Not so surprisingly, the recurring theme of simplicity pops up:
At the Times, we generally err on the side of clarity, versus aesthetic. The simplicity we try to achieve is an aesthetic in itself.
– Archie Tse, Graphics Editor
Here’s a snappy doodle-based explanatory editorial on America’s favorite fightin’ words, from Dan Roam’s Back of the Napkin Blog:
(Incidentally, Roam’s book The Back of the Napkin is a great guide to explaining and problem-solving through simple sketches.)
If you liked that, you might want to fund Health Reform: A Visual Explanation. Chicago artist Ray Noland is seeking investors for a series of animated infographic movies to explain the issues:
We are asking to raise 5k to get started on this project by the time Congress is back in session in September. Ultimately, we will need a bit more to complete the series. As we produce more we are hoping to garner additional support to continue. Our goal is to explain the minutiae of the forth-coming Health Care Reform bill for ourselves and for YOU.
Here’s another terrific explanatory video. This one meshes stop-motion animation with infographics to explain the importance of eating local food (in this case, Canadian local food).
CRUSH creative director Gary Thomas explains what was involved in creating the video here:
We have done other interactive pieces, but this was far and away the biggest single project. For a start, it’s nearly three minutes long, involved a twenty hour shoot with two sets of stop frame animation, a month of CG pre viz where we literally built every shot in CG ahead of time so that everyone could be a part of the process. The schedule had a really tight finishing schedule so we really needed to have all the nuts and bolts worked out before the shoot.
We had a lot of Crush on this project at various points. Stefan Woronko and myself were initially responsible for the creative direction on the Crush side, taking the hard dry statistics and finding different ways to present them in our “world” (a family dinner table). We then added Yoho Yue and Gav Patel who added design and animation elements. The CG team consisted of department head Aylwin Fernando (who didn’t sleep very much), and a team four other animators. We also had four Flame artists led by Greg Dunlop who tracked cleaned roto’d and composited all the shots. We had Kim Knight at Crush Cuts as our editor so we were able the process streamlined.
Web Designer Depot put together an excellent round-up of online data visualizations — that is, graphical representations of information. From the post:
Wrapping your brain around data online can be challenging, especially when dealing with huge volumes of information. And trying to find related content can also be difficult, depending on what data you’re looking for. But data visualizations can make all of that much easier, allowing you to see the concepts that you’re learning about in a more interesting, and often more useful manner.
I especially like the many examples of visualizations that change in real time to communicate ever-changing data, such as Web traffic.
MondayDots is a new blog with a promising focus: explanatory videos built around simple dots. Creator Jeff Monday’s inaugural video explains why General Petraeus was uniquely suited to effect change in the Iraq War.
Monday credits cartoonist explainer extraordinaire Scott McCloud with inspiring the people-as-dots approach. One of McCloud’s key notions in Understanding Comics is that making a character more “cartoony” can make the character more accessible. Essentially, the less specific a character image is, the easier it is to project yourself into that character.
Monday is sprinting with this idea, making his character images as open ended as possible. He explains the approach in this video:
This tidy site promoting alternative approaches to fishing exemplifies how to get a political message across: explaining the issue clearly and fully trumps hot air rhetoric every time. Nearly all the text on the site is integrated into crisp infographics, which gets you over the hurdle of making sense of a complex set of problems.
I suggest carrying a copy of this folded up in your back pocket, as heavy artillery against vague “my tax dollars” rants.
Dave came across this remarkable piece of explanation from the Street Vendor Project (SVP). As part of their mission to champion and empower New York’s 10,000+ vendors, SVP members teamed up with designer Candy Chang and The Center for Urban Pedagogy to create a series of infographic-heavy brochures that demystify regulations and other challenges for New York vendors.
Many street vendors aren’t fluent English speakers, so it’s essential the imagery in these brochures does the heavy explanation lifting. This is work from the front lines of infographics.
The full brochures aren’t available, but you can download two PDF samples from the Street Vendor Project Web site.