Monday, 28 June 2010
Battle of Britain – 70 years on
The battle in graphic form, in last weekend's Sunday Telegraph's Battle of Britain eight page supplement, which I hope to post this week
So rare these days to work on projects, time to think, time to develop
Over a week or two, Stefan Bayley and Ciaran Hughes played a blinder with visualising the content, and Fiona Mattias as always, steered the supplement, meticulously
My favorite part?
The daily number of aircraft lost from July 10 to the end of September
This is a lot of aircraft
And in the sky, over the southern coasts of England and initially across the deep channel
Can you imagine witnessing a dog-fight in clear summer skies?
I was walking the dogs this morning, and a Messerschmitt Me 109e idled above the Chiltern Valley, where I live
Great engines roaring
Imagine multiplying this by at least 100, and imagine the sounds of break-neck speed Me 109e and the British Spitfire – aircraft and each pilot with two aims – to kill and to survive
Is it impossible to "imagine you are there" with infographics? Whether we produce a more data/information driven, with illustration, or more decorative work with the added bonus of a annotated map – can our reader/viewer imagine themselves in the picture?
Maybe as children they can, adults maybe not
But the power off illustration goes along way in evoking these emotions
Although the infographic industry has grown and developed great analysts, visual reporters and chart divas, let us not forget the power of illustration
We contacted well known manufacturer of air-fix kits, and fortunately managed to manipulate a great image, to edit and show what we thought would benefit the page
Does it matter from where the visuals come?
Use what you can find
Make phone calls, and send emails
Show the story
Battle of Britain – 70 years on
Yes - ironic the day Germany's fantastically talented and youthful team, knock out a bunch of over-paid failures, the Sunday Telegraph produced a wonderful "Battle of Britain" supplement
Inside it told the story of the summer of 1940; The Spitfire – the envy of the enemy and historical by authors James Holland and Brian Milton
There was also a full-page broadsheet infographic, part of which is picture above
I will hope to upload these later today, with spreads also
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Britain's Boom to Bust
Ed Conway, the Telegraph's economics editor, talks us through Britain's boom and bust using eight key graphs – savings, GDP the FTSE and unemployment to name but a few
These graphs, with the aid of audio narrative, give key insight to the UK economy
Importantly, Conway talks to the graphs
The visual facts
Without these key visual facts, it would be hard for the viewer/reader/listener to follow and be able to quantify the report
David Kinross built this excellent interactive
I think it is the first time at Telegraph.co.uk we have used such AS scripting to combine audio and information graphics to show and explain news and comment
But designed in a crisp, intellectual way
David Kinross has supplied some hot technical background for the coding involved in producing the interactive... many thanks David
Stuff used in the code
All Tweens are done using open source Tweenlite library.
Build the MP3 player using these 3 native AS3 classes
MS excel to XML conversion
The XML feeds which the flash file runs off where generated using PC freeware 'toXML'
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Book review [The Designer's Graphic Stew]
How exciting. To be offered design books to review
The Designer's Graphic Stew, is much much more than what the cover shows
By Timothy Samara, his "visual ingredients, techniques, and layout recipes" really does feel like a book for our kitchen shelf. In this, his seventh published book on design and typography, Samara uses "menu" metaphor for structure, theme and rhythm, and "visual ingredients" season the book throughout. Even the "image cropping" section includes restaurant staff as case studies
On first inspection the book looks well conceived and professionally designed. The paper stock is high-end and the colour reproduction first class. It feels as though it should belong in any designer's library whether student or professional
And I don't mind that. Samara offers advice that will help anyone wishing to learn the basics, as guidelines and not disciplines, while also offering subtle reminders to the seasoned art director in the "dessert tray" at the rear of the book – case studies of various editorial/commercial/print/digital examples from the US
I found particular interest in the "Modular Grids" section on page 150:
In contrast to regular column grids, the modular grid also provides a set of consistent rows for increased precision...
The modular design grid is something I picked up from work with designers at the media consultancy group Innovation – a grid system that worked in any language and script
If the 'devil is in the detail', then Samara's latest book is a triple chocolate and whipped cream dessert. The layers of detail are what you make of it. The deeper your knowledge the longer your read. I spent at least an hour gorging over icon and pictogram examples
OK the cooking guises are sometimes over cooked:
Consider these strategies as building blocks–work from them with the ingredients and recipes that follow, and you're sure to become the chef de cuisine in your studio...
... but my general feeling is that this book is fun, very handy, and at times an excellent reference book to have in any studio
Monday, 14 June 2010
World Cup Goals – but don't make the news
The goal infographic should have made ALL the print editions of this Sunday's Telegraph
Steven Gerrard's 4th minute goal would have given us plenty of time to produce the goods for the first edition
Stefan Bayley and Ciaran Hughes rolled up their sleeves edited the text and imagery. Celebration pics and the glorious annotated England goal ready to rock
And then butter fingers buggers it up. The news changed
The infographic did not make it through all editions, only first
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Behind the paywall: interactives from the Sunday Times
And here we go
Remember the fantastic online interactives from El Pais in the late nineties and early noughties?
The genius behind those incredible Spanish clickable guides is now at the Sunday Times
Rafa Hohr, with John Smith's talented bunch have created this entertaining infographic which shows how engineers have been battling to stem the flow of oil which has been polluting the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April
Its simple yet informative and visually pleasing: the oil leak moves through the water, and bubbles rise from robot subs
Its great, and with the online background of Hohr, the Sunday Times will be producing interactive infographics previously seen on websites for El Pais and El Mundo in Madrid and Paddy Allen at the Guardian
Here is another example from Rafa
PS You may need to register, this of course will incur no cost during the trial period
WC2010: Will the US turn up?
We all make mistakes, annoyingly
But is this a mistake, or a complete cock-up?
Granted, Brazil will host the World Cup in 2014, but to confuse South America with South Africa, for the graphics editor to OK the job, for the news editor of channel WGN of Chicago to sign off the visuals before the on-air report...
Some commentators are offering the WGN graphics department the benefit of their doubt:
... something makes me think that the mistake was based in a lack of knowledge of geography rather than a simple confusion between ‘South Africa and South America.’ The question to ask is, how many other media outlets will make similar mistakes during the coverage this summer? I would bet that they just default to showing the entire continent of Africa to be safe