Bespoke Infographics: Anna Wintour’s Family Tree

After our presentation on diagrams, I asked my D4 students to visualize this NY Post/Page 6 article, Anna Wintour’s Family Tree.  While the actual functionality of some are more successful than others, it’s really interesting to see the variety of visual and strategic approaches to outlining the Vogue queen’s connections. Check out some of their work below, and click on Permalink beneath each image if you’d like to get a closer look.

Edward Tufte: A Principled Man, A Man With Goals

In his book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, info design guru Edward Tufte lays out some excellent principles that we are going to follow as we design our own information visualizations in Design 4.  Keep these lists handy and refer to them frequently!

TUFTE’S PRINCIPLES OF GRAPHICAL EXCELLENCE¹

•Graphical excellence is the well-designed presentation of interesting data—a matter of substance, of statistics, and of design.
•Graphical excellence consists of complex ideas communicated with clarity, precision, and efficiency.
•Graphical excellence is what gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.
•Graphical excellence is nearly always multivariate (involving two or more variables).
•Graphical excellence requires telling the truth about data.

TUFTE’S GOALS OF INFORMATION VISUALIZATION²

•Above all else – Show the data.
•Induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, design, technology of graphic production, or something else.
•Avoid distorting the data story. Be truthful in the representation.
•Present many numbers in a small space.
•Make large data sets coherent.
•Encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data.
•Reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure.

¹From The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte, p. 51

²From The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte, p. 13

Anatomy of an Infographic

While designing infographics over the course of the semester, we must remember that our infographics should always include the following:

  • Headline (Name your infographic)
  • Paragraph of text that explains what the infographic is about
  • References/footnotes giving credit to all sources
  • Pictograms
  • Strong visual hierarchy
  • The Grid System
  • All charts should have titles so it’s clear what data is represented
  • Labeled X and Y axis on all charts and graphs
  • Labeled pies on pie charts
  • Cohesive color palette used throughout
  • Clear typefaces, limited to 2-3 max per infographic composition

The Five Hat Racks AKA Wurman’s L.A.T.C.H. System of Organization

Check out this cool video that visualizes Richard Saul Wurman’s LATCH system of organization. Seems this was a student project. Impressive–it’s so well done!

Understanding Plastic…Through Infographics

According to theplastiki.com:

  • It is estimated that almost all of the marine pollution in the world is comprised of plastic materials. The average proportion varied between 60% and 80% of total marine pollution.
  • In many regions in the northern and southern Gyres, plastic materials constitute as much as 90 to 95% of the total amount of marine debris.
  • Scientists estimate that every year at least 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die when they entangle themselves in plastic pollution or ingest it.
  • According to Project Aware, 15 billion pounds of plastic are produces in the U.S. every year, and only 1 billion pounds are recycled. It is estimated that in excess of 38 billion plastic bottles and 25 million Styrofoam cups end up in landfill and although plastic bottles are 100% recyclable, on average only 20% are actually recycled.

The Plastiki has created some great infographs to further illustrate the perils of plastic:


What does 60,000 Plastic Bags look like?

These photos taken by photographer Chris Jordan show 60,000 plastic bags–the number of bags used in the US every 5 seconds.  YIKES.

Thanks to coolinfographics.com for this art and the statistic.  Perfect data visualization for our current class project on plastic bag consumption.

Paper or Plastic?

As we launch into Project 3, here’s a little something from The Washington Post to get the wheels turning…

Project 1: Redesigning the NYC Recycling Poster

For Project 1, the students were given the task of redesigning the NYC recycling checklist flyer.  The current design used by the NYC Department of Sanitation is a follows:

While the smiling garbage cans sure are fun, the students were tasked with making the poster easier to understand and more user friendly.  (There’s just way too much going on!)  They were given the option of using any of the information design tools that we’ve discussed so far this semester: pictograms, flowcharts, diagrams, tables, etc.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Kenney, who won the Students’ Choice Award.  The students voted that her design was their overall favorite.

Additionally, the students voted via anonymous ballot and judged the posters in three different categories:  Creativity, Functionality, and Craftsmanship.  While Elizabeth Kenney also won top honors in the Functionality category, Ray Chen was recognized for Craftsmanship and Emily Singer won for Creativity.  Kudos to all!

You can view the winning posters below.  All other D4 student designs can be found on each individual student’s blog, filed under “Project 1.”

TOP HONORS

STUDENTS’ CHOICE AWARD; FUNCTIONALITY

Elizabeth Kenney:

CRAFTSMANSHIP

Ray Chen:

CREATIVITY

Emily Singer:

Assignment 2: I BOUGHT WHAT?!

For their second assignment of the semester, D4 students had to create an infographic detailing the money they spent over the course of one week.  All student designs can be found on each individual student’s blog, filed under “Assignment 2.”  Some highlights are below.

Tracey Lin:

Dominique Romero:

Ray Chen:

Hannah Phang:

The Elements of Design

The Elements of Design are the components or parts of a work of art or design.  More simply put, they are the ingredients of art.  Take one part color, a pinch of texture, and a whole lot of shape, and voila:  you have art!  Recipes may vary, but all works of art and design contain a combination of the following:  line, shape (and form), value, color, space, and texture.

Another super helpful reference sheet made by paper-leaf.com.  You can download the full size poster here.