David McCandless.

In the module induction we watched the start of a David McCandless talk on TED, which shows him talking about the relationship between data and visuals. He talks about how information is nothing really without some kind of perspective. A number on a page will always look small, no matter how large the figure if it’s not put into context, or it’s compared to relative data. As someone who find it hard to process data or think about numbers, this idea fascinates me, and makes perfect sense. As well as making his information beautiful it also makes sense, its clear, easy to read, easy to understand. He also makes the data fun. Data has a stigma about it that it’s dry, factual, often perceived to boring, and scientific. But he used some witty examples – like tracking the relationship status’ of people on facebook – knowledge that you don’t really need but its funny, and also interesting to see trends emerging that you may not have every even considered.


By using the squares and basic shapes to show the different expenditures of countries and actually what they spend and what they prioritise. I don’t find this as aesthetically pleasing as the other data as I don’t like how the colours work together, and I don’t think that the squares within the squares showing the comparison of figures clearly enough.


Although I particularly like using circles to represent data, I think this incorporates parts of the traditional methods of charting. This is represented by the use of hierarchy in the chart. Even though this isn’t the whole chart it still shows a good snapshot of the data and how it’s laid out. I like the way that it instantly shows what is most important in relation to the data.


I particularly like the data represented by the circles. I commissioned some infographics over the summer (shown on my blog) using a similar technique of circles. It helps show the data in relation to itself – how aggressive some diseases are in comparison to others, and the death rate can easily be found and see how they link, how common they are in relation to other things. I think what’s most affective about this bottom infographic, is the branching system. Main circles of general categories, with branches linking to the relevant illnesses. This works as a contents page of a book. You search only for what you need and then the information is right there, and I think this works particularly effectively.

I also like the way the colours are used to support the numbers, but in a visual way. As well as the size of the circles, the colours are in a sort of gradient pattern. The higher the number (i.e the higher the number of deaths) the darker the colour. The smaller the number the lighter – and brighter. I don’t know if that’s a purposeful choice, but by using darker colours the higher the number it adds a more morbid tone, dull, hits home that actual the data is about deaths, and the circles represent people.

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