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Data stories - how to combine the power storytelling with effective data visualization
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Storytelling with Data Visualization

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Does your data tell a story and can you visualize it? We look at the history and thought processes behind data visualization and successful infographics.

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Storytelling with Data Visualization

  1. 1. HISTORY
  2. 2. Infographics are by no means a new invention. There are many examples of infographics used in cartography, science and journalism, often dating back to the 19th century. This example was created by undergraduate students of W.E.B. Du Bois made for an exhibit at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. ➔
  3. 3. Here’s a brilliantly simple but powerful war time poster that dates back to 1917.
  4. 4. This diagram dates back to the 1840s and depicts the spread of Cholera in relation to the temperature in London. A theory that was later proved to be incorrect, but nonetheless, the study paved the way for the first national system for collecting statistics and a more data-driven approach to public health.
  5. 5. The Titanic spawned many visualizations – often to help people put the scale of the ship into context. One of my favorites is this simple 1912 rendition of the ship hitting the iceberg in relation to a train of the same era.
  6. 6. Some say that the London tube map is one of the most successful infographics of all time. Designed by Harry Beck in 1933, he realized that geographical accuracy was less important to passengers who simply needed to plan a journey as easily as possible.
  8. 8. Before artwork is considered, it’s important to analyze your data set and agree on what kind of infographic is most suitable. Should it be one main visual or a mixture of many? This can also depend on the final medium the graphic is presented in (i.e. Web only, print, TV, etc.). Infographics can be categorized into these five areas: ILLUSTRATIVE PROPORTIONAL TIMELINE MAP LIST
  9. 9. Good for simple visuals and quick facts. For example this well illustrated graphic explaining land use for an agricultural company. ILLUSTRATIVE
  10. 10. Visuals that are relatable on a human level. For example, this graphic from the Slow Journalism magazine depicts the area of public parks in proportion to some city centres.
  11. 11. Visualizing the history of something. This example explores the history of video game consoles over time.
  12. 12. Applying data to maps. This example is an ambitious visual of chain pizza restaurants in the USA. MAP
  13. 13. Using type effectively in lists or tables. Another example from the Slow Journalism magazine demonstrates how type was used to show the success of films in 2014.
  15. 15. Sketch out your idea on paper before digital artworking begins, you could save yourself/ a co-worker a heap of time! Work out what your “killer fact” is — what is the main purpose of the infographic? Validate your data and make sure your sources are credible Optimize the scope of your data and keep it interesting — not too much and not too little Present as beautifully as possible — design is key!
  17. 17. The best infographics, which are trying to convey a message, assist the viewer by putting that data into some sort of relatable context. We’ve all the heard the expressions people use when trying to put something to a scale: “it’s about the size of 3 football pitches”… “it’s about as tall as the Eiffel Tower” etc. Here’s a great example a visual that depicts a blue whale:
  19. 19. Infographics are evolving. There are new flavors of visuals that are emerging such as 3D infographics that use real photography. Even physically printed infographics made with 3D printers can create some amazing results.
  20. 20. What about interactive infographics? Check out this horizontal scrolling site about the future of car sharing.
  21. 21. Read this post on our FinTech Blog
  • DaveWolf2

    Jun. 9, 2019
  • FAlessandroMBerga

    Feb. 14, 2018
  • threefour

    Nov. 2, 2017
  • jennifer_evans2

    May. 27, 2017
  • shup

    Mar. 23, 2015

Does your data tell a story and can you visualize it? We look at the history and thought processes behind data visualization and successful infographics. Read the blog post at:


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