Category: Infographics

Place names

THE LONGEST, THE SHORTEST.

58 letters I always thought that this Welsh railway station sign was the world’s longest. It means: “Saint Mary’s Church in a hollow of white hazel near the swirling whirlpool of the church of Saint Tysilio with a red cave.”

85 letters Then I came across this New Zealand sign. Translated from the Māori language: “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.”

One letter This Norwegian village has a difficult name to beat in terms of brevity. It means stream, or small river. There are several other As in Norway, Sweden and elsewhere, and many other one-letter contenders around the world, like Ô in France, and U in Vietnam.

Venn diagram

OVERLAPPING RELATIONSHIPS.

This brilliant example is by GuyBlank. There’s a t-shirt version here: goo.gl/VGA8nV

Venn diagrams are used to show commonalities and differences, primarily in mathematics, statistics and logic. Named after John Venn, a logician and philosopher, who highlighted them in an 1881 paper. They were developed from Euler diagrams of the 18th Century. By the way, Venn also built a machine that bowled cricket balls.

In the popular sector, they’re mainly used for jokes.

Below, a serious Venn diagram that shows the common uppercase letters of the Greek, Latin and Russian alphabets. (From Wikipedia)

And now back to the jokes…

 

Mitch Goldstein’s site, “A Helpful Diagram,” highlights the concerns of designers and design students: http://www.ahelpfuldiagram.com

North

WAYFINDING DISPLAYS.

Magnetic north It’s on the move (and so, of course, is magnetic south). Below, a gyrocompass shows navigators the direction of true north.


Photograph © Eugene Sergeev/123rf

Compass roses Every printed map has one of these.

They’re also often seen set into sidewalks.


Photograph © Antonio Balaguer Soler/123rf

A Swedish atlas from the 1960s puts people and animals at their compass positions.


Directional t-shirt
 Redbubble has some attractive compass t-shirts. Dress like a cartographer: goo.gl/VmMkGb


GPS
What did we do before we had it? The basis of the Global Positioning System is 24 satellites at an altitude of 12,000 miles (19,300 km), and often supplemented by the Russian GLONASS system for increased accuracy.


Diagram by Paulsava.


In-flight 
entertainment Airlines feed us all kinds of geographical information. This is from an Iberia Airbus A340, flying the JFK to Madrid route.

Optometric

EYES AND INFOGRAPHICS.

Teaching aid A 1965 model from Michael Stoll’s collection. Made by Somso Models of Sonneberg, Germany. http://www.somso.de/en/somso/

Eye test The Snellen chart (which originated in 1862) is the most common.

Poster Of course, there are plenty of detailed eye diagrams around. If you want one for the wall: goo.gl/6SjuZz

Phoropter Great-looking instrument for precise optical measurements. I don’t care what it does, I just like the dials.


Photograph by Christian Weibull.

Color vision The Ishihara test can detect red-green vision deficiencies. This is one of the 38 test plates.

Vintage Illustrations from historical medical books.

Above, from Die Frau als Hausärztin, 1911. Below, from Meyers Konversations-Lexicon, 1897. (Hein Nouwens/shutterstock.com)

Eye color There are endless variations. Brown is the most common color, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


Photograph © Taiga/123rf

A chart of doll eyes.

Signage This kind of design was very common years ago.

Giant eye Tony Tasset created a 30-foot (9-meter) diameter fiberglass eyeball (modeled on his own eye) in 2007. It’s a well-traveled item. First on display in Chicago’s Pritzer Park, then on the roadside in Sparta, Wisconsin (where it was originally constructed), and now in the Joule Hotel’s sculpture garden in Dallas.


Photograph by Carol M.Highsmith.

Taken apart

DECONSTRUCTING TO EXPLAIN.

Reality Photographed superbly by Adam Voorhes. http://www.voorhes.com

Illustrated instructions Assembly guides and parts diagrams are part of our everyday life. A note of caution: When this kind of thing is not done well, it can cause a nervous breakdown.

In pieces Walking around an exploded view is an experience. This VW Beetle installation, “Cosmic Thing,” is by Damion Ortega.

Blown-up Another gallery piece, “Cold Dark Matter” by Cornelius Parker. A garden shed and it’s contents was exploded (by the British Army), then the pieces were arranged and brightly lit from the inside. A frozen moment in time.

Motion A commercial for Lowe’s where the whole house comes apart. Click on the image to see the video. (It might take a little while to load.)

Cutaway And don’t forget this excellent book (from Gestalten) which has several exploded views. I featured it before: http://www.johngrimwade.com/blog/2016/11/17/cutaway-magic/

On Amazon: goo.gl/837SjK


Illustration by Nick Kaloterakis.

Subways (2)

USING THE SUBWAY MAP METAPHOR.

Map of the stars By Simon Patterson. Famous, or important, people are the stops. The lines are the categories, from engineers to comedians, and where they intersect, interesting associations occur. The title is a reference to astronomy. Patterson’s description: “…the tube stops can be seen as stars in a constellation, where you imagine the lines that connect the dots.” Detail below.

Web trends By Information Architects. https://ia.net

Detail.

Movie map The lines are genres. By David Honnorat.

Detail.

Submarine fiber-optic network Explained by the Oxford Internet Institute.

US highways Cameron Booth gives the U.S. road system the Harry Beck treatment.

Detail.

US rivers A waterway diagram by Theo Rindos.

Roman Roads Traveling around the Roman Empire, by Sasha Trubetskoy.

Looking for animals Find your favorite creatures in various subway maps.

https://www.animalsontheunderground.com

Subways (1)

MAPPING METRO SYSTEMS.


New York City Subway Map, 1972 by Massimo Vignelli.

This week’s posts follow on from a recent one about Harry Beck’s seminal Underground map: goo.gl/Fpn3Qk

New York design classics The Graphics Standards Manual (1970) designed by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda set the design parameters for modern New York subway signage. A reprinted version, originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign, is available here: https://standardsmanual.com/pages/shop (along with a few other gems).

Two years later, the schematic map (shown at the top of this post) was introduced, and there was a lot of criticism. For London’s map, Harry Beck had chosen diagrammatic clarity over geographical accuracy, but a similar approach by Vignelli did not go down well with some of the inhabitants of NYC. After substantial changes (not overseen by its creator), the design was dropped in 1979. However, in 2012, the Metropolitan Transit Authority asked Vignelli to design a similar version for its Weekender app.

NYC today More geographically-correct, less of a design system. I don’t love it, but I understand why it’s the way it is.

Tokyo

The Tokyo trains can get very crowded. However, there are people who’s job is to push everyone in. Click on the image below to see the video.

Paris

Moscow

Circular Max Roberts has redesigned several subway maps using a circular arrangement. Here are New York, London and Paris.

See more maps by Max Roberts here: http://www.tubemapcentral.com

Map or diagram? This animation of the Berlin subway first appeared on Reddit, and inspired others to make geographical comparisons with the diagrams of various cities. Some examples below.


By vinnivinnivinni.


By playhouse_animation.


By ninja.


By hlake.


By sweedfishoreo.

Subway world A subway-style map of cities with urban transit systems.

On the road

A LESS-THAN-SERIOUS REVIEW OF HIGHWAY SIGNS.

Almost everywhere we look there are (supposedly helpful) signs, but they often send an unclear message. This area of visual communication has plenty of room for improvement. In the example below, the sign is clearly in Penns Grove.

Some stop confusion.

Very precise speed restriction.

A bike collision could be imminent.

The British are very good at keeping secrets.

Almost Apple‘s Command symbol.

Sometimes there’s a barrage of information…

…or just too many arrows.

Two-way, indeed.

Not an encouraging sign, if you’re prone to car sickness.

I saw this one a lot when I lived in Queens.

The Guardian had a road sign quiz, and these were some of the options.
Below: Turn left for the 1980s. (The real meaning is Direction to nearest emergency phone.)

You’ve reached Egypt. (Detour.)

Bus mounting ramp ahead. (Buses, bikes and taxis only.)

Please use 3D glasses. (No overtaking.)

Fired caterpillars ahead. (Electrical overhead cable ahead.)

By the numbers A small town in California.

And finally… This sign is (helpfully) in both English and Welsh. Unfortunately, the Welsh section says, “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.”

Humanscale

DESIGNING FOR PEOPLE.*

Ergonomics “Humanscale” is a collection of three books and nine selectors with dials. They contain the detailed human measurements that designers need to create workspaces, furniture and products that are ergonomically sound. It was originally published in 1974 by Henry Dreyfuss Associates, and expanded the metrics of the original book, “The Measure of Man” (see “Origins” below). And now it’s being republished by IA Collaborative after a Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iacollaborative/reissue-of-humanscale

Inside the 1/2/3 booklet.

Some examples of possible applications.

Selector details.

Origins Henry Dreyfuss set the standard for visual ergonomic explanation with his book “The Measure of Man: Human Factors in Design” published in 1959. It contains 32 charts and two life-size posters (shown as one image below) designed by Dreyfuss and illustrated by Alvin Tilley. The two figures (nicknamed “Joe” and “Josephine”) represent the average American man and woman.

Below, the first edition cover.

The book was updated in 1993, and the title made more inclusive.

*The title of a 1955 Dreyfuss book.

Today

HISTORICAL EXAMPLES FROM ERIC BAKER’S COLUMN.

Once a week for several years (ending in 2010), Eric Baker had an inspiring column called “Today” that appeared on the DesignObserver site. It was a set of carefully selected historical design images. Sometimes on a theme, sometimes not. Anyway, I really looked forward to seeing the latest treasure trove of imagery. So in the spirit of looking back for inspiration to our illustrious past, here’s a selection of 50 examples from those posts. Many of these are infographically-inclined, but that (of course) is because of the person selecting them.