Author: arielmaedesign

Information Design Blog 6

When I saw this information graphic about Se7en Summits, I was immediately attracted to it. I enjoy the layering of information on the photo background, the photos of each mountain listed within the triangular shapes, and the clean white text. The data is laid out in a way that I immediately understood that the graph was showing the elevation of seven mountains. Elevation is listed on both sides of the chart; one side is in feet while the other is in meters. The name of each mountain is listed above its peak with its precise elevation, in addition to the name of the continent on which the mountain is located. Each continent had its highest mountain depicted on the chart and underneath the chart are world rankings of the heights of the mountains shown. I think this information has great visual form and hierarchy. My eye flows through the chart easily and the image feels balanced. I think it was clever that the designer used mountain shapes to display the elevation information in the graph. 



This brightly colored information graphic that I found on the side of an Emergen-C box suggests how I should fix the nutritious drink. In the cup of Emergen-C shown, there are dotted red lines to show the differences in ounces of water used. I liked how the levels of ounces in the chart had different levels of saturation. The top level is a much less saturated orange than the bottom level because it is the most diluted. It makes sense that when there is less water there is more flavor and I can see this depicted visually in the cup chart. One thing that I don’t care for about this information graphic is the red glow on the type and the cup, which seems more like decoration than necessary to the information. 


Coffee and Popcorn

Coffee in Rome
There are differences between the coffee served in Rome and the coffee found in a cafe in America. Luckily with the help of this data visualization, I will know just what to order. The poster has a visible grid structure with an assortment of beverages that are categorized. I think the mixing of illustration and photography works fine in this poster. The line weight is consistent in each of the beverage icons. The coffee beans, the cup of coffee, and the stain all help the subject come alive. You can practically smell a fresh pot of coffee brewing. There is a key that explains the colors used in the beverages. The division between hot and cold beverages is barely noticeable unfortunately. To add more clarity, the designer added icons to show that the beverages were either steaming or were served cold. It came as a surprise to me that a latte in Rome has no coffee in it at all! Image from:



Popcorn Instructions
The back of a popcorn bag is a piece of information design that I have seen many times but I have never closely examined it before. The instructions show and tell how to microwave the popcorn and open the bag effectively. The illustrations have a consistent style and minimal color. I think the word “pop” in the illustration engages the hearing sense of the person reading the information. The modules of information are bunched together and there is a lot of text. The last frame showing how to open the bag carefully is given more space than the other instructions. The instructions read from left to right in a way that makes sense. 


Information Design blog 4

I was perusing a magazine today when this page of information design caught my eye. At first, the dominant European countries map and the color usage drew me in. As a whole, the article talks about abortion policies in European counties and in America. The layout of information is nice, the narrative is interesting, there is good balance, and the icons below the map are consistent. However, upon closer examination of the map, I was disappointed that the colors and patterns used to make up the countries had no specific meaning. It would have been helpful if color codification had been used. For example, the countries with a 12-week abortion ban could have the same color or pattern. This would make the information easier to comprehend and would add some consistency. Currently, the map’s only purpose is to show where the countries are located while the important information is found in the text blocks. The main reason for creating the information graphic in the first place was to show the comparison between European policies on abortion compared to American policies. In my opinion, the information is there and the design is visually interesting, but the graphics could do a better job of presenting the comparison.


This poster is a fun way to tell about the life of a designer. I enjoy the combination of white graphics and text with the photo. The narrative is engaging and I think the way that the lines interact with the design tools at the bottom is visually appealing. The poster uses line graphs, bar graphs, and circular charts to display information. The drawings of the tools used by the designer could have been more iconic and more consistent with the other graphics. The drawings, bar graphs, and line graphs have similar line weights but the circular charts seem very heavy. In my opinion, this poster could benefit from a clearer visual hierarchy and more spacing between the modules of information. The text could also be simplified or perhaps even spread out because I doubt that many viewers would take the time to read the three paragraphs that are displayed. Overall I think the idea of visually displaying the information in this manner is very creative. Image from:


Information Through Wordless Graphics

Explanation graphic from the web:
Instead of step-by-step written instructions, this explanation graphic shows the viewer how a grapefruit should be eaten in a series of wordless images. The illustration style is consistent throughout all the panels and I like the simplicity of graphics. It is easy to move through the information because it is simply viewed left to right and feels similar to a comic book. The image is in black and white, which I think was a good choice made by the designer. Nigel Holmes once said, “introduce color only when the information requires it to clarify a point or to focus the reader’s eye on the point.” In this explanation graphic, adding color would only distract from the simple imagery. Words are unnecessary in this graphic because the information that is shown could be comprehended by a variety of people from different cultures.



Found explanation graphic:
This explanation graphic is one that I found among a set of instructions that came with a backup drive I recently invested in. The images show how my new backup drive is a portable solution to saving all my important files. The arrows suggest that I can unplug my device, place the items in my bag, and be ready to go. Similar to the explanation graphic previously mentioned, this graphic is a series of images and contains no words. In addition to the colors black and white, the designer chose to use the color red to highlight the actions. I have noticed that in many packages containing electronics, there are information graphics such as these because it is useful for the multilingual audience. Instead of explaining in twenty different languages how useful the product may be, there is one information graphic like this one that will suffice. 


Navigation and Comparison Information

Navigation Information
Using phonebooks these days is just not as practical as it once was and I don’t know of many people that use phonebooks anymore except for my grandfather. If you have perused a phonebook recently, you have seen the variety if information they contain, including maps, advertisements, and of course columns of telephone numbers. I found this bit of information in the maps section of a phonebook. This example shows a map of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Maps such as this one are useful when navigating the airport because finding one’s way to a terminal can be a stressful event, especially if one is running late and the plane is about to take off. This infographic has a key that labels the icons that are used to depict the atrium, security checkpoints, and restrooms. The layout is fairly simple, including clean sans-serif type and minimalistic icons. It appears that information has been kept to a minimum but it would be nice to have distances labeled somewhere on the map so that a travelers might know how long it would take them to get from the main terminal to concourse c. Transit information about how to get to the north and south satellites, is listed in a text box in the right corner. The colors are not outstanding but they serve their purpose. Overall the map is laid out in a way that makes sense for the amount of information it is displaying. 



Information that Compares Ratios 
Talent Traffic data visualization is an interesting way of showing ratios between these major companies. Different colored cars represent the ratio of employees that transition from one company to another. I thought this was a clever icon that helped the data make more sense to me. The designer has indicated the paths between the companies using thin dotted lines that reach between the large circles, which increase the eye flow around the data. Each large circle contains a color and a company name. Black directional arrows placed beside the ratios indicate whether or not the company has a net gain of employees. To aid in further understanding of the information displayed, each company has its own color and the cars with the company color are the ones that have transitioned to the “parking lots” of the other companies. From this data visualization it is clear to see that the two companies that have the highest ratios of transitioning employees within this data set are Facebook and LinkedIn. I like the hexagonal shape of this data visualization and I think the color-coding is nicely done. 


Maps and Narratives – information made accessible

Information design is a category of graphic design that is specifically used to present information with efficiency, in order for clear understanding on the part of the viewer. Some say that information design has its origins in cartography or map making. This Seattle Bicycling Guide map is a quantitative display of information because the map shows measured distances. This map accurately depicts streets, parks, and landmarks in Seattle. Different biking routes have been color-coded and arrow symbols have been placed on the selected routes to plainly indicate which direction a bicyclist should travel. The colored routes help viewers to easily identify which course they will need to take. City sections and streets have been clearly labeled and a few text boxes emphasize important information about some of the routes.

Seattle map

This second example of information design is more in depth than a map and since it has a narrative, it is very useful in answering questions. This infographic, Urban Matters, is a colorful and informative way of showing viewers the factors that make sustainable and thriving cities. I enjoy the integration of charts with the city illustration and the clear information hierarchy. The icons effectively communicate information and aid the viewer in understanding information quickly yet efficiently.  The charts have been organized well and despite the load of information, the statistics have been spaced out in a way that makes the design seem detailed instead of overwhelmingly busy. Statistics have been separated into modules but the illustration helps to unify the whole design.  The audience can successfully find the key factors of a thriving city and can examine predictions of what cities will be like in the future.

Urban Matters

This infographic is from