Tag Archives: 2014

Infographic: Here’s to 2014 (Beutler Ink)


Simon Owens of Beautler Ink remembered earlier this year when I published the Beutler Ink Oscar’s best picture graphic: http://datavizblog.com/2014/02/25/infographic-the-85-best-picture-winners-by-beutler-ink/. Well, Simon and the Beutler Ink team have been busy and just released their “Here’s to 2014” illustration. It references every single major pop culture and news event in 2014, from Too Many Cooks to the death of Robin Williams.

Thanks, Simon for sending this to me. It is has been fun to search and find key events.

NOTE: If you have an interesting data visualization or infographic, please tell me about it and send me a full size image of it. I would be glad to blog about it.

Best regards and happy holidays,


Here’s to 2014!

Congratulations! We’ve made it through another spin around the sun,
What a ride it’s been; we sure had fun.
You were there for all the highs and lows,
The “Fancy” music and “basic” clothes.
The Lego Movie made it hip to be square,
and Matthew McConaughey was everywhere.
We made some new friends and lost some old,
We dumped ice on our heads and Malala was bold.
And because you were good, here’s a little treat,
An exciting, exclusive pop culture feat!
A gift to you, from Beutler Ink:
Here’s to 2014, see what you think!

A heartfelt thanks from all of us at Beutler Ink, and here’s looking forward to a great 2015!

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Behind the Scenes: The Making of Here’s to 2014!

We began preparation for our annual end-of-year pop-culture-and-news mashup in early October with a teamwide brainstorm. We collaborated in a shared Google doc where we listed all of the pop culture moments that defined the year. With a list in place, we started to imagine how we should depict these events. For instance, how do you visualize the polar vortex?

Screenshot 2014-12-16 09.31.48
Next, we decided on a setting. Last year’s Time Square scene provided a colorful and vibrant backdrop for a new year’s celebration, but rather than duplicate that space again this year we decided to try a different approach. After much deliberation, we settled on The Grand Budapest Hotel. Our team is full of Wes Anderson fans, and the hotel provided ample opportunities to bring together disparate scenes and events into one cohesive visual.

With a list of ideas complete and a setting established, the illustration could finally begin! This year, we enlisted the talents of Noah Smith, a longtime collaborator and friend, to bring our ideas to life. His process began with sketches: first a general layout based on themes and then a more robust sketch with every idea visualized.

Screenshot 2014-12-16 09.33.13

Screenshot 2014-12-16 09.36.46

Once the sketches were finished, it was time to color the image. Noah explored a few possible treatments before landing on the style seen in the final graphic.

Screenshot 2014-12-16 11.08.20

Here is a full list of items included in the collage. How many can you identify?

The Guardians of the Galaxy
The LEGO Movie
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Fault In Our Stars
South Park mocks Lorde’s ubiquity
Ellen’s Oscar selfie
Lupita Nyong’o wins Oscar
Taylor Swift has first platinum album of the year
Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX [“Fancy”]
Pharrell Williams
New U2 album goes to 500 million iTunes accounts
Meghan Trainor [“All About That Bass”]
Sam Smith
Nicki Minaj [“Anaconda”]
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke releases $6 album on BitTorrent
Health Goth style
Basic Bitch style
Normcore style
The Simpsons turns 25
True Detective
The Walking Dead
How I Met Your Mother series finale
Pretty Little Liars 100th episode
True Blood series finale
Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon
Last Week Tonight
Laverne Cox becomes the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy and to appear on the cover of Time Magazine
Game of Thrones Season Five
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil Degrasse Tyson
Gilmore Girls released on Netflix
Germany wins World Cup
Seahawks win the Super Bowl
LeBron James goes home to Cleveland
Spurs win the NBA championship
Winter Olympics in Sochi
Derek Jeter retires
Steve Ballmer becomes owner of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise
Roger Goodell is criticized; Bill Simmons is censored
Madison Bumgarner leads the San Francisco Giants to World Series victory
LA Kings win the Stanley Cup
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine cover
Jaden and Willow Smith transcend reality
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin “consciously uncouple”
Hacked celebrity nudes leak on Reddit
Ariana Grande is a diva
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wed in secret ceremony
Jay-Z is involved in elevator altercation with Solange
George Clooney marries Amal Alamuddin
Scottish independence referendum
Two Supreme Court rulings bolster marriage equality
GOP owns the midterms
Nik Wallenda’s blindfold tightrope walk
Polar vortex
MH370 goes missing
Ebola outbreak
Ferguson and Eric Garner protests
Bring Back Our Girls
Hong Kong protests
Putin ferments unrest in Crimea
iPhone 6
Emojis are everywhere
Verizon vs. FCC
Uber vs. Lyft
Google glass
Apple Watch
Newsweek’s “The Face Behind Bitcoin” story
HBO Go slated to be released to the masses
Alex from Target
Apparently Kid
Slender Man
Too Many Cooks
Big Hero 6
The Broad City girls
Sarah Koenig from Serial Podcast
RIP Robin Williams
RIP Maya Angelou
RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman
RIP Joan Rivers
RIP Shirley Temple
RIP Harold Ramis
RIP Casey Kasem
RIP James Garner
RIP Flappy Bird
Bonus easter egg: Bill Beutler, founder of Beutler Ink

Information Is Beautiful Awards 2014 Announced



Last Wednesday, November 12th, 2014, the third annual Information is Beautiful Awards celebrated data visualization at its best. Hundreds of entries were trimmed to an elite set of outstandingly illuminating infographics, over which the judges deliberated long and hard. Now, with thanks to their generous sponsors Kantar, here are the winners.

Data Visualization


Gold – Rappers, Sorted by Size of Vocabulary by Matthew Daniels

Silver – Weather Radials Poster by Timm Kekeritz

Bronze – The Depth of the Problem by The Washington Post

Special mention – The Analytical Tourism Map of Piedmont by Marco Bernardi, Federica Fragapane and Francesco Majno




Gold – Creative Routines by RJ Andrews

Silver – Game of Thrones Decoded by Heather Jones

Bronze – The Graphic Continuum by Jonathan Schwabish and Severino Ribecca



The Refugee Project by Hyperakt and Ekene Ijeoma

Gold – The Refugee Project by Hyperakt and Ekene Ijeoma

Silver – How Americans Die by Bloomberg Visual Data

Joint Bronze – Commonwealth War Dead: First World War Visualised by James Offer

Joint Bronze – World Food Clock by Luke Twyman


Motion infographic


Gold – NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life by Chris Whong

Silver – Beyond Bytes by Maral Pourkazemi

Bronze – Everything You Need to Know about Planet Earth by Kurzgesagt

Special mention – Energy by Adam Nieman




Gold – Selfiecity by Moritz Stefaner

Silver – OECD Regional Well-Being by Moritz Stefaner

Bronze – After Babylon by Sofia Girelli, Eleonora Grotto, Pietro Lodi, Daniele Lupatini and Emilio Patuzzo




Gold – RAW by Density Design Research Lab

Silver – Kennedy by Brendan Dawes

Bronze – Figure it Out by Friedrich Riha



Sam Slover, Wrap Genius

Sam SloverWrap Genius



Brendan Dawes, Kennedy

Brendan DawesKennedy




FFunctionWomen in Science and HP What Matters




Schwandt InfographicsBiobased Economy



The Rite of Spring by Stephen Malinowski and Jay Bacal

The Rite of Spring by Stephen Malinowski and Jay Bacal


Most Beautiful


RAW by Density Design Research Lab


Infographic: 2014 Halloween Statistics


Every year, halloweencostumes.com brings us “Creepy Calculations,” a visual compilation of some of some of Halloween’s freakiest facts. This year is no exception! What are some of the 2014’s most popular costumes? How much money will Americans spend decorating their homes and filling our bellies with sweet candy treats? Who do people trust more to give them costume advice: friends, family, or Facebook??

Happy Halloween!


2014 Halloween Statistics

Infographic: The Illustrated Game – A Map Of World Cup Brazil 2014

Source: Haydn Simons, The Illustrated Game – A Map Of World Cup Brazil 2014, November 28, 2013, http://www.haydnsymons.com/news/the-illustrated-game-a-map-of-world-cup-brazil-2014/.

Haydn’s comments on creating this infographic:

Personally, I can’t think of anything better than illustration mixed with sport, or even better, football! While on Twitter the other day I stumbled across an online publication which features illustration and football, which showcases some great work, so I decided to try my hand at it too. After getting in touch with Joe, we decided that I would produce a guest illustration of Brazil World Cup 2014 map, showing the stadiums which are going to be used for the tournament. After researching (and seeing how much it’s going to cost Brazil!) I sketched out my idea from my sketchbook into this final illustrated map. The map includes stadiums like Rio De Janeiro, a fantastic stadium which overlooks the great city, where the final will be based. I really enjoyed researching about the World Cup 2014, and look forward to producing another illustration for ‘The Illustrated Game’. Be sure to check out their tumblr blog, it’s well worth a look at some great illustration on show.


Wisdom of Crowds 2014: Success with Business Intelligence and Technology Priorities


Howard DresnerLast week, Howard Dresner released the 2014 Edition of his Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.

Mr. Dresner is Chief Research Officer of Dresner Advisory Services, LLC, an independent advisory firm and a well-known authority and author in the areas of Business Intelligence and Performance Management.

Howard has 32 years of IT industry experience with 24 years in the Business Intelligence market.

He spent 13 years at Gartner, where he was a Research Fellow and Lead Analyst for BI. He also served as Chief Strategy Officer at Hyperion Solutions prior to forming Dresner Advisory Services in 2007.

Howard is a frequent speaker around the globe and has published two books on the subject – including: Profiles in Performance – Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change (John Wiley & Sons, November 2009) and The Performance Management Revolution: Business Results through Insight and Action (John Wiley & Sons, November 2007).

Through the Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence market research reports, Howard engages with a global community to redefine how research is created and shared.

I thought I would share a peek into his report with you on the topic of Success with Business Intelligence and Technology Priorities.

Mr. Dresner notes that with a few exceptions, reports of success with BI deviate little based on specific technology priorities. Those claiming success are slightly more likely to favor in-memory analysis and data mining and advanced algorithms. Those that are less successful were more likely to favor big data, analytical applications, software-as-a-service / cloud and location intelligence.

As part of his survey, when asked for reasons why business intelligence fails, respondents point to shortfalls and constraints surrounding data that include “tools” and “time,” but also “business,” “organization” and “management”.

Primary reasons for failure include: a lack of management understanding or appreciation of BI, a predominant focus upon technology vs. solving business problems and a lack of skills and resources to deliver solutions.

To visualize the data associated with success and not being successful, Mr. Dresner uses a radar chart (see chart below). A radar chart is a graphical method of displaying multivariate data in the form of a two-dimensional chart of three or more quantitative variables represented on axes starting from the same point. The relative position and angle of the axes is typically uninformative.

The radar chart is also known as web chart, spider chart, star chart, star plot, cobweb chart, irregular polygon, polar chart, or kiviat diagram.

As I delve deeper into the report, I will share other insights with you.

Best regards,


Wisdom of Crowds - Success

Tapestry Conference 2014: Alberto Cairo’s Keynote Presentation

Alberto Cairo

Data, Patternicity, and Biases

Last Wednesday, Alberto Cairo gave a keynote presentation at the Tapestry conference. The day after (Thursday), he spoke at the Investigative Reporters and Editors meeting (CAR2014.) In both talks Alberto discussed some topics that are concerning him.

Mr. Cairo is considered by many (including me) to be one of the industry’s leading experts on infographics and a person I respect and view as a mentor.

Mr. Cairo’s keynote focused on the rise of activism and P.R. (he views them as expressions of the same phenomenon) in visualization and in communication in general. He discusses that he has nothing against people having opinions and agendas —is it possible not to have them? However, Alberto feels that some designers and journalists seem to be too willing to surrender to their biases rather than working hard to curb them.

He continues that these communicators usually argue that being transparent about their motives and goals is enough. Mr. Cairo argues that it is not. Writing about journalism, Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis have suggested that transparency is the new objectivity. Mr. Cairo disagrees. He states,

Transparency is necessary to gain credibility, but it’s not sufficient, and this is valid for non-journalistic infographics and visualization, too. The old notion of ‘objectivity’ in journalism was simplistic and unworkable, but that doesn’t mean that we should rush to drop the ideal outright.

Another area of concern that Mr. Cairo mentioned at CAR2014: Opinions that may lead you to cherry-pick data are not the main risk. Unconscious cognitive biases are even more dangerous. He discussed Michael Shermer’s patternicity. Mr. Cairo expressed concern that the more he learns about patternicity and cognitive biases, the more worried he becomes about our lack of understanding of them. He further points out that they are not explained in schools of design, as far as he knows. They certainly aren’t studied seriously and systematically in journalism schools. That, he states, is a huge issue.

Interesting Sound Bites from Alberto

    • Conscious decisions are not the only risk. Cognitive biases and political ideals can lead us astray, as well. They are much more dangerous, in fact.
    • When we are strongly ideologically or politically motivated, we are also more likely to find patterns in the data that confirm our preconceived ideas.
    • We journalists like to say “trust your instincts!” Well, that’s very bad advice. PLEASE, DON’T. Don’t trust your instincts. Your instincts are a source like any other. And you should always try to double-check your sources.

New Book in 2015

Mr. Cairo will have a new book out near the end of 2015. It is tentatively titled “The Insightful Art.”

On the left, in the image below, is the cover of “The Functional Art,” which was published in 2012 and a book I highly recommend you read. The cover example on the right, shown below, is just one of the alternatives he is pondering for the new book.

New Book in 2015

New MOOC Course in 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMr. Cairo is currently working on a completely new MOOC, co-taught with Scott Murray (photo right)  Mr. Murray wrote the book Interactive Visualization for the Web. I have included an image of the cover of his book below. Alberto and Scott’s goal is to offer something at the beginning of 2015.

Tentatively, Alberto will talk about principles, and Scott will get into the nuts and bolts of JavaScript and D3 (Data-Driven Documents).

Stay tuned. I will provide more information about this course in a future blog post as I get more information.

Interactive Data Visualization for the Web Book Cover

Gartner Releases 2014 Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics Platforms

Gartner Magic Quadrant BI 2014


Gartner has just released its 2014 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

I need a few days to soak this in and better comment on it. But, for now, I thought I would share the Magic Quadrant with you.

You can see the entire report by clicking here.

Best regards,


Gartner describes and defines the market as follows.

The BI and analytics platform market is in the middle of an accelerated transformation from BI systems used primarily for measurement and reporting to those that also support analysis, prediction, forecasting and optimization. Because of the growing importance of advanced analytics for descriptive, prescriptive and predictive modeling, forecasting, simulation and optimization (see “Extend Your Portfolio of Analytics Capabilities”) in the BI and information management applications and infrastructure that companies are building — often with different buyers driving purchasing and different vendors offering solutions — this year Gartner has also published a Magic Quadrant exclusively on predictive and prescriptive analytics platforms (see Note 1). Vendors offering both sets of capabilities are featured in both Magic Quadrants.

The BI platform market is forecast to have grown into a $14.1 billion market in 2013, largely through companies investing in IT-led consolidation projects to standardize on IT-centric BI platforms for large-scale systems-of-record reporting (see “Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2010-2017, 3Q13 Update”). These have tended to be highly governed and centralized, where IT production reports were pushed out to inform a broad array of information consumers and analysts. While analytical capabilities were deployed, such as parameterized reports, online analytical processing (OLAP) and ad hoc query, they were never fully embraced by the majority of business users, managers and analysts, primarily because most considered these too difficult to use for many analytical use cases. As a result, and continuing a five-year trend, these installed platforms are routinely being complemented, and in 2013 were increasingly displaced, in new sales situations by new investments, and requirements were more skewed toward business-user-driven data discovery techniques to make analytics beyond traditional reporting more accessible and pervasive to a broader range of users and use cases.

Also in support of wider adoption, companies and independent software vendors are increasingly embedding both traditional reporting, dashboards and interactive analysis, in addition to more advanced and prescriptive analytics built from statistical functions and algorithms available within the BI platform into business processes or applications. The intent is to expand the use of analytics to a broad range of consumers and nontraditional BI users, increasingly on mobile devices. Moreover, companies are increasingly building analytics applications, leveraging new data types and new types of analysis, such as location intelligence and analytics on multistructured data stored in NoSQL data repositories.

MicroStrategy World 2014: Facebook CIO Tim Campos Keynote Presentation

Click on Image to Watch Presentation

Facebook CIO Tim Campos

MicroStrategy World 2014: Gucci CIO Simone Pacciarini Keynote Presentation

Click on Image to Watch PresentationGucci CIO Simone Pacciarini

Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy World 2014 Keynote Presentation

Click on image to watch presentationClick on image to watch presentation


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