Information Is Beautiful Awards

The information is beautiful awards celebrates the excellence of data visualization and information design in a yearly competition that takes work from design agencies, creative teams and even individuals to be sorted into the five categories –

  • – Data Visualisation
  • – Infographics
  • – Interactive
  • – Motion Infographics
  • – Tool

The KANTAR awards is fast becoming a much sort after prize, although they are non-profitable and community driven, work entries came in from over 20 different countries and in 2012 only 26 prizes were awarded across the platform. Having a scroll through some of the interactive maps, it was slightly disheartening in a way to see work that was in a different language, specifically with maps as for the interactive ones you have to type relevant information in to actually view the work. However, seeing the wayfinding approaches of a different culture and how one will cross over with another is always helpful. More specifically i looked at the work – which piqued my interest due to the link with the Tour De France. The maps are taken directly through google but have been changed in design so that they are of only two colours. Referencing back to Google maps i checked whether this was again a cultural thing that i may not have known before but it seems to me to purely be a design choice. One that works, blue isn’t often a colour used in Wayfinding other than to hint at the existence of nearby water or more obviously, the sea and so using it in this way to highlight the route the cyclists will take is a nice touch away from the norm. It also compliments the background, which is in a one tone grey scale.

Looking through further examples of interactive design it strikes me as what makes this form differ so detrimentally from traditional methods is the way in which it engages people mentally resulting with them sticking with the work longer, subconsciously learning. In the digital age it makes sense to utilize the assets that are available to us. At the prospect of sifting through a reference book, a lot of people will be daunted by such a mammoth task (even through the use of contents and index pages) whereas an interactive page can quite easily conceal the same information and more but being able to present it cleverly and clearly will make them ignorant as to how much information they are taking in. As with information design, when producing something that’s interactive the images are either iconographic or heavily simplified into geometric shapes to give a hint of what is being conveyed.

Moving away from interactive design to information graphics i began to look into a 6 metre installation piece by Joanne Byrne in which she catalogues the development of life through time from the first ever creation of a single celled organism. The information works in a hexagonal grid, influence for such comes from the structure of DNA. 15 categories are woven into the grid ranging from mammals, plants, fish and bacteria. I think this success of this piece is down to the sheer size of it – viewers will immediately be drawn in and engaged.


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