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Date: Friday, 26 Nov 2010 12:44

One of my favourite subjects of visualisations are those that deal with health and disease. At some point or another we’ll all need medical help, whether in an emergency situation or ongoing care and treatment as we age. What fascinates me is being able to see which countries offer the best medical services and their politics towards this care.

Also, tracking disease is another of my favourite forms of visualisation, and it’s been used for hundreds of years. I’m not going to mention John Snow here, but if you don’t know about his investigation into a cholera outbreak in 19th century London then you should go and read about it.


Origin of diseases — Haisem Hussein

This beautiful map charts the origins of disease, where that disease was carried to and the drop off of the contagions over distance carried.

The Cost of Health

Cost of healthcare — Good Magazine

A lovely infographic from Good Magazine shows the cost of health care per capita and their life expectancy across a range of countries.

Every country in the world approaches health care differently, but the end goal is the same: Keep citizens as healthy as possible at the lowest cost. Some countries spend a lot on health care, but see don’t see great benefits for those expenditures among their citizens. Others, at least by the metrics below, are finding ways to reach both goals. This infographic is a look at 12 countries around the world that examines how far the money they spend on health care goes toward affecting the health of their citizens.

Health Map

Interactive world health map — HealthMap.org

This neat little application monitors and tracks outbreaks of disease across the globe and plots them on a map.

NYTimes Swine Flu Cases

Tracking Swine Flu — The New York Times

More than a year old now but at the height of the swine flu outbreak this interactive infographic from the NYTimes allowed you to quickly see the frequency of outbreaks being reported plotted simply on a world map.

Visualising Health And Disease is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "Inspiration, disease, good magazine, Hai..."
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Date: Sunday, 07 Nov 2010 12:00

I’m a big film fan, especially of sci-fi that’s set in the near future. Films of this genre can have alot of future technologies on display and almost all of them usually require some sort of amazing interface to these technologies. What I like the most about these interfaces is their inspirational ability to trigger ideas.

007 Quantum Of Solace

Mission briefing screen — Quantum of Solace

Instead of just a file full of documents, James Bond in the Quantum of Solace gets his mission briefings by holographic display.

Passport preview — Quantum of Solace

Interactive briefing table — Quantum of Solace


Military waypoints — Avatar

In Avatar Jake Sully briefs Col. Quaritch on the habitat of the Navi, with holographic waypoints to mark priority areas in the 3D projection.

Glass monitors — Avatar

Excavation map — Avatar

District 9

Mothership flight controls — District 9

Tank controls — District 9

Interactive atlas — District 9

Iron Man 2

HUD showing damage taken — Iron Man 2

Inside the Iron Man suit Tony stark gets a heads up display on the status of the suit and a heat map like indicator of where the suit is taking the most damage.

Heart status — Iron Man 2

Enemy’s history — Iron Man 2

Minority Report

Digital building search — Minority Report

Video timeline computer — Minority Report

In Minority Report, Tom Cruise tries to stop future crimes by piecing together glimpses of the future on a holographic timeline interface. His hand gestures that control this interface are really something to watch.

Video timeline computer — Minority Report

Futuristic Interfaces is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "Inspiration, 3d, action, film, futuristi..."
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Date: Saturday, 06 Nov 2010 20:36

Next week at the OneDotZero festival and Internet Week Europe I’ve been asked to be a part of an educational panel on data visualisation. Along with David McCandless, Andrew Shoben and Peter Crnokrak I’ll be sharing a little of my latest work and talking through some of my experiences working with data.


The session is all sold out now, but if you’ve got tickets then come say hello. I’ll be knocking about afterwards for a chat.

Prote.in Forum 7 Invite

OneDotZero — Protein Forum is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "Events"
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Date: Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010 20:22

During the World Cup O2 were tracking the amount of text message data sent during the England matches. Not all messages sent during this time were solely about the game, but you can clearly see on the graphs below when something happened worth talking about there was a definite spike in traffic.

For example, on the first game against the USA when Gerrard scored there was a period between the goal and the peak reaction when messages averaged over 3,000 per second. That’s alot of things to happen per second!

The following shows how the time expands and compacts based on the amount of traffic during each match. In the second game against Algeria you can see hardly anything got a reaction. The score was 0-0 and the match to watch wasn’t very exciting, except at the end Rooney made a comment to the camera and network traffic went crazy.

The final graph is a comparative look at the traffic over all 3 matches. We can see from this graphic when something significant happened during the match there was a traffic spike, and another at the end when the match finished.

Though the end spike was probably everyone working out which pub to go to!

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Design"
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Date: Friday, 05 Mar 2010 22:01

The first draft of this visualisation was created in about 8 hours before the deadline for USA by Designers expired, on the day before I had to move out of my house and before I’d started any packing! So, to say I was rushed, stressed, and clock watching is a HUGE understatement.

What’s shown below is the updated graphic with about half hours more work on it since the submitted version for the competition. The original idea I had was to do about four visualisations looking at wealth, quality of life, culture, and size. I’d already spent time gathering and compiling the data a couple of weeks beforehand from various sources, but then other projects took priority (again) and my time lines got screwed (again!). So here’s just one: size.

How big is the USA poster

It’s a visualisation focused on showing the size of the USA compared to other countries in the world.

The process and older drafts

This is the first draft that was completed with only 5 minutes to spare before the deadline ended, using an automatically generated colour palette.

This is the second draft after I decided I hated the colours, and decided to go with a monochromatic green variant to represent the land.

This is the third draft after I decided to try and colour code everything by the dominant country’s flag colour, then gave up halfway through as I realised I was going backwards.

This is the final draft you see above. I’ve taken out the block colours and used a stronger line weight to pick out the more important areas of the visualisation. As it’s a focus on the USA, I’ve brought out the USA’s area on the pie with their customary red, white and blue colours.

…and I did try an inverted version but never really fancied it.

Now I’ll have to wait to see if my entry gets picked up by the project, and try and be cheeky and ask the organisers if they’d be so kind as to accept the updated version. I couldn’t leave it after the second draft anyhow, it just wasn’t up to spec.

How big is the USA? is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "bar chart, competition, infographic, pie..."
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Date: Friday, 19 Feb 2010 03:37

This week I’ve been working on a sweet new data visualisation that aggregates opinion from twitter for a specfic event or set of topics. All week it’s been evolving, growing in ability and scope and I think it’s about time it deserved a little mention on DTN.

I’m not going into too much detail right now until I put a little video together of how it works, but if you’re in London and you’re free tonight (February 19th 2010) then you should come along to Design Overtime at the Design Museum on the Thames. It’s going to be a great night with full open access to all the exhibits, plus the designers in residence (that includes me) will be taking over the museum. What this means I’m not sure, but my visualisation will be tracking everything, and if the weather holds out then this vis will be projected onto the outside wall of the DesMus for all to see. Should be pretty darn cool.

I’ll have plenty of pictures, video, and screencast on this after the weekend, so tell your friends! — and if you are in London and you want to come down then I have a few tickets going begging. Let me know on twitter, @davebowker or @designingnews, and you should follow me too. I like to think I’m funny. :)

Buzz Tracker is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker"
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Plans   New window
Date: Saturday, 23 Jan 2010 19:29

So lately I’ve been thinking about just what I want Designing The News to be and I had a Jerry Maguire moment — an epiphany. There are alot of data visualisation blogs out there that consistently post great examples of data visualisation, and for me putting together last weeks post wasn’t fun. If felt like a chore. I have alot of respect for these authors who take the time to put together a quality article, but I’ve decided I’m not going to do that any more.

DTN’s primary focus now is to create original infographics and data visualisations. If you like seeing great examples of data visualisation then you should follow @designingnews on twitter for regular updates on fantastic data related stuff I find around the web, but I will no longer be posting these on the blog. I find twitter updates to be passive, and great for this sort of content.

So there you go. Hope you enjoy original content as much as I do. :)

Announcing the next visualisation project

For those who haven’t heard already HUG United have launched their second open project, USA by Designers, for designers to create artwork around the subject “USA”. Have had this on my radar for the last couple of weeks and since wrapping up the last of my freelance jobs just a couple of hours ago I’ve decided to enter the contest.

Designers, illustrators, photographers, design studios, collectives/crews, agencies, students, visual artists… you are welcome to submit an innovative, creative, exciting, personal and experimental artwork inspired by the theme: “WHAT DOES USA MEAN TO YOU?“
We are expecting diversity and freestyle: all styles of outstanding visual media are welcome. Selected works will be featured through online exhibit and book (more information soon).

With the fantastic data resource Data.Gov I’m sure there’ll be some interesting stuff to make some really cool visuals from. Stay tuned.

And another…

Also, for those who haven’t seen the work of the amazingly talented Mike Deal, his data visualisations for the Charting The Beatles project are great examples of clean, colourful data visualisation and his series of posters have inspired me to create something too. More to come. Lots more.

Plans is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "competition, news, plans, update"
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Date: Saturday, 16 Jan 2010 16:40

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been noticing an increase in infographics about food and drink, whether these are brand new productions or just old content being resurfaced I thought I’d start collecting them as and when they cropped up.

What follows are 20 examples of food and drink infographics, ranging from high-end commissions for Wired or GOOD magazines, to the hobbyist just trying to communicate data.

Lokesh Dhakars Illustrated Coffee Guide
Beautiful simple and strong illustrations makes this coffee infographic really stand out.

The Caffeine Poster
Not graphically the strongest, but very interesting to see caffeine levels of everyday drinks.

Wine Infographics
The high contrast colour scheme and strong simple line illustrations really make this one stand out.

How Clean Is Your Tap Water

Sugar Stacks
Simple everday foods and drinks are simply photgraphed next to how much sugar they contain. Some powerful, and interesting images on this site.

The Story Of Beer
A vertial timeline of beer, littered with nuggets of historical and interesting information.

The Best Beer In America
A great style to this graphic, almost cartoon like and beautifully illustrated by Mike Wirth.

Starbucks And McDonalds

Iria Castro Poster

Food For All Seasons
Another one from Good Magazine, the colours on this graphic really stand out.

Seasonal Food Chart

Which Countries Eat The Most Meat

Wired Magazine: The Future Of Food
An excellent series of infographics with a huge variety of graphs, charts, and pictograms to illustrate this thought provoking food report.

Ensuring The Future Of Food

Graham Meyer’s Estimated Food Consumption
A simple, colourful and beautiful infographic illustration of what Graham Meyer ate over the course of a month.

Lunch Break

Digital Podge
Thsi beautiful infographic website has been doing the rounds recently, and for good reason. Go take a look!

Processed food: A Silent Assassin

Fast Food Calories Per Dollar

Hellmann’s — It’s Time for Real
A fantastic video with animated infographic goodness make this video about eating local food really shout it’s message.

Educational food and drink infographics is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "drink, food, good, infographics, interac..."
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Date: Friday, 08 Jan 2010 02:16

Out of the three resolutions I made this new year this is the only one I’ve not broken yet. Sad but true. 8 days in I’ve already had a beer and cut my hair. Re-launching, writing, and designing for this site is the only one that remains, and with the constant challenge of Anton’s Project52 bearing down upon me I intend to keep it.

The basic idea is to write 1 post every week, 52 posts for 2010. This is number 1. Hello.

Now this first post is a bit of a copout, and it’s for the same excuse I’ve been using for the past year — I’ve had no time. But, I have been getting my act together. I’ve been busy. I could have posted screenshots of the new design (oh yea!), written about the upcoming news browsing visualisation I’ve been working on at my dayjob, or even documented all the un-used ideas, mockups, and files for the original DTN series. However, it being after 2am on the last day of entry for the first #p52 of the year — I haven’t.

Next week will be better. Promise. Until then here’s a little promo video I made a while ago which I’ve been meaning to post for bloody ages.

I know, the resolution’s crappy and my video editing sucks. I’ve used the program maybe twice!

For those of you on twitter who are so inclined, I’m posting regular updates on data visualisation and infographic stuff on the DTN twitter account. I’m planning a sweet visualisation of my twitter followers at some point, so if you want to be immortalised in print you should really follow me!

Resolution is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker"
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Date: Thursday, 20 Aug 2009 21:49

It’s been over a year last month since I posted anything on this site — too long by any stretch. I know most of you reading this in feed readers will be pretty surprised (probably having forgotten all about it), but I have a favour to ask.

Like me, those of you visiting this site are looking for great examples of everyday data visualisation and infographics. Some for inspiration, and some in order to solve the problem of massive data overload. I’d like to tell people more about data visualisation and how it can be used in order to solve simple everyday user interactions on the web. I need you to help me do that, by voting for my panel at the SXSW panel picker website.

Not only will you be helping me out, you’ll also be helping to create more great content for the next version of this site, version 2, due for relaunch this October. Yes. Designing The News is coming back, bigger, better, with more posts and more great original content.

I’m also looking for guest authors as well, so if you’re interested email me at dave (@) designingthenews (dot) com.

Once again, if you could, I’d really appreciate you voting for my panel at SXSW. There’s only a handful of data visualisation related stuff on there — let’s tell people about it. Get them involved, and get them inspired!

Thanks. You should follow me on twitter to stay up on how it’s going. http://twitter.com/davebowker and http://twitter.com/designingnews.

SXSW Panel — Please vote for the DTN talk is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 15:21

I mentioned a while back that I’ll be posting something on the rejected designs and the process I went through to create some of the visualisations. That’s still on my to do list, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll get that out. Infact it may be a 2 parter as I’m imagining it to be a pretty big post, with lots of samples of styles and designs, and why I rejected them over the published ones.

Anyways, the reason there hasn’t been an update in so long is because I’m in the process of moving down to London. Actually I’m in London at the moment, without a computer and without the internet, which is why I’m in an internet cafe at the moment with 9 minutes remaining on my time trying to write this update pretty damn fast.

Hopefully I’ll have a new laptop by the end of next week, and will crank out some more stuff soon.

New job!

Also, I’ve accepted a new job at a company in London dealing with search technology, news, and data visualisation, and I’m just waiting to sign the contracts. Hopefully the paperwork will be done sometime this week, or early next, and I can let you know who that lucky bunch are!

The good thing about this is that in alot of respects, DesigningTheNews will become my day job. Bonus! Which means in areas where the work isn’t subject to NDA, I can share some of the things I’m working on right here. With you. Before anyone else. :)

Stay tuned! And thanks to everyone who’s emailed me wanting posters. At this rate if interest keeps up I may have to do another run!

Quick update is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "job, london, move, update, work"
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FIRST!!!   New window
Date: Wednesday, 18 Jun 2008 15:37

Final university project grade = 1st!

Still in the apple store on Regent street. Single solitary tear just hit the keyboard. Not sure if that’s because I got a first, or because I will forever remember that I used a Mac to find it out. Thank-you Apple store.

FIRST!!! is a post from: Designing The News

Author: "Dave Bowker" Tags: "first, grade, graduation, results"
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Date: Thursday, 12 Jun 2008 17:48

The website for the final year degree show has now gone up. The exhibition is called Studio309, and will take place from this Saturday 14th until next Friday 20th June. Details of opening times, and previews of work can be found on site. If you’re in Huddersfield or up north then stop by and take a look. It’s free!

Anyone else think the logo looks like pieces of Meccano and a couple of flat head screws?

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Site News, degree show, exhibition, grad..."
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Date: Thursday, 05 Jun 2008 02:16


Just a quick note to say that I’ve just set up a prints page for the One week of the Guardian data visualisation posters. They’ll be a very limited print run so if you’re interested in getting your hands on one, the series, or more then you’ll have to be quick!

Only available until MIDNIGHT GMT tonight!

I’ll be taking orders via email until midnight on June 15th. They’re £12 each, printed on thick semi-gloss paper, and are all signed and numbered on the reverse so you know which one you bought!

Remember kids, having the series is like owning Pokémon. Gotta catch ‘em all.

UPDATE: 12:30 25/June All posters were delivered to the post office this morning, and should be on their way to you shortly!

UPDATE: 10:30 24/June I’m sick as a dog at the moment. I have all the prints, all packaged and ready to ship. I managed to get a couple out yesterday, but the rest will be going out no later than tomorrow morning.

Sorry they’ll be a day or two late. This ‘not man-flu’ has knocked me off my feet.

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Site News, announcement, posters, printi..."
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Date: Wednesday, 28 May 2008 17:27

One of the mandatory requirements of this project is a story/information board to explain the what why and how of the project. Instead of just having something informative but separate, I’ve thought about placing it on the reverse side of the visualisation posters. This way there’s a little project information included with each piece so viewers can understand what’s going on.

The info poster below is a larger view of what was included in the supplement prototype packaging that I posted yesterday.

For each piece printed, the preview image of the storyboard (this one being the Thursday visualisation) would be the preview to what’s printed on the opposite side of the page, thereby allowing the poster to be hung either side for a more informative view, or a more visual view.

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Design, Exercise, Research"
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Date: Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:46

Instead of just having posters up for sale and available, I’ve been thinking about how I would round off the project, and go about getting the posters (and the knowledge that they exist) out and available to wider audiences. As far as the internet is concerned, this page and the project can get stumbled, dugg, reddited, and so on and so forth, which is great, but this is still just a fraction of the amount of readers the Guardian reaches on a daily basis. So how do I put my work infront of the eyes of the millions of readers of the Guardian, keep it there long enough for it to become a talking point, and encourage people to look at it?

Well one idea I had was a supplement piece, with accompanying package containing a fullsize A1 print every week for six weeks. This way the One week of the Guardian project is contained in it’s own package, with accompanying information which tells the story of the project, and a poster of a piece of work to encourage people to collect the whole series.

Inside the envelope, the A1 print would be folded down to A5 size, 4 folds in half each time. Printed on the back of the visualisation for that day would be a storyboard with project information, the same for each day so that if a reader jumped on board half way through the issues, they would still know what’s going on.

A rough scale of things would look something like this.

I was thinking it might be nice to have these supplemental packages published next year on the dates they were created, as a time capture looking back one year ago using data visualisations. A hypothetical fantasy, but a nice one I think.

Author: "Dave" Tags: "DTN Lab, Design, Research, collection, e..."
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Date: Friday, 09 May 2008 23:13

The past few days I’ve been thinking more about how to present the final pieces at the assessment and the graduate showcase. One of the ideas I’ve been toying with is to insert the posters into a weekend supplement or a center page pullout. I’ve been looking around for ways to emulate newsprint, and so far the closest I’ve come is to use a plotter printer, on ~50gsm paper.

The texture of the paper is not unlike newsprint, though there’s a larger grain to the paper, and it feels just slightly thicker. It’s difficult to see I know, but my digi-cam is a cheap useless one that’s about 4 years old, and photography isn’t my forte.

To see it up close it looks as though it came straight out of the paper, which is great, and after handling it my hands were inky black! Not sure I’ll be able to mass print these though as printing it on the plotter has to be done overnight. Perhaps a limited edition of 10 if people want? I know some have already contacted me via email about getting prints, and if demand is strong enough then I guess archival ink on semi-gloss might be a better choice.

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Research, newsprint, outcomes, plotter, ..."
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Date: Friday, 09 May 2008 10:34

Just thinking that it might be nice to see these pictogram headlines concepts I did adopted into a functioning platform for use in public spaces, and perhaps even incorporated into a news website.

The idea would be that a simple application would pull headlines from the BBC News website, or any website, and seperate the headline into individual words. It would then check a database to see if there is a pictogram associated with that word and display it. This would loop for all words until the headline is complete. If there is no pictogram for the word available, then it will just display the word and update an online list that symbols for word ‘X’ are needed.

Here’s a couple of examples mocked up with stock photos to see what I’m talking about.

Pictogram Headlines
A quick concept idea for using headlines displayed as a series of pictograms. This proposal could be installed in a number of public spaces, train stations, bus depots, airports, etc. on large screen visual displays. The headlines in pictograms would cross multiple language barriers, and carry the English alternative underneath. When people are used to seeing them then they will eventually be able to quickly see the news just by using the pictures.

Anyone have any thoughts? I know I’d find it more interesting when at a train/bus station to have rotating headlines.

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Design, Thoughts, bbc, concept, dtn, gua..."
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2008 14:48

OK so I’d really appreciate some input if you’ll indulge me. Not much, just a couple of lines.

I have a presentation in a couple of days about this project. I’m trying to put together some sort of list of frequently asked questions in order to give a better presentation of the work. I know what my aim was, and I can understand the choices I’ve made being as I’m the one that made them, but is there anything about this project that you don’t understand or would like further clarification about?

This is your chance to get stuck in and really tell me what you think. If you need your memory jogging work can be found via the designlab.

What don’t you understand?


Author: "Dave" Tags: "Research, clarification, faq, help, inpu..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2008 05:26

I just thought I’d post this little update as I’m currently about half way through a 6000 word minimum illustrated report on the work I’m doing for university.

I think I’m a pretty concise person. When I write anything I usually try to get to the point pretty quickly, and don’t like to spin anything out too long unless it’s funny or there’s a payoff at the end. I have to say, there’s only so much ‘padding’ you can add to a description of what I’m doing and why. Most of the descriptions I write about my work are those that I’ve taken the time to explain in 100 words or less, thereby being concise and to the point.

I’m not going to say ‘bullshitting’, but ‘padding’ a report, is hard work. Nobody wants to read anything unnecesary in a report document, but 6000 words minimum is 6000 words minimum.

Author: "Dave" Tags: "Thoughts, concise, writing"
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