Author Archives: Nigel Hawtin

About Nigel Hawtin

Information designer and visual communications expert with over 30 years experience. Specialising in science communications. Available for freelance, contract work, consultancy and training. Specialising in visual storytelling for media organisation and corporations to improve the clarity and efficiency of their visual communications and can provide hands-on training, seminars and consulting

Flourish

I have been using Flourish.app for a few weeks now and thought I should showcase some of the chart types it has and what you can do with it using a small data set from the NHS, looking at hospital admissions from drug use.

Same data just different ways of using it and showing what is going on using the stories format.

Source: https://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB30210

Show the data

I see this many times a week when ‘infographics’ are shared on social media.

This was shared on LinkedIn recently..what’s missing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s missing is the data, in a visual way. Too much time has been spent on producing the nice icons (which are important for context), making them stand out in white on a dark blue background and the text is white as well. The tile of the graphic is ‘Number of years it took for each product to reach 50 million users’ – so where is are the number of years? They are written numerically, which is ok, but are a smaller font size and produce in a lighter blue on a dark blue background.

The graphic is hiding the data, the important piece of the graphic. That data should be seen first, or at least, seen easily. So why hide it.

Infographic = information + graphic

Here’s the data produced in a visual form. IMHO a much neater way of seeing what the graphic is supposed to be showing.

The icons can be added to it to give context if needed, but the graphic should show the information (data) first.

24 January 2018

 

 

 

Recent work

Lots more recent work over on my blog.
But here are a couple of things I have had published lately

New report by EMCDDA and EUROPOL
“Drugs and the darknet”. The report presents how darknet markets function, the threats they pose to health and security and how Europe can respond.

BBC Storyworks and JaguarUSA Jaguar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while not being able to show anything, I have a couple of graphics that have recently been published.

These from the latest issue of BTO news

and this from BBC Earth (click the image for a large! version

 

thanks for looking and more to come soon

Global Carbon Budget 2016 – updated infographic

I recently had the opportunity to work again with Corinne Le Quere of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research on updating an important graphic on the global carbon budget.

I worked on this last year and it was proposed to update the graphic to keep with the original style. Updating the data and storytelling between the signing of the Paris agreement last year and the Marrakesh plan of action this year. The graphic was launched at the Marrakesh COP22 conference on climate change.

Here’s 2016 version…

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-42-41

plus last years version as a comparison

Global Carbon Budget 2015

Global Carbon Budget 2015

06 Dec 2016

 

Hand-drawn and painted early work

I have just ventured into the loft of our house (not been up there for ages) and discovered a couple of my old portfolios covered in dust, and so decided to have a look…it brings back many great memories.

I trained as a medical, botanical and scientific illustrator and because of my background I often talk about the importance of sketching ideas and thoughts before diving into any infographic and, I suppose, this is one of the reasons that I think this way. 

lifeonearth2

but thought I should back it up with some more very early infographics and illustrations. All hand painted watercolours and pencil work and some using the trusty Rotring pens and CS10 paper.

weeds guide

Poster: A Guide to Lawn Weeds. Watercolour

weedsdetail

Detail of Daisy. Watercolour

dragonfly

Dragonfly nymph. Pencil

dolphin skull

Skull of toothed Whales. Rotring Pen

I may add more as I find them and if I think they are worth posting
Thanks

Latest work for Scientific American

Once again I have just managed to get my hands on the latest SciAm issue for August.

Jen Christensen (Senior Graphics Editor)  commissioned me to produce a couple of charts for the feature ‘Health check for Humanity’ looking at cancer rates and chronic kidney disease int he developing world. Pleased to see them in print and to be amongst other great illustrations and graphics.

IMG_3278

Chronic Kidney Disease Cancer rates in developing world

18 August 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Improving your own graphics

It’s always good to see innovation when it comes to data visualisation and infographics. We never stop learning and therefore looking and seeing what others are doing is a great way to learn and improve out own standards.

We should all be looking at what others are doing from all over the world every day. We can gain insights into how  styles are changing and what the thought processes of others in the field are by looking at what has been done. I find it’s also good to wonder how I would have done anything differently to help me understand it better or easier.

This is one from last week posted by Ipsos MORI looking at the reactions to Brexit across Europe as well as a few other countries outside of the EU.

Nothing fundamentally wrong with the graphic. I could see that, as the header says, Spain is top when looking at whether they thought the decision was wrong or right for Britain. But looking more closely, and especially trying to compare those who thought it wrong to those who thought it was right, I found it hard to work out, because of the use of the stacked chart.
I wasn’t the only one who was thinking along these lines – a couple of us had a discussion about this on twitter!

I also felt the dark grey was rather off-putting as the colours used were of similar intensity.

So I had a go at it myself to see if I could make it easier for me to compare wrong with right.

I haven’t included all the numbers but I have put the ‘Don’t knows’ in the middle of the ‘Wrong’ and the ‘Right’. This allows me to see, more easily, the proportion who think it was the wrong decision AND the proportion who think it was the right decision. Making it easy to compare the two figures and therefore the majority decision. I also made the grey “Don’t know’ a lighter, less intrusive, grey colour to make the separation easier to see.

The text that accompanied the tweet was ‘Was Brexit right or wrong for Britain? Only majority of Russians say right’ , which is fine, but it’s difficult to see that in the original, whereas my version makes it clearer that Russia is the only country that has a majority that thought it was the right decision

There are other ways of showing the data as there are in many instances, such as this but this version excludes the ‘Don’t know’ data

We can all learn and so re-imagining or adjusting works by others is a great way of learning. I advise you all to go and have a try. Many thanks to ipsosMori for ‘supplying’ this one for me.

What do you think?

Added 10 August. Hannah Williams Ipsos MORI’s Creative Director and I discussed this yesterday after which, I have to add (and agree with her, here) that as with most polling questions, the ‘Don’t know’s are as important as the ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ or Yes and No’s. So my second attempt is really not relevant.

As with all stacked bars charts, actually trying to compare a specific element across a range of categories, will always be a compromised because of the stacking  of the bars.

Thanks

15 August 2016