Designing Data / Visual Story Telling

October 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

One definition of graphic design:

A creative process that combines art and technology to communicate idea.

We watched a video, that had Neville Brody, and many other designers explaining what graphic design was, one of the most accurate definitions given, in my eyes, was it’s “about communication through a combination of images and words”

New insights

Tracy informed us of when the use of mapping of data became a ‘new insight’ for the world, starting in 1854 with John Snow’s map of Soho’s cholera outbreak. Back in these early times the streets had cesspits which would overflow, so to tackle this the waste was dumped into the river Thames (at this point people thought cholera was an airborne illness), and as a result 127 people died, all near and around Broad Street. John Snow created a map illustrating where deaths were occurring, solving the problem by pin pointing the source of illness, that being the water pipe where everyone drank from. After this the clean water bill was introduced as people realised how clean water had to be. This is a tipping point in design history as it shows that new insights changed human behaviour, designers have the power to do this!

New knowledge
Harry Beck, like John Snow changed the world of design for the better, Beck introduced the London Underground tube map, the one we all know today. Beck beleived passengers weren’t bothered about the geographical accuracy, but were more interested in how to get from one station to another and where to change trains, he achieved this by mapping the tube routes out in a visually logical and colour coded manner for far easier readability.
Changing Behavior
David McCandless is interested about making correlations, comparisons, relations and conmnectinos with things you would’nt usually compare, an example of this is ‘The Billion Dollar/Pound-O-Gram’ (click this link for the interactive version US version):
Info is Beautiful billions
We were presented this infographic displaying the deadliest drugs – deaths vs. press coverage. I had to challenge this design however as it displays false information, this being that Cannabis caused “19*” deaths, with 92% of cases being covered by popular press, and 484% of the deaths reported – no human being has ever died as a direct cause of the use of cannabis, so to state that 19 people had died is outlandish, the fact that there is an asterisk next to the number must indicate that these are people with cannabis in there system after they had died of whatever cause, possibly. So basically don’t believe everything you read kids!
Information is beautiful
The intro titles to the film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ has amazing attention to detail, animating and morphing the typographic information into the graphic scenery, and the transitions are brilliant, making it all look seamless, watch the video below and see for yourself. The design style was influenced by Saul Bass.
This is an example of some great kinetic typograhy, from ‘FIGHT CLUB”s chemical burn scene, again taking inspiration from Saul Bass. The second video is one of my personal favourite kinetic typography videos, from the film ‘Zombieland’; I really like the mixed use of type and imagery.

Psycho 1960 intro – Hitchcock

It’s a mad mad mad world – Saul Bass

“Art & technology communicating ideas”

This image presents worldwide Facebook use:


This video shows worldwide air traffic:

Changing attitudes and behaviour

Cigarette ads from the past – have we come a long way

To this:

Another example:

An example I can think of that’s present now and on going is everything green; sustainably, with recycling now being quite a big thing in our culture.

It’s not all about pretty pictures
Marcus Harvey’s painting ‘Myra’ is a perfect example of a horrible event to be presented in this way, this was a very controversial piece of work, due to the painting being made up of children’s hand prints (Myra’s partner and herself killed 5 children), having a big impact on people, causing a big stir and having been vandalised twice! Just with the use of the medium, and no words, it had this massive controversy, which just goes to show how powerful images can be.


for some controversial adverts:

also check out

Future vision


MICROSOFT & Pranav Mistry


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