Some design feats deserve to be recognized. This “Birds of North America” poster by Pop Chart Lab is such a remarkable accomplishment. The aviary chart features all 740 feathered friends that inhabit North America, from barn owls to bluejays to whooping cranes and California condors. The chart includes both native and introduced birds on the continent, as designated by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It took a team of artists more than 400 hours to draw the birds in intricate detail, organize them by species and arrange them in relative scale. Included on Pop Chart’s poster are some 14 species that are on the endangered list, and that is not counting the 46 million turkeys that will meet their doom this week so we can contentedly consume them on Thanksgiving Day. Above is a picture of a turkey in happier times.
To understand how unprecedented and extreme Hurricane Harvey was, consider this: The National Weather Service ran out of colors on its rainfall scale and had to add two more shades. The old rain gauge had 13 colors, starting with light green to indicate 0.1 inch of precipitation and ending with dark purple, to indicate 15 inches, the most rainfall it could envision in a single storm event. The over 40 inches of rain that Harvey dropped on portions of southeast Texas was unfathomable – until it happened.
The NWS quickly added two new shades of purple to its rainfall maps, but even the two new colors only show rainfall that exceeds 30 inches. Harvey has been called a once in a millennium rainfall event (let’s hope so).
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Nike opened a new pop-up running track in the heart of Manila, Philippines. Designed by BBH Singapore, the Unlimited Stadium installation is shaped like the sole of Nike’s new Lunar Epic shoe. Lined with LED screens, the 200-meter racetrack invites runners to run alongside their own digital avatar. But first runners must attach a radio-frequency sensor to their shoe to record their initial track time. With this individualized data, runners are challenged to outdo their avatar, besting their own record with each lap. The temporary running track is able to accommodate 30 runners at a time.
Donor recognition walls are a common feature of museums, schools, public parks, and other places that are made possible by generous benefactors. Unfortunately, most donor displays look like boring lobby directories that list columns of names with no thought to aesthetics. So, it is always refreshing to see a donor wall that can be appreciated as a unique piece of decorative art.
C&G Partners created this stunning installation for Advisory Board Company, a Washington D.C.- based research, technology, and consulting firm focused on health care and educational institutions. Asked by the Advisory Board to come up with a way to showcase the names of its member clients, C&G created an installation out of thousands of slender, translucent rods, each engraved with a single member name filled in silver. A single silver set screw affixed each rod to one of hundreds of numbered wire strands, which were strung together to form a luminous curved, floor-to-ceiling curtain. The installation in the Advisory Board’s member collaboration space in Washington D.C. creates an aura that is elegant, ethereal, and dynamic. The design offers the flexibility of adding more member names in the future while maintaining the sculptural quality of the display. C&G also assisted those who want to find their names by incorporating a touchscreen directory that accesses a database of member names, quickly matching them to the numbered wires.
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This is a promotion for a fitness exercise app called 7 Daily Moves by Singapore-based physical trainer Sonam Mehra, founder of Small Spoon Pte. Ltd. Mehra worked closely with tech partner Prakas Donga from India and motion graphic designer Martin Kundby Nielsen from ccccccc in Denmark to demonstrate 48 basic exercise moves in a single GIF. The tiny animated figures are charming to view, and a great condensed version of all the workout moves you need to do to stay fit.
Last December, the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design reopened its doors after being shut down for three years for renovation. Located in the old Carnegie Mansion in Manhattan, the new Cooper Hewitt has designed an experience that integrates interactive,immersive technologies into all of its exhibits. Now visitors can view digitized collections on large touch-screen tables, draw their own wallpaper in the Immersion Room, solve real-world design problems in the Process Lab, and use an interactive pen to save objects that they want to view more closely at home. The Cooper Hewitt not only shows how design has evolved over the past century, it is a living example of where it is going.
This one-of-a-kind flag assemblage, from Kit Hinrichs’ vast Stars & Stripes collection, was designed by the quartermaster of a U.S. military post office during World War II. A closer look reveals that it is not just a flag made out of a bunch of used stamps and cancellation marks; it is clever information graphics. The blue canton is made from dozens of five-cent stamps, and the stars are cut from cancellation marks mailed from the state capital of each of the 48 states that were in the Union in 1943 (see detail after the jump). The unknown artist didn’t stop there. He placed the stars chronologically according to when each state entered the Union. The red stripes are composed of two-cent stamps (yes, they once existed!), and the white stripes are pieced together from envelopes mailed from the states that were part of the Original Thirteen Colonies that declared their independence from Great Britain on July 4th, 1776, and founded a new nation of united states. Something to think about while waiting for the fireworks to start. Happy Fourth of July!
Johannesburg-based ad people Jeff Tyser and Kerryn-lee Maggs traveled through seven African countries in 150 days, covering 22,500 kms. They didn’t bore their friends and colleagues with hundreds of snapshots of themselves standing in front of scenic lookouts, etc. Instead they presented the highlights in succinct infographics. Very effective and memorable.
BBC Knowledge & Learning (K&L) is exploring a range of topics, from social history to science, in a series of three-minute online Explainer documentaries. In this case, London-based Territory Studio was commissioned to produce an animated film on the subject of DNA. The Territory team, led by art director/ animator William Samuel, chose a primer-like retro approach that didn’t veer off into futuristic complexities. The graphics are kept simple and elegant, using mostly circular shapes, a limited color palette and mostly circular movements to explain the double helix of DNA. The information also is succinct and accurate, with molecular biologist Dr. Matthew Adams teamed with writer Andrew S. Walsh to distill the text to the most fundamental elements required to understand how DNA functions and affects living beings.
If you’re like many of us, the more the cable TV news commentators explain how the electoral map of the United States works, the more confused we become. If viewed purely from the perspective of landmass, the red states (Republican) overpower blue states (Democratic), and the all-powerful “swing” states that supposedly will determine the outcome of the national election aren’t that important or trendsetting (sorry, the truth hurts) except during Presidential election years. So, it is enlightening to view this National Public Radio video produced by Adam Cole, although I’m not sure how listeners can see it on the radio. Never mind. If you haven’t voted yet, do. There are just a few hours left to cast your ballot if you are on the West Coast or Hawaii.
Canal+, the French television network and film production company, promoted its familiarity with every aspect of the filmmaking business, in every genre including porn, by creating a detailed flow chart of the process. Developed by Euro RSCG, the Canal+ infographic/advertisement is fun, fascinating, a great primer for novice filmmakers, and a convincing argument for why filmmakers would benefit from Canal +’s knowledge and support.
At a recruitment tool, UK-based Dare digital marketing agency produced an infographic self-promotion in 2010 to show recent graduates that they are a young, creative, fun and progressive place to work. Dare posted the video on its YouTube channel and then invited graduates to submit their applications through Facebook.
Anyone who has ever driven in San Francisco knows how hard it is to find parking, metered or otherwise. San Francisco drivers regularly pray to the “parking gods” and sometimes feel obligated to eat at a certain restaurant — “the food is so-so, but the parking is good” — simply because there’s an open spot nearby. This situation is exacerbated because the hills are so steep that it’s preferable to use a quarter tank of gas looking for parking than having to walk up or down hill. Now the city is trying to guide drivers to open spots by graphically showing them open spaces on their mobile phones. They claim that the parking map is updated every five minutes. Ha! Since when did a parking space stay open for a full five minutes in San Francisco! Many of us are beyond skeptical, but a designer in Kit’s office says that he has tried SFPark and it works.
Our musical notation system follows a convention that dates back centuries. By reading it, musicians can get an aural sense of melody, tempo and all the other instructions on how the score should be played. But what if the notations were shown in graphically different colors and dot sizes? This is a study done by graphic designer Laia Clos of Mot Studio in Barcelona. Clos explains that the self-initiated project started with a woman in her studio who has a knowledge of music. From there, they created a new graphic musical notation system called “SisTeMu,” which translates a musical score into simple geometric forms and basic printing colors, exploring the rhythmic and melodic harmonies found in the musical composition. The system somewhat simplifies the complexity and mathematical structure, making it accessible to the viewer through a visual narrative. For their first translation, they used the musical data for the lead violin part of Antonio Vivaldi’s baroque concerto, “The Four Seasons” (or “Lesquartrestacions”). In addition to producing a booklet documenting how to read the SisTeMu system, Mot Studio created limited edition posters of each concerto (or season) and a set of postage stamps, which you can order from Mot’s website http://tomedicions.bigcartel.com/.
Clos presented graphic extracts of her musical notation system on postage stamps, part of a limited print run of 300. The postage value is equivalent to Spain’s regular national charter.
When Dutch financial company SNS Reaal produced an online only annual report, it had its designer Fabrique summarize the salient points in a simple 2 and a half minute film. No fancy computer graphics, no elaborate sets, no fuzzy corporate-speak, just three ordinary-looking people walking viewers through who they are, what they do and how they performed in 2010. The complete annual is presented just as simply, incorporating functions that let readers make a custom pdf of just the pages or paragraphs that they want to keep for reference. The first test of transparent reporting: make it understandable.
With the global population expected to top 7 billion people in 2011, National Geographic magazine has produced a 7-part year-long series providing a profile of the world’s population. The information is fascinating, and from a design point of view, it shows the effective graphic use of the magazine’s yellow and black brand colors and yellow rectangular frame logo, which has been around since the magazine began publishing in 1888. From a marketing strategy perspective, it gives us a lot to think about.