Webstock – Workshop Day 1

Today the Webstock 2011 Workshops kicked off. My day was all about How To Make Information Beautiful with David McCandless

Based in London, David has developed a number of infographics and took us through the steps he follows to take a concept/problem/question through to a completed infographic.

Infographics, data visualisations and information is design is a rising trend and the depth of information contained in the infographics is staggering and much of this information is generally not visible – which is the beauty and purpose of the graphics David creates.

As an example, David once decided to try to grasp the concept of ‘billions’ – David struggled with the media dealing in billions like they were common to everyone when in fact “they’re mind-boggling and near incomprehensible without context” so David set about comparing various billion dollar values to provide a context for understanding.

The creation process involves four steps:

  • Stub – an idea, image, question, dataset, problem or subject
  • Concept – an idea you can explain to someone
  • Sketch – free hand to explore the concept
  • Design – the final infographic – sometimes requiring many drafts!

An important key is to remember that “Relationships are Beautiful” and related information/data can provide a great basis for a infographic.

Once complete an infographic should be:

  • Self-sufficient
  • Optimized (not to be confused with simplified)
  • Revealing
  • Relative

The ability to display complex information and relationships in an engaging and easy to understand format in my opinion is a true talent – though that said I plan to give it a go so keep an eye out over the next few weeks.

In the meantime tomorrow’s workshop gets me into HTML5 so a bit of a change of pace I am sure but no doubt just as interesting as today.

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