09/09/10

By David McCandless

Conveying tricky concepts through a picture while engaging your audience is a big ask, but David McCandless answers with ease. David discusses why information is beautiful and exploring anything "strange and interesting". Championing the use of infographics and data visualisations, he explores new directions for how information is conveyed. Through visualising data, McCandless believes new stories and concepts are easier to spot in the sea of data that surrounds us. His blog and book, both called: Information Is Beautiful, are both dedicated to visualising ideas, issues, knowledge, data -- all with the minimum of text.

His concept is simple: apply the rules of visual design to information - make information into images, rather than blocks upon blocks of text. Don’t just leave your data gathering dust in a spreadsheet, use it to structure a visual image.

“I've spent the last year exploring the potential of information visualisation for my website and a book,” says McCandless. “I've taken loads of information and made it into simple, colourful and, hopefully, beautiful ‘visualisations’ - bubble charts, concept maps, blueprints and diagrams - all with the minimum of text.

“Personally, I find visualisations great for helping me understand the world and for sifting the huge amounts of information that deluge me every day.”

We’re all busy bees and we all need the facts, but sometimes, an instant overview of a situation that jumps off the page is far more effective. “Information Design has been around since the 1970s,” says McCandless. “Pioneers like Yale University design guru Edward Tufte and design agency Pentagram have long known and used its power. But now with the rise of the internet, it's having something of a second birth.”

Today, there are huge amounts of data out there. Visualisation helps spot important patterns in this data that might otherwise be missed.

Already governments are seeing the potential. The American and Australian governments are fast democratising their data and releasing it for free to the public. Why can’t businesses follow suit? Reports may be coming out of your ears but it doesn’t mean the information has to.

In this video he explains how business can make use of the reams of data we amass everyday.
www.ad-techlondon.co.uk

David McCandless discusses data visualisation and how digital marketers can use pictures to convey tricky concepts. He will be sharing his latest work and ideas at ad:tech London 2010. Register now for your free ticket.