Design

4 posts
Counting and illustrating Game of Thrones deaths

Shelly Tan, for The Washington Post, has been counting on-screen deaths in Game of Thrones over the past few years. As the season ended, Tan described her process in an entertaining Twitter thread: This graphic had a lot of numbers, so here are the final ones: – 5 years of working on this project– 6887 deaths– 290 character illustrations– Far too many hours of sleep lost And now, at the...

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Morphing small multiples to investigate Sri Lanka’s religions

Earlier this month, the bombs in Sri Lanka led to some data graphics in the media, educating us on the religious tensions within the island nation. I like this effort by Reuters using small multiples to show which religions are represented in which districts of Sri Lanka (lifted from their twitter feed): The key to reading this map is the top legend. From there, you'll notice that many of the...

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An exercise in decluttering

My friend Xan found the following chart by Pew hard to understand. Why is the chart so taxing to look at?  It's packing too much. I first notice the shaded areas. Shading usually signifies "look here". On this chart, the shading is highlighting the least important part of the data. Since the top line shows applicants and the bottom line admitted students, the shaded gap displays the rejections. The numbers...

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Exploring data to form better questions

Feeding off the words of John Tukey, Roger Peng proposes a search for better questions in analysis: The goal in this picture is to get to the upper right corner, where you have a high quality question and very strong evidence. In my experience, most people assume that they are starting in the bottom right corner, where the quality of the question is at its highest. In that case, the...

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Remaking charts from The Economist, by a journalist at The Economist

Sarah Leo, a visual journalist at The Economist, looked through the archives and found some charts that could use a re-design. After a deep dive into our archive, I found several instructive examples. I grouped our crimes against data visualisation into three categories: charts that are (1) misleading, (2) confusing and (3) failing to make a point. For each, I suggest an improved version that requires a similar amount of...

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Book Preview: How Charts Lie, by Alberto Cairo

If you’re like me, your first exposure to data visualization was as a consumer. You may have run across a pie chart, or a bar chart, perhaps in a newspaper or a textbook. Thanks to the power of the visual language, you got the message quickly, and moved on. Few of us learned how to create charts from first principles. No one taught us about axes, tick marks, gridlines, or...

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Pretty circular things

National Geographic features this graphic illustrating migration into the U.S. from the 1850s to the present.   What to Like It's definitely eye-catching, and some readers will be enticed to spend time figuring out how to read this chart. The inset reveals that the chart is made up of little colored strips that mix together. This produces a pleasing effect of gradual color gradation. The white rings that separate decades...

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Trump resistance chart: cleaning up order, importance, weight, paneling

Vox featured the following chart when discussing the rise of resistance to President Trump within the GOP. The chart is composed of mirrored bar charts. On the left side, with thicker pink bars that draw more attention, the design depicts the share of a particular GOP demographic segment that said they'd likely vote for a Trump challenger, according to a Morning Consult poll. This is the primary metric of interest,...

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A visualization book using only hand-drawn illustrations

RJ Andrews has a visualization design book coming out in January called Info We Trust. He hand-drew about 300 graphics for the book. One of the reasons: I decided very early that Info We Trust would not use any existing images, mine or others. Found examples work fine for certain books. They are also convenient, the work is already done! But found images bring baggage too. You might choose an...

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McKinsey thinks the data world needs more dataviz talent

Note about last week: While not blogging, I delivered four lectures on three topics over five days: one on the use of data analytics in marketing for a marketing class at Temple; two on the interplay of analytics and data visualization, at Yeshiva and a JMP Webinar; and one on how to live during the Data Revolution at NYU. This week, I'm back at blogging. McKinsey publishes a report confirming...

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