Adam Rossi

The New Global Wealth Machine

Link to Graphic

The NY Times has one of the best graphics departments of any publication in the world, and it shows it nearly every graphic they create. This piece on the movement of wealth and power broker activity is no exception, as it offers the same clean and crisp feel that the NY Times is known for.

At first glance, I had a few qualms with this graphic - firstly, it took me a few minutes to really figure out what purpose it served and how to interpret the data they were presenting. However, I think that has a lot to do with my limited knowledge of the world of Wall Street. That being said, there is a whole lot going on here and I think it would take anyone some time to make any real sense out of it. For example, the individual people along the sides have small graphics next to their heads that correspond to which deals they were involved in - a cool idea, but it seems to make it more difficult to figure out when you have to go back and forth checking each line to see what it corresponds to.

Another issue I have with this is the alignment of the floating heads. All five of the lawyers on the right are aligned with the left edge of their corresponding text, which runs along a grid. However, the advisors on the left are sort of haphazardly placed - I can see what they were going for, I guess, since some of their graphics don't fill up as much space as others, but I still think it would better to keep it consistent and clean.

In terms of the typography and layout, this is an excellent graphic. The type is clear, consistent, and bold in all the right places. The layout works great and keeps the focus on the important things as well. The colors work well together, as they always do, and make it easy to use the color coding they have put in place.

Overall, the NY Times is probably my favorite place to look for graphics like this. Even though I have a few minor criticisms, I would be proud of this if it was mine!

Maria Brundage

USA Today Snapshot

Link to Graphic (click 'Life')

I read USA Today from those free bins as often as I can, so I see at least one of these silly infographics. Call me silly, but I love them. In general, they illustrate trivial topics in a cheesy way. Most of the time, they are graphs accompanied by an illustration. I noticed this one as a rare example of the graph and illustration interacting.

Illustrations - cartoony style, appropriate for the casual subject matter. Emphasizes the shape of the graph. It is nice to see non-white people in these. Very colorful, and very cute. B+

Data/Graphic: Graphic is easy to understand, but Saturday/Sunday are the best days for family time? No one is surprised! However, the way they chose to present the data is critical to its effect. For example, if their week started on Monday, that family would not look so happy. Maybe they would have to ski instead.

Verdict: This is adorable, but perhaps the newspaper space & labor could be better used elsewhere.

Brittany Shammas

The Magic Bean Shop/The Fries that Bind Us

Link to Graphic

I was first intrigued by this graphic because I liked the colors, the design and how it was all laid out. And I thought the phrases "The Magic Bean Shop" and "The Fries that Bind Us" were catchy. Looking closer, the design attempts to cover a lot of ground, from the number of Starbucks shops worldwide to where the materials for the coffee shop come from to the amount of money McDonalds makes in comparison to other fast food companies.

I think it's a clean design that avoids clutter even though it provides a significant amount of information. I like the use of circles to represent the number of shops. I think it is telling that the entire United States is engulfed by the circles for Starbucks and McDonalds. I also thought that presenting the amount of money made by McDonalds and other countries by using logos was an interesting idea. It says a lot that the amount of money made by McDonalds dwarfs the GDP of Afghanistan, although I don't completely understand why Afghanistan's GDP is included in a graph of fast food companies.

I think it is difficult to see the lines that show the source of materials used by Starbucks. It's hard to see which countries they are coming from. I'm not sure I understand why the bars representing the number of Starbucks shops worldwide keep getting thicker and thicker. But other than that, I think this is an interesting and informative graphic. I'd give it an A.

Clark Ramsey

Why They Can't Plug That Gulf Oil Leak

Link to Graphic

At first glance this infographic looks appealing and draws you in. Then you realize there is hardly any, and I mean ANY information on it. All I know is that it is 5,000 feet down and it spews a lot of oil each day. If I had the abilities of this quality in Illustrator, I literally could have created this by reading the news ticker on CNN for 5 minutes. They mention that they are going to start drilling to stop it, but don't explain how. How they plan on drilling, now THAT would be a cool infographic. This infographic will, and obviously has, fade in with the rest of the hundreds, if not thousands, of graphics created for the oil spill.

Looking further into it, the "Construction Vessel" looks like they searched "battleship boardgame" and copy and pasted it. If you are going to label it a "construction vessel" do the research and make it look like an actual construction vessel, probably with some sort of crane mechanism, at least.

The 'oil spews' seem more of a artistic approach more than a scientific, accurate depiction. And i would have liked to have seen some sort of sense of direction, or an overhead shot to show where everything is located.

Overall, in comparison to the company that handled the oilspill, they're right on track, on par, brought their A-game. In comparison to a good infographic, fail, or at least not good, at all.

Boring, no information, old news. C - at best.

Chris Vannini

Vendor inspection report

Link to graphic

I came across this graphic a few weeks ago while surfing ESPN did a big report about the number of food vendors who were violating health inspections in ever major sports stadium in the United State and Canada. The report was very eye-opening and changed my opinion about stadium food.

Because this graphic is tied in with a story, it is easy to understand what the purpose of the map is. But if this graphic were to stand alone, it would take a bit of navigation to figure out what the point of this was.

The first part of the graphic that I liked was how you only had to scroll over an item with the mouse rather than clicking and scrolling. It made navigating the map much easier. Because of the number of stadiums in the U.S. and Canada, the map is split up in to various groups based on the percentage of vendors in violation. I had a brief problem figuring out how to find more information because I did not know I was supposed to click on the percentages on the right side. The pictures of soda cups and clipboards were a small but appreciated effect. But the most important aspect that I enjoyed on this graphic were the specific violations at each stadium. Along with what percentage of vendors were in violation, the graphic provided the specific violations at each stadium.

This graphic was very informative and very easy to navigate. By making the background to the map black, it instituted a feeling of disgust, which is exactly what the purpose of the story and the map were.


Vicari Vollmar=

Election 2010 Map

Link to Graphic

I found this graphic on the USA Today website. The graphic is a colorful map of the United States that provides information on the current statuses of House, Senate and Governor candidates in the upcoming election for each state. The map is interactive, so by waving your mouse above a state, a roll-over key appears to the right stating the state name and district number, the USA Today election rating, the candidates, the primary date and the incumbent. Each state is color-coded based on party majority, as well as divided into their respective districts. USA Today simplifies the information further by offering an option to type in a specific zip code for localized information. The graphic also allows for information per party through a scroll bar at the top of the web page. When moved, states representing the unselected party disappear.

My initial reaction to the graphic was positive, with some minor irritation towards the color scheme. While I understand it is important to represent the parties with their respective colors of red and blue, this really horrible peach color representing a tie is distracting and out of place, and flat out unattractive. Nasty peach color aside, the ease of use and information provided are excellent and easily understood. The layout is simple and clean.

While I dig this graphic and its ability to translate a wad of information in a simplistic manner, it lacks a headline, or (aside from the information box to the right) really any type for that matter. But props, regardless.

Gabi Moore

Soft Drink Industry Structure

Link to graphic

I found this graphic when a friend of mine tweeted it the other day, and my first impression was that it was huge and somewhat daunting. When you get past the size and business of the graphic, it really isn't all that complex, and is extremely informative and interesting. The bubbles are a good way to visually demonstrate the sizes of the soft drink companies, particularly to stress the point that Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper clearly dominate the soft drink world. The mapping of the different drinks is actually easy to follow when the graphic has been blown up, and it's interesting to see the origins of all the sub-brands of soft drinks, and the map includes a large number of individual drinks, so that the average user is going to be able to locate any drink they might be interested in finding. The color coding is also useful. It isn't necessarily significant as far as the main purpose of the graphic (determining which companies have the largest share of the industry), but it is interesting and makes the graphic more visually appealing and colorful.

The biggest downfall of this graphic is that it's absolutely huge. In order to look at it so it all fits on one screen, you lose some of the essential information, like the names of the companies and the drinks. Zoomed out, it's visually interesting and you can see the size comparisons well, but you lose most of the text. When you zoom into the graphic, you can see all of the brand and soft drink names, but you're not getting a view of the industry as a whole, and it's more difficult to compare drink companies to one another. The intricacy of the design can't be appreciated when you're looking at the big picture, but you sacrifice parts of the graphic to get more information.

Overall, it's an excellent graphic. It's clean and well organized, and it looks really cool, especially when zoomed out. It also provides interesting information through visuals, which really is the point of an information graphic. I also like that there are different levels to it, you can get a lot of information or a little. You can look at it quickly and see immediately who the biggest companies are, or you can spend more time looking into it and discovering the different types and names of soft drinks that come from each company. The color coding also shows which types of soft drinks certain companies put most of their focus in. I would give the graphic an A.

Taylor Carlson

BlackBerry vs. iPhone

Link to graphic

What first grabbed my attention with this graphic were the two “cartoon-ish” graphics of the two opposing phones. I thought it was unique and it made me want to keep looking at the graphic. In my opinion the whole graphic looked really well put together and organized into different “sections” of comparing the two smart phones (however just a bit more separation or distinction of different sections would be preferable). I liked that the color scheme stayed consistent throughout the whole information graphic, it made it look more uniform and pleasing to the eye. I think that the whole graphic relayed a ton if information about both smart phones, but without being over-whelming, which is always a great thing.

What I didn’t like about the graphic was that even though it was interesting they compared what people tweet about on each phone, they shouldn’t have made it such a dominant part of the graphic by using so much space on that topic. I feel that it is interesting to look at, but I’m not sure if it was really pertinent to the graphic when comparing two smart phones (I don’t think it really matters what type of phone you have, in my opinion it probably won’t affect what you tweet about too much). I was also not loving that it gave the information of “what do people think of their certain smart phone” based on what they have been tweeting. I think there are more accurate ways, consumer reports maybe?

Overall, I really did like the graphic, I thought it was well done and clean looking. It gave so much information without looking crowded or confusing was a big plus in my book as well.

John Matthews


Link to graphic

I first found this infographic on Digg a few months ago and I assumed it would give a simple summary of what HTML5 is and how it will be important in the future. While it does succeed in doing this, the graphic is overall too busy and somewhat daunting for it to be appealing. The major problems with the graphic are too much text and a lack of similar colors relating the same concepts throughout.

The top third introduces HTML5 and its new elements through text and four colored bars. There is a decent amount of text but it all serves a purpose and explains what it needs to. The four bars represent very different features but three of them are a shade of blue. Changing to red, blue, green, and purple would make the same points but even clearer. Also, the four bars split and then combine again to show that they are part of HTML5 but I don’t like how they combine into each other instead of all going back to the HTML5 document image. The magnifying glass with web browser image shows that HTML5 is already built into web browsers but the graphic could be removed to make more room for bigger text or more important information.

The middle third shows how ready the current and soon-to-be available web browsers are for HTML5 integration. Colored dots depict each category and its function in general internet use. The text here is again needed to explain the categories because they aren’t all self-explanatory. The colors from the dots are then shown next to the five top browsers to show if that feature is supported. Each browser has a percent of readiness next to the current and expected future readiness. I do like the 12 categories being displayed for easy comprehension and comparison between the browsers. This area, however, has two problems that bug me. The first is that the percentages do not match up with the 12 features. Chrome and Safari both support 11 features but have different percentages. This could be solved by explaining the percentages or just getting rid of them altogether. This section also has my biggest problem with the entire graphic. The colors are very similar to the ones used in the first section, but they do not mean the same things. Dark blue is used to show “Geolocation” in the top, but “Video Element” in the middle. Either the colors should be similar for similar features or completely different for all of them.

The bottom third is easily the ugliest part of the graphic because it is mostly text and the graphic is cluttered and separated. This section compares Flash to HTML5 through four criteria, but each criterion gets its own “Flash x HTML5” image, which I feel is not necessary. One chart could show both options and have checks in columns to represent the same info in less space. Also the text runs together between explaining why Flash and HTML5 are compared and the explanation for the criteria.

Megan Murphy

Storming Fallujah

Link to graphic

I stumbled upon this graphic while looking at, and I was interested in it. A little confusing at first glance, but once you read the information and get to know the map a little better, it's quite appealing.

What I like about this graphic is the little explanation they give at the very top, kind of summarizing what happened. I also like the light-up circles on the map that you can hover over to read more about that area, which helps people who might not really know where this exact location is. I also like the way you can click "continue" in the lower right-hand corner and it brings you to an actuall battle-type scene. I feel like the graphic is pretty accurate in the drawing of the battle scene - nothing looks skewed or distorted really.

One thing I didn't like about the graphic was on the battle scene page where the person decided to bold what looks like random words in the brief graphs. But in the graph to the left of the humvee they forgot to bold a word? It's pretty annoying to read. Why does "tightly packed buildings" deserve to be bold as opposed to "ambushers" or "humvees" instead of "mobile firepower"? Exactly.

I feel like the second page of the graphic is more appealing to the eye than the map portion on the first page. Most people go for the visuals rather than the numbers and arrows pointing all over the place. If the artist made the map portion look more visually appealing, I think this graphic would have a lot more to offer.

Overall I give the grahpic a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It displays the information without being too overwhelming, but it still lacks in consistency a bit, and jumps around with bold words and such. It gives the reader an inside look into what's going on in Fallujah. Overall I would consider it a good graphic.

Scott Nohl

Title: Anatomy of a mine fire

Link to graphic
I came across this image when I was browsing with the word "Fire". My first impression at first glance was pure confusion. The graphic is supposed to be showing the anatomy of a mine fire and how they are started. But what it shows is a really crammed image that is trying to show too many steps on one page. What they should have done is divided the article in two parts. So It isn't as hard on the eyes of the reader. The image is self in my opinion could have been done by a high schooler. The image lacks a good color palate and needs some more texture to really attract the reader into not only looking at the picture, but then reading the information on how this mire fire is actually started. Secondly, the image seams to be floating in the air. If there was some sort of blended background underneath the earths layers it would really complete the image instead of having the viewer have to guess that it is someone to do with the ground. Maybe have a picture of a coal mine work on the far left or even have the word "mine fire" in bigger letters with some neat typography to move from the text to image to the mine worker. In the end I would give the graphic a 2.0 out of 5. Although It does have the information labeled neatly numbered on the side of the image and on the image itself, It lacks the visual appeal of color and texture while crowding to much in one picture which confuses whoever is looking at the page. I think this person has been replaced by now .

Chandra Owen


Link to graphic
I chose this graphic because it instantly jumped out at me and made me think, “I cannot take any graphic serious that uses emoticons”. There has to be a better way to communicate information than smiley and sad faces.

At second glance I had a general idea of what they were communicating, but I still needed to read the paragraph around the graphic to truly understand the point. Why were the homes clumped the way that they were? Were the giant towers with satellite dishes significant? It looks like they took a bunch of clipart and enlarged or shrunk it. I asked another person what they thought this graphic was communicating and they thought they were describing Seasonal Affective Disorder since the rain cloud caused the sad face.

I love that they used a visual to demonstrate their point, but it definitely has room for improvement.

Sean Kellehan

Title: Fly the Fuel Efficient Flies

Link to graphic

I have been a subscriber to the print version of Good Magazine for about 2 years now and have found the overall design of the magazine to be exceptional. This graphic, as with most I’ve seen from Good, drew me in with its simple, clean, design. If you were to break it down, this is really just a bar graph, but the way it is presented is much more interesting. I like the interesting visual contrast of the seemingly hand-drawn lines and clean sans-serif font. The bright yellow really stands out from the muted blue background and makes it easy to locate the important information on the graph.

I like that the author of the graphic chose to include the percent change since 2000. Including this adds another level of data that really didn’t need to be included in the graphic. I also like how the author included different types of transportation in the graphic to compare the gas mileage to. People are more familiar with the mileage of cars (like the prius included in the graphic) so adding them makes it easier to compare the data.

What I don’t like about the graphic is the choice of putting the actual gas mileage in white. With the background being very light in some places, it’s hard to read the numbers. Sure they are also roughly shown on the meter on the side, but that is not as exact. I also question the choice of font color for the percentage data and airline names; it could be hard to read in some situations.

There’s a few small design changes I would make to the graphic, but overall I would give it an A.

Zach Berridge

Troubled Waters

Link to graphic
I'm not really sure how I came across this, but I thought it was very interesting and fit the topic well.
The thing that attracts me to this graphic is the fact that right off the bat I'm familiar with the layout. It is a map of the United States, and geographically, I can understand it. The other thing I noticed immediately was the images' simplicity. There weren't huge words or unneccesary pictures covering the map, but rather small text with intriguing dimensions. Circles are easy. I like them. It's also easy to understand that the larger the circle, the higher number of immigrants held in detentions, and the darker the circle, the higher densities of immigrants without conviction.

One of the things I don't like, or don't necessarily agree with because it becomes misleading, is the size of the populations circles in relation to the number of people they represent. For instance, when looking deeper into the image and data, the San Antonio population circle takes up nearly half of all of Texas' area. The problems is that that same circle only represents about 4,000 immigrants. That makes me think Texas' total population is around 10,000. Obviously this is kind of picky because to represent the number of people in a given state, the cirlces would realistically have to be very small which would completely defeat its purpose. I would suggest that instead of area representation, there should be little symbols that each represent maybe 500 people at a time.

Overall though, it's very easy to read and easy to understand. The point gets across partly due to mis-scaling, but also because its simple yet powerful. For someone who is interested in the number of immigrants being held at ICE detention centers in the United States (and those who weren't convicted), this image does the job. B+.

Cindy Shaw

Immigration Explorer

Link to graphic

I like that you can tell what kind of infographic this will be just from a glance. You know right away that it's a map of the
United States, and the different colors will represent different numeric amounts. It's a lot simpler to look at and will catch a reader's eye faster than a graph of the same information, or a chart cluttered with words. It was a little bit confusing though, because some of the paler colors started to look alike after a while. They are easily told apart in the key, but on the map it's harder to tell. Although it would be hard to do this for every single county in each of the states, it would have been nice if the graphic displayed more information when you clicked on one. Also, it's easy to tell which ethnicity dominates each county, but what if there was another ethnicity that came in a very close second? For instance, a county with 85% of one ethnicity would be portrayed the same as a county with 55% of the same ethnicity.

Overall, I think that the infographic does its job. It's easy to scan and pinpoint information about a specific area you'd like to know about. I like the use of different colors, but some of them start to look similar when they aren't right next to each other.