Information Design Watch

February 27, 2008, 1:06 pm

The Movie Money Landscape

By Henry Woodbury

The New York Times has a very nice interactive chart on The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 – 2007, partially captured below:

The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 - 2007

This visual explanation does many some things well. It uses both sides of the horizontal axis to double the amount of data displayed in a vertical slice of time. It avoids unnecessary gridlines and tick marks. It uses color to clarify the area plot for “total domestic gross” allowing easier comparison between movies with short and long runs (compare Shrek to Hannibal, for example). A “Find Movie” feature helps locate any release in the time frame and highlight it among its contemporaries.

All that is missing is a single view of the entire chart. Even a static thumbnail image would help illustrate seasonal and macro trends. Here’s a sample view of 1986 – 1990.

The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 - 1990, Macro View

Update: Thanks to commenter “tomp” I’ve made a few edits. My original “double the amount of data” statement was off base. By using both sides of the horizontal axis, the chart may increase the number of peaks, but since the data is stacked (not overlapping as I originally assumed), this technique does not increase data density. The macro view would, in fact, be much easier to analyze if all the data was stacked in the same direction (upwards). I also replaced a reference to The Animal with Hannibal so that my point about total domestic gross would actually make sense.

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Comments (4) | Filed under: Business, Charts and Graphs, Information Design, Visual Explanation, Web Interface Design

February 8, 2008, 6:08 pm

Logo Evolution

By Henry Woodbury

From the Neatorama blog comes an interesting exhibit of tech company logos and their changes over time. The companies range from Apple to IBM to Nokia to Palm, offering an engaging contrast between start-ups professionalizing their brand and manufacturing firms reinventing their business. IBM, for example:

IBM Logos

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Branding, Business, Technology

February 7, 2008, 1:02 pm

Dynamic Diagrams Has Moved

By Henry Woodbury

Dynamic Diagrams Has Moved

Our new address is:

111 Chestnut Street
Providence R1 02903

Our email, internet address, and phone numbers have stayed the same.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

February 5, 2008, 11:34 am

Periodic Table of the Imagination

By Henry Woodbury

We’ve seen some unfortunate attempts to use the Periodic Table of the Elements as an organizational metaphor. Here’s a more successful idea — the Periodic Table as communal art project:

2007 Periodic Table Printmaking Project

Organized by printmaker Jennifer Schmitt, the 2007 Periodic Table Printmaking Project brings together “Ninety-six printmakers of all experience levels, have joined together to produce 118 prints in any medium; woodcut, linocut, monotype, etching, lithograph, silkscreen, or any combination.”

Many of the artists are users of the handmade craft commerce site Etsy which features a short article about the project in the current issue of its online magazine: This Handmade Life.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Art, Creativity, Design, Illustration