Category: Infographics



These imaginative films by PES (Adam Pesapane) have been viewed on YouTube millions of times. The first three that I’m featuring here are simple recipes. This kind of approach could be applied to many instructional explanations, perhaps with the addition of labels and other graphic elements. My point is (one more time) that engagement of our audience is so important. We have to look for new forms to get our message across.

“Western Spaghetti” (above) is from 2008:

“Fresh Guacamole” was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2013. In fact, at 1 minute 41 seconds, it’s the shortest film ever to get a nomination.

“Submarine Sandwich” was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. PES himself appears at the beginning:

This commercial for Honda was nominated for an Emmy in 2016.




In 1850, the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest structure, as it had been for over three thousand years. By James Reynolds and John Emslie.

Below, by 1884, the Washington Monument (555 feet, 169 meters) had taken over. From Cram’s Unrivaled Family Atlas of the World.

The Eiffel Tower (1,063 feet, 324 meters) had arrived on the scene by 1896, and being nearly twice the height of the Washington Monument, it presented a scale problem. Solved here by cropping off a large piece of it. From Rand, McNally & Co.’s Universal Atlas of The World.

After a number of buildings held the title, the Empire State Building (1,250 feet, 381 meters) became the leader in 1931. This elevation is in the Art Deco lobby, which according to the building’s website, took 18 months to restore in 2009. The whole building took just 13 months to build.

Photograph: Ken Thomas

The World Trade Center (1,368 feet, 417 meters) took the record away from the Empire State Building in 1972. The Tobu World Square theme park in Japan has scale models of 102 buildings from around the world. Their World Trade Center is 65.5 feet (20 meters) tall.

Photograph: Fredhsu

A 2008 gatefold for Condé Nast Traveler that includes the soon-to-be number one, the Burj Khalifa (2,717 feet, 828 meters), a number of previous record holders, some landmark towers in terms of design, and some other towers that were planned back then.
Click on the image for a larger version of the illustration.

Illustration by Bryan Christie Design:



The magic of infographics takes us back in time. This is the kind of engagement I’m always ranting on about in this blog. I’ve tried increasing my medication, but I still get very excited when I see this kind of visual explanation.

Produced for Expedia by NeoMam Studios with animations by This Is Render.

NeoMam Studios:
This Is Render:

In the analog area, the “Monuments Past and Present” series of books uses an overlay to add a reconstructed view. I first discovered the Rome book on a visit there a very long time ago. Before we had computers, let alone animated GIFs.



The publishers are Vision:



Road signs
Perhaps the most common arrows. There must be billions of them out there.

I like chevrons, and I don’t know why. Below, an Australian example.

The exact spot
Making accurate maps of Britain in the mid-twentieth century required these “minor revision points.” Precisely-located arrows that acted as fixed points for revising maps. Elaine Owen (who works for the Ordnance Survey) came across an archive of photographs at Manchester’s Central Library. She’s published thousands of them on Timepix, a work-in-progress website that geo-locates historic images.

The Golden Arrow
A classic luxury train that ran from London (Victoria Station) to the English Channel ferries at Dover. Pulled here by “Tangmere,” a Bulleid Light Pacific locomotive.

I just happen to have a Hornby model of another one of the Battle of Britain Class locomotives in my studio.

Air Mail
In the 1920s, a system of about 1,500 beacon towers, standing on huge arrows, directed aircraft carrying mail across the United States. The arrows were originally painted bright yellow. Several of them still exist, although many are gradually eroding back into the landscape. This one is in Utah, about 80 miles north of the Grand Canyon.

Photograph: Dppowell.

Here’s a preserved example of the full setup at Newark Heath Airport in Ohio (about 55 miles from where I’m sitting).

Image from Google Street View.

A London tourist sign points to eight destinations.

Photograph: Source



PostlerFerguson, a London studio, designed these satellite models for Papafoxtrot.

I have the Spectr-R (second from the left) on a shelf in my studio. The packaging is superb.

Only the Cargo Capsule (below) seems to be available at the moment.

A clip from “The Known Universe,” by the American Museum of Natural History. Click on the image to see the animation. Watch the full video here:

A 2015 satellite interactive from Quartz:

Infographic by Alberto Lucas López for the South China Morning Post (from 2014). Click on the image for a larger version.

Sputnik 1 was the first satellite, launched in 1957. The 23” diameter (58 cm) sphere sent out radio pulses for 22 days. This is a replica at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The Vanguard 1 launched in 1958. It was the first solar-powered satellite, and although it’s mission ended in 1964, it’s still in orbit.

KalamSat, the smallest and lightest satellite, was launched last year. Designed by a high school team led by 18 year-old Rifath Sharook, and 3D printed, it flew a four-hour mission. Vital statistics: it’s 1.5″ (3.8 cm) wide and weighs 2.26 ounces (64 grams).

The International Space Station is the largest satellite.

It’s about the size of a U.S. football field.

Both images: NASA.



These graphics feel like breath of fresh air, coming straight from Paris. In terms of engagement, they hit all the right notes. See a lot more on Guillaume’s website:

Below, some retro tech animations.

Icons for La Poste, the French postal service.

For Welcome to the Jungle, a French recruitment company.

Problems parking the camper van.

Another animation for Welcome to the Jungle.

Cityscapes of New York and Philadelphia for NRG Energy, a U.S. power company.

Animated icons for Le Tank, a coworking space in Paris.



Abstract shooting targets.

Vintage hunting practice.

Crosshair bomb target in Nevada. Northwest of Las Vegas.

Reminds me of the registration marks we used in mechanical artwork:

The mysterious Nevada Desert Triangle, which is nearby. These targets are about 60 miles (97 km) from Area 51.

And one in Xinjiang, China.

Images from Google maps.

From Wikipedia: “Darts is the sport in which small missiles are thrown at a circular dartboard fixed to a wall.”

Archery has a very long history, and it became an Olympic sport in 1900.

Not a real target, but a very well-known logo. One of the largest retail store companies in the U.S.

Small buildings


I have a collection of small metal souvenir buildings, and only ones that I have seen for real, except for the Trylon and Perisphere (the centerpiece of the 1939 New York World’s Fair). For more detailed information on all this, please contact my therapist.

These little architectural caricatures sit on a shelf in my studio, and they‘ve influenced the way that I draw landmarks on maps. I’m trying to capture the key elements of the structures, and a strict aerial view is often not the best way to convey the feeling of a building, especially at a small size. There’s nothing original about this thinking, pictorial map-makers have been doing this kind of thing for a very long time. My two posts about Bollmann Maps showed the work of their illustrated map craftsmen.

I clearly am not in the elevated category of Bollmann, as my maps have buildings that are closer to pictograms than they are to architectural renderings. Here are some examples of the metal buildings’ effect on my projects.

There are plenty of interesting buildings to draw in Rotterdam.

A detail.

The landmarks of Paris. My Eiffel Tower model came in handy here.

Post-2001 plans for Lower Manhattan. This and the previous two maps are from Condé Nast Traveler.

Jogging around Chicago.

And around Tokyo. Both maps are from Runner’s World.

Colors of cars


The second of two posts that show creative video. The first one, about Black Sheep Films, is here:

Cy Kuckenbaker (based in San Diego) uses special effects to give us an idea of the relative numbers of various car colors. This seems connected visually to the “Rush Hour” video in Monday’s post, except that these really are the numbers of cars that drove past. Five minutes of footage is reorganized to put some order into the chaos. I wish I could see the world everyday with this kind of infographic vision.
The video:

More about car colors.

The 1996 Volkwagen Golf Harlequin gave owners four colors in one model.

Photograph: Konovalov

A color chart from 2012, but the numbers may not be much different today. My car is silver (I’m sure you were desperate to know that.)

Ursus Wehrli rearranges a parking lot to reveal some color data. See more of his work in this post:

Malofiej 26


Soon people who love infographics and data visualization will converge on Pamplona (Spain) to find out what’s happening in the industry, and set themselves up for a great year of graphics. The M26 conference is from March 14 to March 16. A list of speakers is here:
And registration is here:

For six days, the University of Navarra is the center of our infographic universe. M26 starts with a long-established (and widely recognized) workshop for professionals, which I was involved in for many years. That runs from March 11 to 14. This year, the instructors are Fernando Baptista (National Geographic), Larry Buchanan (New York Times) and Javier Zarracina (Vox):

I’m running an international student workshop, along with Lisa Borgenheimer who is a professor at the Free University of Bolzano in Italy. Nine of our School of Visual Communication students are taking part. Which has nothing to do with the image below from 2012, when I was making a presentation celebrating the twentieth-anniversary of the Malofiej event. I’ve put it in here just because I like it.

Photo illustration by Neria Armendáriz.

And now… some other M26 examples.
The M26 constellation is about 5,000 light-years away. There’s probably several planets with infographics in amongst these stars. Do they use script fonts? Have they discovered pie charts?

A vintage tank. We all like making graphics about military equipment…

Photograph by Sgt. Frank C. Kerr.

…and racing cars. This is a 1976 M26 McLaren.

Photograph by John Chapman.

An motorway in my home county, Kent (U.K.)