I like to insist that Washington, D.C. was built on a swamp, despite some evidence to the contrary. How else can one justify the carnivorous mosquitos, humidity, heat and all-around swampiness that pervades the nation’s capital? Maybe I’m being ornery, but being a bike commuter in DC does that to you. So last week, when the temperature dropped from 105 to the upper 80s… well, let’s just say that this was appropriate fodder for a light-hearted infographic designed by me for everyone who shares my hate/love relationship with summer.
Football fans, it’s Euro Cup 2012 time. If you live in the U.S., like me, prepare to justify your existence to people who prefer to watch other sports. If you live in other countries, I celebrate your freedom to share your joy with anyone within spitting distance. Lucky you.
But surely what unites all of us is the onslaught of football-related infographics, complete with awesome Photoshop cutouts of players, images of the coiffed Ronaldo, exploding piecharts and Pinterest boards too numerous to mention. Thus far, I haven’t found any graphics as funny as the Onion’s World Cup 2010 interactive, but it’s early, so I’m still hopeful–there’s a lot of Photoshop licenses out there.
Aside from logistics, there’s the ongoing boycott petition in Germany, sponsored by a GLBT group (and Germany’s first openly gay football player) in protest of the Ukraine president’s refusal to denounce his country’s laws which criminalize homosexuality. The petition asks Angela Merkel to follow France and the UK’s example and boycott the Euro Cup (as foreign dignitaries). We’ll see, she says. This isn’t an infographic, per se, but it’s a visual statement nonetheless.
And then there is this, kindly brought to us by the gambling community (reminding us that betting is a huge part of football):
One of my favorite football-related infographics is always the slew of stadium infographics and maps, each one looking suspiciously like high-tech UFOs (why did I say that? Is there any other kind of UFO?). This year is no different. When the little green men/women/whosamawhatsit come to visit, they’ll feel right at home in one of these:
And then there’s the Spanish team buzz on social media. Well, it is what it is. Go Spain!!!
Hmmm. File under… data visualization? Tag as zombies, survival, humor?
The Map of the Dead – Zombie Survival Map was built with HTML5’s geolocation functionality, the Google Places API, and Google Maps’ stylized maps feature. Designed by Doejo, It’s simple and, though it could have used a more robust feature-set (those little place icons could tell a good story), it nonetheless has a clean, simple interface and three toggling map views (map, danger zone and no danger zone).
Remember Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries in 200 Years, the four-minute snippet of the Joy of Stats documentary? If only all data visualizations could convey the energy of this passionate four-minute narration, we wouldn’t be be writing cheeky/snarky commentaries on bad infographics–we’d all be learning R or something, I guess.
Perusing the interwebs in search of entertainment, accuracy and clarity, and lamenting the fact that my toddler has encroached upon my ability to watch uninterrupted fútbol, I came across a nice example of tree mapping–clear and to the point. More importantly, it shows where the Premier League spent its precious pounds on transfer players in 2011. Wondering if we’ll see more transfer scandals like Tevez and West Ham, but that’s a different blog, I suppose.
If you’re interested in tree maps, read the 10 Lessons in Treemap Design by Juice Analytics. Yes, it was written waaaay back in 2009 but still holds true, IMHO.
Stumbled across Bob LeDrew’s post on bad, bad infographics (the extra “bad” is mine). Point well-taken. Bad infographics, Bob writes, follow the same cycle as most technologies or skills that begin with a small group of people with specialized knowledge, then become corrupted by the great unwashed masses who insert their own opinions and tawdry styles (in the case of infographics and data viz, this would be opinions on colors, typography, composition and–egads–data). Okay, Bob was not being nearly as cheeky as I am–he was making a good point. Good infograpics have gone bad.
I suppose it’s tempting for eager designers to vomit up some large fonts, colors and a few rows of Excel and call it a day.
Heck, I’ve done it. It’s fun. I also remember learning Photoshop back in 1995 or so and using the hell out of the “Clouds” filter for a few weeks. And the day I discovered Myriad and didn’t stop using it for two years (still do).
So, where was I going with all of this? Oh, right. Bad infographics. My point–Bob’s right, sort of. But I also think that it is really, really cool that there are so many people out there that are actually interested in information. Bob links to Doug Haslam’s hysterical Pinterest board “Infographic Crimes Against Humanity.” I laughed until I cried, and then I cried some more. And then I posted some of them as my favorites. On Facebook, even. Really, I did. Sorry Doug. But the beer ones were pretty good. And then there’s PhD in Facial Hair. Made. My. Day. My beloved partner’s assessment of these two infographics, by the way? “I kind of like it, but I don’t know anything.”