Graphics for the American Museum of Natural History

For the last couple of years we have been involved in creating infographics for Rotunda, the official magazine of the American Museum of Natural History in New York (AMNH).

The museum was founded in 1869. Located across Central Park in Manhattan, New York City, it’s one of the largest museums in the world with more than 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2). The museum averages about five million visits annually. Its collections contain over 33 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. Precisely, one of our graphics consisted of showing a breakdown of the entire collection:

The magazine is distributed among AMNH members. The double-page graphics cover a variety of Science and Nature topics, often associated with ongoing exhibitions in the museum. Most of them are illustration-based. Here are a few examples:

 

 

 

Maarten Lambrechts’ list of 2017 visualization lists

Here is an extremely useful resource for anyone interested in graphics and data visualization. Maarten Lambrechts is a data journalist, designer and visualization consultant from Belgium. He creates great visualizations and is a speaker and instructor (check out his free data journalism training videos in Learno.net).

He has compiled a List of 2017 data visualization lists, which links to the best work created in 2017 by many of the newspapers and organizations that are doing the best graphics. It’s great to see the work of the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Reuters, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, and many others in one place. Luckily, more and more news organizations are presenting these compilations at the end of each year. They involve a lot of effort and quality journalism, and its great to discover those we missed when they were first published.

The list also includes examples made with tools like Tableau and Carto, charts from the World Bank, satellite imagery and a wonderful compilation of the best illustration published by The New York Times in 2017.

Thank you Marteen. Make sure to visit his site!

 

Working with UNICEF USA

In the last year we have been working on multiple projects with UNICEF USA, including maps, graphics, style guides and reports. We recently worked on the infographics and charts for the 2017 Annual Report, as well as the Annual Report for UNICEF Kid Power. With a UNICEF Kid Power app or wrist band, kids transform their physical activity into lifesaving nutrition that UNICEF delivers to severely malnourished children around the world. (the UNICEF Kid Power Band was named by TIME Magazine as one of the ‘Best Inventions’ of 2016).

As we did in the 2016 Annual Report, we worked under the creative direction of UNICEF’s Anna Christian to create a series of simple, bold data and information visual summaries.

UNICEF USA helps save and protect the world’s most vulnerable children. Rated one of the best charities to donate to, 90% of every dollar spent goes directly to help children. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a United Nations programme that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.

 

Workshops in India with WAN-IFRA

I’ll be in India on December 12-20 teaching workshops for local newspapers and journalists, organized by WAN-IFRA (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers). This is the schedule:

  • December 13, Bangalore: One-day print infographics for Prajavani (Kannada language daily newspaper) and Deccan Herald (English daily).
  • December 14-15, Hyderabad: Two-day public workshop on infographics and data visualization (one day print, one day online).
  • December 16, 17, and 19, Kottayam (Kerala state): Three-day workshop with two days of online infographics and one day of print infographics for Malayala Manorama Daily (Malayalam language newspaper), The Week (English language magazine) and Manorama online (online portal).

I’m looking forward to look at the quickly changing landscape of Indian infographics after my previous workshops in India almost three years ago.

 

Infographics workshop in Amsterdam

We’ll probably have workshops in Taiwan and Singapore before the end of the year, but it’s never too soon to announce the next one in Europe: next February I’ll be again in Amsterdam (Netherlands) teaching a two-day workshop on infographics for print and online. It’s organized by Graphic Hunters, an initiative by Goof van de Winkel that provides training on graphical literacy, infographic storytelling, online data visualization and more in the Netherlands with international trainers.

Here is some additional information on the workshop, which will take place on February 8 and 9, 2018. No previous experience is required. The course is suited to anyone who’s interested in learning how to communicate effectively through data visualization and infographics. It could appeal to graphic designers, editors, communications or marketing professionals, data analysts and/or researchers. It’s a mix of theory and lots of hands-on exercises where we’ll look at some principles of visual storytelling, design, best practices with charts and maps, tools and key concepts in interactive and data visualization, and more.

The class is taught in a beautiful location (Mmousse) in a downtown canal house on one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful canals, around the corner of the central station. The idea is to have a relatively small group. I did a version of the workshop in the same space two years ago (photo below).

Here is a testimonial (translated from Dutch)

The two day workshop Information Graphics For Print and Online was very inspiring and helped us (myself and my colleagues) very much. The organization of the workshop was excellent. In a nice location with a nice working environment and good lunches! The group of students was great. Large enough to have many different angles. And small enough to have a lot of personal interaction. Additionally, it is very nice to get in touch with people with similar interests (dataviz!), but completely different backgrounds. The course leader provided a wealth of experience and knowledge, and offered space to mess as a group with the matter. In addition to the inspiration, we learned to work with different visualization tools and get better visualizations. The extra that the course leader, Juan Velasco, added, were the aspects of dataviz that make it a classic craft. Or even an art form. Rid of all the fancy tools you can use today, and then you come back to the essence again. I recommend it to everyone!”

If you are interested in attending, please contact Goof van de Winkel at info@graphichunters.nl.

Finally, you’ll find a cool note on Graphic Hunters’ website: since they work with trainers from abroad who travel by plane to the Netherlands specifically for the training, CO2 emissions from these trips are compensated by Graphic Hunters by contributing to Trees for All. Great idea!

 

 

 

 

Catalogs of chart types

The Data Viz Project is a new online catalog of different types of charts created by Ferdio, an infographics studio in Denmark. It’s a useful resource to help decide appropriate types of visualization for any given dataset (another thing is to decide which one will be the most insightful and revealing when you have multiple options). You can view and sort by type, function or shape.

Each type of chart includes a description, a good gallery of real-life examples, and a very simple description of the type of data input needed to create that type of chat, in a table format (what you would input in Excel, for instance).

The Data Viz Project is the latest of many efforts to classify and catalog different ways of visualizing data. Another excellent online resource is the Data Visualization Catalogue, developed by Severino Ribecca, which we often show in our workshops.

Ribecca teamed up with Jon Schwabish in another project to create the Graphic Continuum, a nicely designed poster taxonomy of different types of charts, and how they all relate to each other. You can read more about it here.

The Graphic Continuum

And here is yet another similar effort by Andrew Abela, which shows different possibilities depending on your purpose when showing the data.

Here is one by Anna Vital that is not strictly about charts but is interesting because it looks at visual analogies and metaphors that can help us think of ideas to visualize information.

If you are looking for a truly comprehensive reference guide on different types of visualization with charts and maps, our hands-down favorite is still the book Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference, by Robert L. Harris. The 450-pages book is a massive reference encyclopedia with hundreds of entries, examples and cross-references about different chart, map and diagram types, as well as statistical and visualization methods. The latest edition is from 2000 but it’s still the “Bible” of reference on visualization.

 

 

Free data journalism courses in Learno

Here is a very useful quality resource for anyone interested in data journalism, data visualization and journalism on the web. LEARNO.NET is a website with free video courses for media professionals, journalism students and “anyone with a public-interest mission and a journalistic mindset”. LEARNO.NET is an initiative of the European Journalism Centre (EJC), a non-profit foundation dedicated to strengthen journalism by providing tools and resources, including training.

EJC also runs DataDrivenJournalism.net, a hub for news, resources and networking in data journalism.

Many of the available courses are related to data visualization and infographics, with a focus on how to effectively work with data and produce compelling data stories. They range from simple introductions to advanced skills. Instructors are among the very best in their specialties, including Alberto Cairo, Maarten Lambrechts, Simon Rogers and more.

The list of available courses is short but very compelling. Three are very recent:
Cleaning Data in Excel, by Maarten Lambrechts
Data visualization, journalism and the web: mistakes we made so you don’t have to, by Jonathon Berlin
Going viral using using social media analytics, by Stijn Debrouwere

And these are the rest:
Doing journalism with data: first steps, skills and tools, by Paul Bradshaw, Alberto Cairo, Steve Doig, Simon Rogers and Nicolas Kayser-Bril
Charting tools for the newsroom, by Maarten Lambrechts (upcoming)
Verification: the basics, by Craig Silverman and Claire Wardle
Managing data journalism projects, by Jacopo Ottaviani
Google search for journalists, by Nicholas Whitaker
– Bulletproof data journalism, by Stijn Debrouwere

It’s great initiative and we are hoping to see more courses in the near future.