When I was a young lad, before all this fancy technology existed to tell and show me the wonders of our world, I loved to look at the pictures and read the articles in the National Geographic. Launched in 1888, the National Geographic’s mission was to “reveal the wonders of history, popular science, and culture to eager audiences around the globe.”
National Geographic used information graphics (or infographics as we refer to them today) as the technology was not possible in 1888. Technology cost too much and traveling was too slow at the time to send photographers out on assignment.
“In the first magazine, the first images that appear there are drawings. They wanted to use maps from the very beginning, because that was how they could tell people about their expeditions,” says Julius Wiedemann, an editor at Taschen.
In a new anthology, TASCHEN and National Geographic gather the magazine’s best infographics of the past 128 years. Divided into seven sections—History, The Planet, Being Human, Animal World, World of Plants, Science & Technology, and Space—we encounter the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the mysterious origins of the Easter Island statues, Cleopatra’s Alexandria, and the anatomy behind a cheetah’s extraordinary speed. We discover how our genetic patterns have been pieced together over the years and how birds make music; we get to grips with global warming and explore our ever-expanding study of an ever-expanding universe.
With an essay by Nigel Holmes (NOTE: search my blog for previous posts about Mr. Holmes, one of my favorite in the dataviz business), charting the evolution of National Geographic over the decades and its pioneering use of graphics, as well as five fold-outs mimicking original pull-outs or inserts in the magazine, the book stands as a defining record of one of the world’s best-known publications as well as a beautifully presented repository of accessible discovery and learning. Visualizing the histories, facts, and figures that make up our planet and our species, National Geographic Infographics is as true to the magazine’s original mission as ever—an anchor of knowledge and a wunderkammer of discovery for young and old alike.
If you are interested in obtaining your own copy of this book, click here.
Best regards and happy reading,