The Cutaway Illustrations of Fred Freeman

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During the two-year research
for our book LOOK INSIDE we discovered many amazing illustrations and artists that, for one reason or another, did not make it into the final version of the book. It would be a pity to leave these forgotten on a drawer, so during the next few weeks we will present here some of these masters of the cutaway.

A while ago we wrote here about Frank Soltesz, an American illustrator active from the 30’s to the 60’s, and author of a marvelous series of architectural cutaways appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. Today we want to pay homage to another artist of the same epoch: Fred Freeman.

Fred Freeman started his career in the 30’s. By this time cutaway illustrations were becoming a tool that popular magazine would often use to covey to their readers detailed information about technical topics. Commercial illustrator were often asked to produce cross-sections and cutaways for various publications, sometimes with striking results.


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Fred Freeman was an accomplished American illustrator who designed and illustrated books on naval history, space exploration and other technical subjects. What impressed us most during our research was the wonderful series of cutaway illustrations he created for Collier’s magazine between 1952 and 1954, all of them for the series “Man Will Conquer Space Soon”. The spectacular, full color, spread or full-page illustrations depict in stunning detail cutaways of space stations, spacecraft, space emergency devices, and other aspects of the future of space exploration. The images illustrate the ideas of the then director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, at NASA, Wernher von Braun, a space travel visionary who was already insisting by then on a manned mission to Mars.

It is surprising and disappointing how little information is out there about such a wonderful artist as Fred Freeman. Please let us know if you have any more information about him and we will publish it as an update here.

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Collier 10.18.1952-p57-Spaceship for he Moon-2.jpg

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Collier 3.7.1953-p62-Training simulated space station.jpg


The new Atlas of Design


The latest edition (Volume III) of the Atlas of Design is available for pre-order! The Atlas is an amazing compilation of cartographic design, selected in a worldwide competition by a panel of experts. The range of creative approaches in the 32 maps that make the book presents a wonderful picture of the broad scope of mapmaking styles as well as its challenges. Each map is accompanied by comments from the author, giving us insight about the conception and the ideas behind its creation.



The book is published every two years by the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) a not-for-profit professional organization for mapmakers. In their words:

The Atlas aims to inspire readers both within the field of cartography and without toward new understandings of design, and of the power that a well-crafted map can have. In an age when more and more mapping tasks are being turned over to computers, the Atlas provides one more answer to the question: What do cartographers do?

I was honored to be asked to write an introductory essay for the book, which I ended noting: “This book is a formidable compilation of beautiful and informative cartography, from classically designed to bold and daring; from hand-drawn gems to multilayered interactive presentations. It is a collection of short stories about the world we live in, each as fascinating and unique as the cartographers who made them”.

When I was Art Director at National Geographic I was lucky to work with some of the best mapmakers in the world (including Ginny Mason, an active force behind the publication of this book), and I was in awe of their skill to achieve beautifully crafted and precise pieces of journalistic storytelling. The work in this compilation speaks to that great skill.

You can preorder the book here. And take a look at some of the work in the previous Volume I and Volume II.



Form left to right: Co-editors Marty Elmer and Sam Matthews, and assistant editor Ginny Mason


Our book LOOK INSIDE in

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.02.41 AM.png©Nick Kaloterakis / Collected


Margaret Rhodes has written a great review of our book LOOK INSIDE at, and we can’t be more pleased with it. The article, titled LOOK INSIDE: A SPECTACULAR COLLECTION OF CUTAWAY INFOGRAPHICS, includes a nice gallery of images from the book.

Margaret called us a few days ago and we talked a few minutes about the book:

“From the beginning the idea was to make not only a collection of scientific infographics, but show the whole range of how different artists are using these types of illustrations,” says designer Juan Velasco, who curated the book with his brother, Samuel. (The two also co-founded information design studio 5W Infographics.) Together, the pair began collecting visualizations for the book two years ago, after realizing no such compilation existed.

The result is an exquisite assortment of cross sectional, transparent, and exploded-view cutaways that crisscrosses both history and subject matter. The book traces the earliest evidence of the genre to the Arnhem Land region in northern Australia. There, 28,000 years ago, Aboriginal inhabitants painted diagrams of humans and animals on cave walls, deconstructing their subjects into bones, organs, and muscles. “They are most certainly the first cutaway illustrations ever created,” the Velascos write.

BOOK IMAGE.jpg©Gestalten


Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 9.41.31 AM.png©Nychos


Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 9.42.01 AM.png©National Geographic


LOOK INSIDE  is ready to ship in Europe in the Gestalten’s website. It will be available in the U.S. in November 21 and can be preordered already in

Thanks Margaret!

Our updated Pinterest and Instagram pages

It’s been a while since we last updated our samples online, so we thought this would be a good time to do it. Check out our Pinterest page for a more complete set of samples of our infographics (including recent ones). You’ll also find a few additional boards with other infographics and images we like.



We also have a new account in Instagram (@5winfographics) where we plan to add not only our infographics but other images from our workshops, trips, process, etc.

To complete the roundup of our social media presence, you can follow us on Twitter (@5Winfographics), Facebook and Linkedin

As for our main site, we are planning to update the samples section in the next few weeks as well. If you are looking for news about our infographics / data visualization workshops and training, please visit our 5W Consulting page, or email us:


Our new book: “LOOK INSIDE” coming out this month



Two years ago, we had the idea of putting together a book about cutaway illustrations, one of our favorite kind of infographics. It would be a showcase of the best, most beautiful and fascinating cutaway illustrations ever created, from historical times to now. It would include not only cutaways, but also cross sections, and exploded views. We pitched the idea to Gestalten, a leading international publisher of graphic books in Germany. We had contributed with a few infographics to some of their books before, and we thought they may be interested. They loved the idea!. We have been working together with Gestalten for the last two years putting together this book. Its title is “LOOK INSIDE: Cutaway Illustrations and Visual Storytelling“, and we are proud to announce it will be released this month in Europe, and in November in the U.S. It is, we believe, the first of its kind, showcasing exclusively cutaways, cross sections and exploded views.

lookinside4Cross Section of the SS Bessemer


Lookinside1.pngFender Jaguar, exploded view, by Vladimir Andreev


Lookinside2.pngBionic Woman, by Bryan Christie


Lookinside3.pngFeline Anatomy, by Raymond Biesinger

All images from Look Inside, Copyright Gestalten 2016


Gestalten did a fantastic design job and the book itself looks great. It is a large (9.6 x 13 inches) hardcover volume, 256 pages long, choke-full of gorgeous illustrations, and includes several spectacular gatefolds. As for the contents, the book celebrate cutaways in all their variety and richness, from the renaissance engravings of the mystic-scientist Athanasius Kircher, to today’s 3D, X-Ray-like anatomical views of Bryan Christie. Cutaways, exploded views, and cross sections, are explored across a wide range of applications and disciplines. Architectural renderings, anatomical illustrations, machine diagrams, and even fantasy illustrations are just a few of the various subjects presentes in this compilation.

We are so excited about this! We hope you have as much fun with this book as we had making it. The book will be ready for preorder in a few days in Gestalten’s website.

Our Infographics and Data Visualization Workshop in Washington D.C. (Dec 1-2)



5W Academy is heading to Washington, D.C. soon for our next Infographics and Data visualization workshop in the US. It will be on December 1-2.

We received great feedback from our D.C. workshop back in October 2015. A combination of local and out-of-state participants from government agencies, design studios, NGOs and other organizations got together for two days.


Our previous workshop in Washington, D.C.

The two-day workshop is a comprehensive introduction to the creation of infographics and data visualization. With a mix of theory and practice, the workshop is aimed at professionals and students interested in developing the skills to produce engaging, insightful visual storytelling with their content. No previous experience with infographics or specialized software is required.

We will learn how to gather and prepare data, the Do’s and Dont’s of working with numerical information and charts, and the principles of visual hierarchy, color, typography, illustration, and narrative to create impactful infographics.

Attendees will sketch out infographics, storyboard motion graphics and create / publish their interactive data visualizations and web maps with the help of Tableau Public. The class will discuss award-winning projects and offer an overview of tools and strategies for creating infographics and data visualization.

Infographics are a universal language. Our most recent workshops in NYC (March), Amsterdam (June, hosted by Graphic Hunters) and Singapore (July, hosted by our friends at Methodology) were great experiences and it seems the demand keeps increasing.

Workshop n Amsterdam, June 2016

Workshop n Amsterdam, June 2016

Workshop in Singapore, July 2016

Workshop in Singapore, July 2016

Learn more about the instructors and schedule in our page or register directly here. We hope we’ll see you soon in DC!

The fantasy maps of Martin Vargic

Literature 2.pngMartin Vargic is an 18-year-old graphic artist from Slovakia that has created some of the most interesting, intricate and beautiful fantasy maps we have seen lately. Martin focuses on cultural and popular issues and represents them as very complex maps, using all the graphical and typographical resources of traditional cartography. The results are as beautiful as they are entertaining. Take for example his Map of Literature. In his website Martin says:

“The Map of Literature is a graphical visualization of how the world’s literature evolved from the ancient era to the present day. Different periods and genres of literature are represented by distinct entities (‘countries’) on the map, that unfold from the centre and show the gradual evolution of the various genres. The map is divided into four distinct continents that symbolize the different literary forms: drama, poetry, prose fiction, and prose nonfiction”.

Literature.pngLiterature 1.png

The amount of data crammed into this map is staggering, and the necessary research very extensive, and yet it took Martin only three weeks to finish it (“however I often worked more than 15 hours a day on it.”).

Equally fascinating are his Map of Stereotypes, his Map of the Internet, and many others. Martin’s website, Halcyon Maps, has a great gallery with all his maps. You can even buy prints there.

From the Map of Stereotypes:Stereotypes2.jpgStereotypes3.png
From the Map of the Internet:Internet2.jpgInternet4.jpg

Martin has published a book with his maps called Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping out the Modern World, and he is working on a new book of infographics about astronomy and space exploration.