Strategic Information Design

We began the delve in to the world of Strategic Information Design….

To begin I took a quick look at the definitions of both Strategic and Information,
(Design, I find, is that wonderful thing we are often asked to define, and each of us will give you a different response.)

STRATEGIC – crucial – critical – key – principal
INFORMATION – data – facts – intelligence – advice – wisdom

With this in mind I began to nosy about in a world, that although I have been steeped in for many years, as we all have, I have not taken as much care to observe as thoroughly as I probably should have. The World of Info-graphics.

Portraying information through a graphical context.

When mixed in with my other findings, should it be more –
‘ Portraying Key and Crucial Data to the Correct Audience using the Appropriate method for them.’ ?

Some of what I found was entertaining, some heartbreaking, and some just plain baffling,

Too much information and it can either overwhelm or make no sense, too little and the info-graph becomes un-engaging and does not get its primary point across.

One of the nice things is that once the art of story telling through info-graphs is mastered, it’s applicable to any topic.

As Jonathan Baldwin said during one of the sessions,
‘After this you will start to see infographics and data everywhere, you’ll start to analyse them, deciding what you would change, why they work or fail, what you like and dislike.’ He wasn’t wrong.
One of my favourite newspapers at the moment is the I. It’s consistently full of infographs, covering variables from sea creatures, sizes and hunting patterns, to employability rates within the UK. ( we did however discover that they omitted the Shetland Islands from their weather graphics, ) something we rectified fairly quickly in studio. ( You can’t be in a design school and not add lib to a newspaper every now and then. 😉

I digress,

The purpose of this page is to document our own Strategic Information Design Libraries,
to show some of what we have found, be it good or bad.
So here are some examples of the things I have viewed, and in some cases interacted with ( I do find those quite rewarding, a little like a christmas
advent calender, where every tag is a new surprise)

It began with bang!! 🙂

What a world!!

From the estimated 93,000,000,000 light years that make up the universe
to you and then on to Einstein’s theoretical Quantum Foam, –
an info-graphic education. Mind the quarks.

quite literally…. this is a must see, update your flash player before visiting.
Click here The Universe Infograph

Info-graphs are a many varied thing, and they are everywhere,
No library for referencing Infographs and data would be complete without this man, not only does his actually data speak volumes about a wide variety of problems faced by the world, but his technique for telling a story, of how he can interact and engage an audience is astounding.
He makes some very complex situations accessible and understandable in a visual and verbal format that everyone can follow, and he does it with great stage presence.
Hans Rosling has eaten much of my time of late. 🙂

This next Info graph appealed to me for a variety of reasons, not least for its layout, but also for the amount of data it manages to impart, in a lighthearted way, that keeps you interested and allows for easy digestion, (please excuse the pun!)
Click here Apples v Apples

When it comes to some problems within our society, all to often people may turn away and try not to see whats actually happening right in front of them, but others don’t. A fairly simple example, this shows a harsh reality regarding the number of homeless 16-24 year olds that were on the UK streets in 2010, it also highlights some of the good work that is done within our communities, by families and people up and down the country. So often the news we see is all bad, and never do we get to see a glimmer of sunshine, but this infograph, although portraying a sad and hard truth, also tells the story of a group of people endeavouring to make a difference. It could be possibly more clearly laid out with figures, but, because of what I viewed within the infograph, I felt compelled to read further into the website and find out more about the company and their work, so in that sense I felt that they had also, possibly indirectly, created an effective hook.
Click here Homelessness Infograph

A literal visualisation to an extent, Standford Kay uses the shape of a foot to create the world’s Carbon Footprint, showing the Total Emissions by nation, although some details in this could be modified to an extent, Specific bubbles being larger than they are, it gives the viewer an overall picture of not only the impact that the larger nations are having in comparison to those which are much smaller, but also that of each of the 200 individual countries themselves balanced against each other. It is however lacking in numerical context, which I felt would have taken it to the next level, it caught my eye and i feel works, to the extent that it gets ‘some of the information out’ and creates a point of inspiration and conversation thus creating a good solid framework for people to go further and find out more.
Click here Stanford Kay CFootprint

I often ponder over the wonder that is today’s technology, more often than not this happens when I’m fighting to get one or another piece of it to work properly! and ask –
How did we get here today?
We can talk with family and friends who are thousands of miles away.
Organise businesses and manage bank-accounts, share our secrets, support strangers, watch news live as it happens from the other side of the world, and that’s just mentioning a few. We can do all of this and much much more, with the click of a just a few buttons, thanks to the wonderful thing that is the Internet.
When first created it wasn’t nearly as fast as it is today, but evolution, and some incredible brains constant striving has brought us on leaps and bounds and promise to take us further still.
Google’s Chrome team have created an interactive Infographic in HTML5 to visualise for all the ‘evolution of major web technologies and browsers’
The internet didn’t really become ‘real’ to me until about 9 years ago, up until then, I always gave it a sideways glance, as tho it was something shifty that i was sure i shouldn’t completely trust. But then…. Well, things change and i had to bite the bullet and learn to
function within the world of machines. Since then it’s been a game of rapid catch up. i appreciate this infograph, because it is easy to understand, It’s story is clear and concise, It gives you the specific information accurately. It looks inviting and enticing, and has the
outward appearance of something you’d find in a candy store.
And then when you take a closer look you are able to entirely separate individual story lines, see them project the various paths from beginning to end. You can discover the many points of intersection, and see what specific things do, each title tag is accompanied by a handy drop down that gives a brief yet concise description.
I find this to be an engaging and useful educational tool.
Click Here Web Infograph

Simple and concise this info graph visualizes the drastic change in size of mobile phones over 23 years, allowing a clear understanding of how far we have journeyed in the development of mobile phones. The only point I would make is that the ‘light’ graphical style does not lend itself to portraying the weight of each phone. Even tho it is documented, It is still a hard thing to comprehend the physical impact of carrying a phone from 2000, compared to the lightweight, palm sized smartphones of today, unless you have a set of the appropriate weights and measures to hand.
Click here Mobile Infographic

This I like, Mobile phone industries create some of the worlds biggest revenues, They are taking over the landline markets, broadband markets, etc. We are all guilty of upgrading to a new toy, because it’s shinier, and has a few more little quirks, long before our perfectly good current phone is barely even out of warranty, But do we consider what happens to that now ‘discarded’ phone, and it’s component parts? possibly, but not often enough.
One of the things I favour the most about this, is that it clearly states the story from beginning to end. It tells the story explaining the problem and giving the solution. Where we are, what is happening, what the benefits would be, It is quite simply clear and concise.
Click here Recycle Mobiles Infograph

Candy Chang – the effects of telling your story – and how to get word out
The discovery of Candy’s work has to be handed to Sara Nevay, She hunted her down during our project research, and it was whilst viewing her websites and previous works that I came across amongst many others a project called Community Chalkboards
This is not Infographics, but it hit me as a great examples of, the right information, getting to the right people the most effective way for them.
Community Chalk Boards, Candy Chang worked in Johannesburg with a company called Diepsloop Community News. This company had started after a child had gone missing for 3 days, and a local man had been so affected by this he started the non-profit organisation to improve local communication. Along with other methods including radio, community chalk boards were designed and put in place to allow locals free and accessible methods to communicate and get their news and information out into the public domain.
Click here Candy Chang Community Chalkboards

At first glance if you were to view this with the attitude that everything you saw was gospel truth then you would be horrified, regardless, I’m not analysing it for that purpose, the truth of this I will possibly at some later date look in to in greater depth, for now I’m looking at it from a graphical perspective. William Blums Interventions map, It has an effective shock value, and has certainly been designed to stick in your mind.
The actual informative data given is not overly clear, but the story it is trying portray to you is made quite crystal clear. The use of red to colour countries targeted give the appearance of blood splatter and the bombing markings and assassination plot markers resemble exploding shrapnel. It’s an infograph that packs a punch, correct information or not, it certainly makes its point very loudly.
Click here

Something a little lighter after all that!
It’s been a bit intense!
Aliens v’s Predator!!
What can’t you do with Infographs!! This is great! by far one of my favourite things I’ve found. It’s got the balance of colour, comedy and information, It is specific to a market, those of us who love the Alien and Predator films. it basically tells you exactly how low your survival chances are, and exactly what NEVER to do, but all in all, it’s a good example of people having some fun with the world of infographs
Click here how to Survive Aliens v Predator

Not for the faint at heart,
I’ve started to discover that there are infographs for EVERYTHING!!! absolutely EVERYTHING!!! including how to conduct your own field amputations, not that i’d ever wish to be in this position, but i found this to be entertaining, the pictures, were nicely drawn and it was clear, although, if ever in need of having a limb removed i would highly recommend visiting the nearest hospital as opposed to having your friend attempt to follow this guide! 😉
Click here Art of Amputation Infograph

This Infograph caught my eye, its bright colours were the hook, and its simple comic style graphics made it very easy to read and digest. It was very light-hearted and didn’t appear to take itself to seriously.
Each piece of information was broken down and explained which made it an easy read reminding me of the ApplevApple graphic I found earlier.
It has a similar style and appearance. This technique works effectively.
Click here Ipad usage Uk

Another one that made me smile, designed for a specific market, I stumbled across this accidentally, whilst troubleshooting some slight ‘quirks’ that our cat Jack has decided to develop. She went to stay with family whilst we were in New Zealand for a month over Christmas and has come back with more than a slight vendetta, that springs into action when least expected! How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you.. Entertaining to anyone who either has a cat, or has encountered a cat with an attitude issue, It’s clean, clear, and light-hearted, knowing not to take itself to seriously, and whats more, as I got to the section regarding cats and computers, – well, this is the 2nd time i’ve typed this out, She’s now safely tucked away with her food bowl whilst I work!
Click here my cat’s a lunatic

A Simply beautiful example of getting people’s stories out there to be heard by others. Of giving communities a voice and taking storytelling and sharing to new levels. GlobalGiving work on creating ‘better feedback loops’ to give their most important stakeholders true voice within the systems.
This works incredibly well as an online facility to allow stories, inspirations and influence to travel as far and wide as possible.
The interactive map works beautifully, allowing you to select variables that will dictate the styles of stories or anecdotes you read. You are given geographic context in the initial instance with visual mapping and dots to show where each story originates from, then through selection these are highlighted with a short text and if you wish to read further, you click onwards giving you a chance to learn more about the
writer, their age, background, how old the piece is, etc.
The question that was posed to gather all this data?? — “Tell us about a time when a person or an organisation tried to change something in
your community”
Their collection now numbers 36,190, every one just as valid and honest as the next. These are stories of human perspective and reactions.They are the truths that lie within our world.
Click here Globalgiving website background information
Click here Interactive StoryMap


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