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.

Stick maps


These charts were used by the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands to navigate their canoes. Shells represent islands. The ribs (made from the midribs of coconut fronds) show ocean swell patterns and currents. Often, only the person who made the map understood it, as there was no standardization between charts. The map-making process was handed down from father to son over many generations. A map was studied before a trip and was not referred to during the voyage.

There were three types of maps:
An abstract small chart, used for teaching only.

A close-up of a few islands with the main ocean swells.

Shows a whole chain of islands and the swell patterns.

This mapping system was not revealed to Westerners until 1862, when a missionary reported it in “Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle.”

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:

Video dreams


This week’s posts both feature creative video. Fernando Livschitz, who is based in Buenos Aires, uses special effects to create these dream-like videos. The fantasy elements are set against everyday urban backgrounds.

These are three of my favorites.

Giant tin toys (above and below)
Wind up Bots:

Warped transport

Traffic nightmare
Rush Hour:

Fernando’s website:

As a footnote, I just happen to have one of those rockets (in the tin toys video) on a shelf in my house.

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.)




Dazzle painting (or razzle dazzle) was a World War I invention that was all about visual deception. Colors, patterns, lines and curved shapes were painted on ships to confuse enemy submarines. The effects were tested using models which where viewed from every angle, including through a periscope, to get an idea of how submarines would see them. The intention was to confuse attackers enough to make them miss, or to not even fire a torpedo at all. The 1918 painting above is by Burnell Poole. Picasso claimed that Cubists had invented dazzle camouflage, but the credit belongs to Norman Wilkinson, a British marine artist.

The photographs of these designs are all, of course, in black and white, but some strong color was often used.

Each ship had a unique scheme so that the enemy could not identify it by type.

I just had an idea. (Editor’s note: This doesn’t happen often.) Today, we might consider painting ships with some of those multi-colored pie charts from business presentations. They can confuse anyone.

Dazzle ferry
“Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015,” a design created by Peter Blake as part of a program to mark the centenary of World War I. A bold new look for the Mersey ferry “Snowdrop.”

Photograph: Morris

The project includes an app so that we can make our own dazzle patterns.

The Canadian armed forces were the first to use computer-generated camouflage, the Canadian Disruptive Pattern or CADPAT, which works well at different distances. There are three types: Temperate Woodland (TW) which is shown below, Arid Region (AR) and Winter/Arctic (WA).

The Operational Camouflage Pattern is now the official combat design for U.S. soldiers.

Photograph: U.S. Army

If you want to know more about this subject, try the encyclopedia of camouflage (yes, there is one):



Cash illusion
Nigel Holmes’ radical redesign of U.S. banknotes makes our money look like more than it is.
And instead of presidents, we have people who robbed banks.

Coin mania
There are millions of coin collectors in the U.S., and consequently several cable T.V. shows that just sell coins. This is a 2018 Proof Silver American Eagle that uses the classic 1916 “Walking Liberty” design by Adolf Weinman.

Infographic coins
Mac Funamizu explored the idea of coins being designed to be more informational and represent their relative value.

More bang for your buck
Another rethink of US currency by Nigel Holmes.

Euro architecture
The buildings on Euro notes are generic so that they are not specific to any country in the European Union. There are seven fictional bridges used on various notes. Robin Stam had the idea of creating real versions, and a housing development in Spijkenisse, which is near Rotterdam, offered to build all of them.

Big money
High-denomination U.S. notes have not been printed since 1947. The low number still in existence are owned by collectors and museums.

This valuable item appeared in a previous post about Eight by Eight magazine. I adapted it from the polymer £5 note. (Australia had the first plastic money back in 1988.) The largest U.K. note is £100, issued in Scotland and Northern Ireland only.

During November 2008, inflation in Zimbabwe is estimated to have hit 80 billion percent. By 2009, all printing of currency was stopped.

The Queen


One of my students recently gave me this holiday season gift. Queen Elizabeth II, the nutcracker version. This is obviously a frivolous portrait, but an affectionate one too. Many people in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere) have a lot of respect for our 91-year-old monarch. And naturally a person with this level of attention is the subject of many graphics.

Color chart
Royal outfit data visualized in Vogue magazine. Blue is the favorite color.

Pantone Queen
For the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee, Pantone and Leo Burnett London collaborated on a royal color selector.

Royal timeline
Portraits on banknotes. The queen has reigned for 66 years.

Being royal
Queen Elizabeth’s world. Infographic by Laura Cattaneo and Francesco Franchi for “IL” magazine. Click on the image for a larger version.

Crown Jewels
The collection (a total of 140 items) is estimated to be worth at least £3 billion pounds ($4.26 billion). They’re kept in the Tower of London. Some examples are shown in this set of well-designed Royal Mail stamps.

If the Queen ever runs short of cash, this should do the trick.