Category Archives: Blog post

3 Acts of becoming a man

 
 

Act 1

 

It was my first proper big life adventure.  Leaving the familiar 46 square miles of St Helena, travelling for 2 weeks across 5,000 miles of ocean.  I was stepping into my childhood dream – to study Fine Art at University in the UK.

It was scary not knowing how bank cards or mobiles worked.  But being able to buy any kind of fruit all year round was new. Mostly, is was exciting. Learning how to develop photos, making prints, and learning about fashion.  It was going well.

Then it happened.  My grandfather died.  He was my father figure.  The man who taught me about family.  Made me a football fan, and showed me why we need to be part of the community in which we live.  He would no longer be there to guide me.  Unable to travel back for the funeral, uselessly disconnected from my families grief.  I was angry, confused and sad. I was a kid.

___

 

Act 2

 

Back living back on St Helena, not quite a struggling artist, but a struggling designer instead, with a day job to pay the rent.  Living with the love of my life, feeling like a grown up, learning about adult things like tax and getting to work on time.  I was busy enjoying island life and love.

Then it happened.  My brother died.  We fought like brothers do, however, he showed me how to be a calmer person, how not to judge others too quickly, and the value of being clever.  Being on St Helena now, I was able to help make funeral arrangements, able to be the one to tell our young cousins he had died, able to share in the families and friends grief.  There to help and to support my mum.  I was a teenager.

___

 

Act 3

 

Now married to the love of my life, working as a digital designer, once again living in the UK. We had gotten to know our city and our community.  Life was filled with friends love, energy and colour – with the occasional sunshine.  Life in lovely Bristol was great.

Then it happened.  My mum died.  Travelling across air and sea for 4 days and 5,000 miles, I returned to St Helena to say goodbye and bury her.  Our relationship was difficult at times – I struggled to always understand her motivations.  But she did her best as a single parent, and she did alright.  I wouldn’t be writing this if not for the determination she nurtured in me, the unknown sacrifices she made, and her love.  I had to make every decision for the arrangements.  I had to decide what to do with the remain’s of 56 years of life.  I had to be the steadfast person, that focal point for whom family and friends directed their grief.  I had to think of others before myself.  And then I had to continue living life….  I feel like a man now.

 

becoming-a-man-bottom

 
 
 
 
 

Cool Infographics book

Cool Infographics book

 

Cool Infographics book

 

Cool Infographics has a new book!  Written by Randy Krum (the lovely Gentleman who runs coolinfographics.com) and published by Wiley, this new book discusses everything you would ever need to produce excellent story driven cool infographics.

Compressively covering all infographic related subjects from its design (including design resources), creating compelling data driven narritives, online and SEO considerations, along with many more important yet often overlooked details, all using practical and clear examples and inspiration.

This book offers something relevant for anyone interested or working in the infographic field – from the expect to the newcomer. It is a MUST READ to understand how infographics work on the web today, and how they can be used to tell captivating visual stories.

You can grab your copy today from here.

 


Ikea Sign

IKEA Infographics

 

IKEA Infographics

 

The big blue and yellow monster know around the world as a merchant of all things Swedish, at just affordable prices, gets infographics.

Cleverly incorporated into labelling these infographics add that little extra bit of information to inform – turning a potential buyer into a proud owner.  Below is a selection I found on a recent visit to my local store.

 

IKEA infographics

The first infographic a customer would most likely encounter on a visit to IKEA would be the showroom floor plan. Showing how you are meant to move through the showroom, and the locations of the different sections, it helps you navigate through the maze of choice.  Take note Macy’s, this makes for an enjoyment visit.

 
 


 

IKEA infographics

Used on the labelling signage for living room furniture sets, the full range of the set is visualised for the customer.  Done using icons, complemented with numbers to reinforce what that item is.  One of my favourites – simple and informative, zero need to enquire what is available in the range.

 


 

IKEA infographicsInfographics are used sparingly within the wider visual display of the store.  However, here they are used to draw attention to a dining start set – done in the same style as the living room sets.  A rather nice touch of this display is the numbering on the set itself –  just about creating a real world infographic.

 

 

 

 


 

IKEA infographicsThe display ideas are also carried across to the package on the box for the product.

 

 


 

IKEA infographics

Here is the front of a cooker, using icons to display the different types of controls.  Using icons in this manner is not new, however I just like the linear flow of this presentation.


IKEA infographics

In the bedroom is where the fun is found.  Using icons to visualise the size of the bedding, the people complemented with the labels create a fun and relatable way to look at your bedding requirements.

 


 

IKEA infographics

This fun informative style is continued on the right of this image, which shows what type of pillow that product is.  Whereby the figure is used to visually support and illustrate the usage of the product.

On the left the image shows the firmness of a mattress, normally the first thing a customer would check for.  Here the information is presented as the second largest item on the label giving the customer a clear reference point of the firmness, so they doesn’t have to work hard to find it.


 

IKEA infographics

Continuing with bedding a thermometer is used to indicate the weight of that duvet, combined with full weight written out.  It creates both a visual break in an otherwise heavy text label, and a visual reference the customer is familiar with.


 

IKEA infographics

A fun board within the ligthing department showing the different types of bulbs available – broken down wattage and type.  Presenting the information in a clear useful way, so the customer can see the choices available or quickly find what they are looking for.

 


 

IKEA infographicsLooking at a different type of lighting and to my surprise the labelling for candles also carry infographics.

 

 

 


 

IKEA infographicsStepping out into the garden, infographics are used to show information about individual plants.  Shown in this example is the size of pot required for the plant, the type of light it needs, temperature range and the volume of water required.


 

IKEA infographics

Another lighting example, showing the contents of a solar lighting pack.

 


 

IKEA infographics

The idea of visualising set contents is even extended and applied to kids toys.

 

 

 

 

These are just some examples I found.  If you discover more, please add them to the flickr group.

 


Soviet Era Infographics

 

Soviet Era Infographics

 

A collection of vintage infographics from Soviet era Russia.  Based around what appears to be industrial activities (I do not speak Russian, so based this assumption on the imagery used on posters) they seem to be highlighting the growth – if anyone knows the transition do let me know.

Do love the mood of these posters with layering of imagery even if the data presentation on some is woolly at best (propagandaviz if you will) it’s an interesting look at how governments have used infographics to tell stories.

 

Soviet infographics poster

Rise in the national material welfare, 1961-1980

All the bar charts appear to go from 1 to 4, but all a little different heights.

 

Soviet infographics poster

Transformation of the socialist system into a decisive factor of world development

Do love the bottom bar chart visual (great inspiration!).

 

Soviet infographics poster

General perspective of USSR industrial development, 1961-1980 – production goals

A grid of charts where they all are look visualising similar but have huge differences in their values.

 

Soviet infographics poster

Master plan of development of the USSR’s agricultural sector, 1961-1980

Upwards and onwards to space perhaps. Do like the energy of this visual.

 

Soviet infographics poster

Collapse of the colonial system of imperialism

Having fun with percentages.

 

Soviet infographics poster

New strain on capitalism’s general crisis

Fun with circles and bars, even if the circles make sense, the bars do not.

 

Soviet infographics poster

General perspective of USSR industrial development, 1961-1980 – capital investment

What do the pies mean? Seriously what is it showing?

 

Soviet infographics poster

Rise of agricultural production, 1956-1960

Building relationship with colour and flow.  The bottom left is nice is it growth, but its opposite in top right uses similar sized bars for different values – oh dear.

 

Soviet infographics poster

Fighting against illegal alcohol!

Zero idea what the text says but the mixing of imagery and type  stays with you layered with the data.

 

Thanks to Duke University Libraries for hosting these as part of their Russian Posters Collection.

 


The Power of Visual Storytelling for Education

 

The Power of Visual Storytelling for Education

 

Presented as part of WOW 2012 Virtual Technology Conference it is a theme-based narrative presentation looking at how visual storytelling could be used in an educational context to possibly make learning more engaging.  Showing some of the new digital storytelling methods and their potential application in education.

Would like to thank the organisers for having me speak at their conference, its was a real pleasure.
 

 


Infographics in the wild

 

Infographics in the wild

Infographics are very vogue at the moment – they are everywhere 😉  I love them and over the past few weeks I’ve been happily snapping examples in the wild.  Below are a few examples I have found, some unexpected, some not so good, and some that try, but don’t quite make it.

 

 


Why are Infographics Important?

 

Why are Infographics Important?

 

Recently I was contracted by Sophie from Blue Latitude, to see if I would be interested in presenting to the company about infographics.  Sure I thought, I love talking about infographics.  Then she shared the theme for the presentation – Why are Infographics Important?

Boom! Any initial confidence I was feeling about having to talk to strangers destroyed with 4 words.  With such a subjective question, I have tried to capture where my thoughts are at the moment as it relates, trying also to target the audience with the presentation embedded below.  This is a snapshot of present thoughts which will no doubt have evolved by next week, my intention is to use this a base to continue thinking around this question.

 

 

If you have an thoughts or comment, do leave a comment.

 


The Manual #1

 

The Manual #1

 
The Manual is an exquisitely crafted journal discussing the web design profession, where the creators love shines on every page.  A love which invades your mind space. Reading like a call to arms challenging my thinking, while purposing solutions along with starting points from which to explore new ideas.  6 articles, 6 lessons shout out at me, invading my process.

Dan Rabin carried me back to my youth, a world full of fascination and possibility, destroying carefully formed and curated ideas – it’s wonderful.

Writing about the development of the web – how print conventions have crossed over and become part of the web process – webpage, below the fold are all similar. These print conventions have quietly been influencing web design choices. It doesn’t have to be this way. The screen is a window with the potential of infinite visual promise. Tim Berners-Lee talked about a network of connected information, referring to information as ‘nodes’ more than pages or documents. From this day forth I think in ‘nodes’.

Solidifying this thought, Frank Chimero writes, “The web is people all the way down”. Elegantly explaining himself – ‘The web is complex and shallow, people are simple and complex’, I say, think of the user as a person and not as a data point. Respect and embrace that challenge, don’t be fearful of where that might lead.

Simon Collison enforces with process.  Calling for all to craft something. Tools don’t make craftsmen, understand the goals of the project, solve these using visual grammar.

I have always held a steadfast belief in the value of ‘shut up and listen’ – you learn more. Jon Tan enforces this with a gripping real life account, giving a lesson to respect others and not to impress your values or needs onto others for “they surprise you with their smiles”.

Liz Danzico and The Standardistas both present similar thoughts. Liz writes about how a design is about choice – the things you leave out says as much about the design and process as they things you include. Which the Standardistas telling me to be more critical and analytical in my thinking and approach.

The Manual #1 has become a personal manifesto of sorts, constantly challenging my thinking and process. Pointing at new avenues of explorations, never letting me settle.

Thank you Fiction for publishing such a work, to the authors for sharing your words, and to Andy McMillan, Carolyn Wood, and Jez Burrows for creating The Manual.

Looking forward to The Manual #2.

(The image above is my copy with notes).