For the past couple of years, I have been looking back on a monthly basis at graphics that I produced whilst at New Scientist 10 years ago. I have had fun commenting on the good, bad and indifferent things that I find in the graphics. From colours and styles as well as the technology. I have decided to change this monthly look back to a quarterly review. I did this first over the summer – link here – and think a quarterly look back will allow me to pick some howlers and well as -hopefully- showcase some stunners!
The next one will cover July, August and September 2012 and will be the autumn round-up…due end of September.
Thank you to all that have looked in the past and I hope that you carry on enjoying the round-up on a less frequent basis.
From the abstract… ‘In its Sixth Assessment Report Cycle (AR6), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) aims to strengthen the communication of its products. As the only mandatory part of IPCC reports specifically targeting a lay audience, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide an opportunity for broader communication of key IPCC topics…
…we find that bringing together IPCC authors and communication specialists to jointly develop the text and graphics increases the accessibility and usefulness of the FAQs…
…we recommend involving communication experts from the beginning of the drafting process to share responsibility, which requires sufficient resources to be allocated to the FAQs…
Enjoy reading along with the other papers and essays all looking at science communication. The report and all 32 FAQ graphics is here…
Many thanks to Sarah Connors, Sophie Berger, Malissa Walsh, Ros Pidcock and Maike Nicolai for putting up with all my questions and queries when producing the FAQs for the report.
A new report from Greenpeace science unit was launched recently looking at how a rusting oil tanker, the FSO Safer, could end up triggering a major environmental and humanitarian disaster in and around the Red Sea.
I produced the infographics in collaboration with Greenpeace and Kathryn Millar, an environmental researcher. You can find the report here…
Last week the EMCDDA and Europol published their latest report on the impact Covid-19 is having on the drug markets. I worked with the agencies on the graphics side of the report. Click on the report cover to download it but here are a couple of the graphics in preview.
Following on from some of my black and white gardening illustrations here I thought I would also show some of my colour illustrations first produced for New Scientist in 1990!.
The process was very different and everything was hand drawn, or in this case hand drawn and then painted using watercolours onto watercolour paper…registration marks were placed on the paper…
…we then used an acetate overlay to draw on arrows showing water flow – specified to be 60% Cyan for the printer – plus a front view drawn in ink – to be black. The text was typed and printed from a computer and stuck on this layer using Cow Gum. Registration marks to align with the layer below…
…another layer of acetate was used to show the water flow arrows (60% Cyan) over the top of the black lines black pointers for the text…
…any other particular instructions for the printer were then included on these layers. Only then was it sent off for proofing and printing, sometimes never to be seen until the magazine arrived in the office!
Here is a very bad image (only one I could find) of the printed version from February 1990 along with a hand drawn graphic showing transport costs.
Another example here, showing the same process just as a comparison…
I always sketch my ideas to help me to understand the subject matter, to come up with concepts and ideas for the visuals, and to be able to look back and see what my thoughts and ideas were. Here are a few from a recent commission from Scientific American, published in the November 2018 issue on the subject of gravitational lensing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poster: A Guide to Lawn Weeds. Watercolour
Detail of Daisy. Watercolour
Dragonfly nymph. Pencil
Skull of toothed Whales. Rotring Pen
I may add more as I find them and if I think they are worth posting