog)


“FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization. Money spent, reps at the gym, time you waste, and personal information you enter online are all forms of data. How can we understand these data flows? Data visualization lets non-experts make sense of it all.” (Nathan Yau)

The Value of Visual Thinking

“Being able to think visually, break down complex ideas and synthesize them into something meaningful is my forte. It’s a skill that has landed me in the company of the smart and capable folks I currently work with. More importantly, I took whatever abilities I had and I gave them over to my ecosystem. In any social system, you always come to the table offering something of value rather than seeking it.” (David Armano)

What is Global and What is Local? PDF Logo

A Theoretical Discussion Around Globalization – “This article develops a new sociological understanding of the difference between global and local relating to the phenomena of globalization. Globalization itself is redefined as one of society’s self-description insofar as, following Niklas Luhmann’s theory, society is conceived as a cognitive system that can only handle information (about the world, about itself) only through its own specific operation (communication), so that globalization affects society solely when the later communicates about the former.” (Jean-Sébastien Guy – Parsons Journal of Information Mapping I.2)

History of Graphic Design

“This site was first launched in 1999 to accompany my lectures on the History of Graphic Design. I devised this unique format of presenting the information by topics because I saw that students were overwhelmed by the scope of the topic or most texts I also saw that they learned more when the discussions included direct links to what is happening in design today. It seems to work well for visual artists who are not interested in a degree in art history.” (Nancy Stock-Allen) – courtesy of AP

A Scientific Approach to Infographics

“If you’ve been reading this blog regularly for awhile, you know that I occasionally bemoan the sad state of most information graphics. Most of the folks who produce infographics lack guidelines based on solid research. In their attempt to inform, describe, or instruct, most of the infographics that I’ve seen fail-many miserably. I’m thrilled to announce, however, that a new book is now available that takes a great step toward providing the guidelines that are needed for the production of effective infographics.” (Stephen Few – Visual Business Intelligence)

The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them

“Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts. We define concept as a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label. The label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used. Propositions are statements about some object or event in the universe, either naturally occurring or constructed. Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement. Sometimes these are called semantic units, or units of meaning. Figure 1 shows an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics.” (Cmap ToolsPublications)