Information Design Watch

January 27, 2011, 12:50 pm

The State of the Internet

By Tim Roy

Perhaps some day in the future, there will also be a “State of the Internet” address as well as the more traditional “State of” address that happens every January.

Focus has created an interesting data visualization revealing some up to date statistics to consider. Facebook continues on its juggernaut with 600 million users, 250 million of whom signed up last year. And is it true that 89% of all emails sent are spam?

Thoughts on this kind of visual?

The original can be found here at Focus.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Diagrams, Visual Explanation

January 21, 2011, 2:14 pm

The Power of Concept

By Henry Woodbury

In its Digital Gallery, The State Records Authority of New South Wales offers an exhibition on the design of the Sydney Opera House. The exhibition is really just the online presentation of two documents, the competition drawings by Jørn Utzon and The Red Book, by the same:

This 1958 report (known also as the Red Book) was presented by Jørn Utzon to the Premier and the Opera House Committee in order to “give … a project which realizes in practical form the vision of the competition”. The report comprises: plans, sections, elevations, photographs of models of the Opera House; and reports by other consultants.

The technical plans are intersticed with Utzon’s free-form drawings and conceptual studies, creating, as a whole, an extraordinary essay in realized imagination.

Sidney Opera House sketch by Jørn Utzon

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Comments (2) | Filed under: Art, Books and Articles, Illustration, Visual Explanation

January 20, 2011, 11:30 am

Orrery Movie

By Henry Woodbury

A recent news release from the Minnesota Planetarium Society has cast doubt on the assumed alignment of the sun with the astrological constellations. Pshaw, say astrologers, our zodiac isn’t affected.

That’s because Western astrology strictly adheres to the tropical zodiac, which is fixed to seasons. The sidereal zodiac, observed in the East, is the one affixed to constellations, and is thus the one that would change.

In any case, this gives me the opportunity to highlight the digital orrery created by our creative director, Piotr Kaczmarek.

Digital Orrery

Within the application you can view the solar system according to the Copernican (sun-centered) or Tychonian (earth-centered) model. You can rotate the system by clicking and dragging on the outer ring, or let it move automatically by adjusting a slider in the top left. As for the zodiac display in the model, let us assume that it is the tropical zodiac, and thus needs no recalibration.

UPDATE (April 23, 2011): With the relaunch of our DynamicDiagrams.com web site we have featured the Orrery on its own page where you can view it as an external Flash file or download a Mac or Windows screensaver. I have updated the links in this post to connect to that page.

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Comments (28) | Filed under: Current Events, Information Design, Visual Explanation

January 14, 2011, 2:17 pm

The 50 Pixel Hangover (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Henry Woodbury

One significant target for our Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams project is the redesign of this blog. The interface designs are close to final now and have us thinking about how we will import current content. Unlike our primary web site we will not recreate content or images for Information Design Watch. Instead we will create a WordPress theme and apply it to the existing posts.

The issue is this. Our new blog design has a 640 pixel width content column. The current design has a 690 pixel width content column. Any image or object in our archives sized to the maximum setting of 690 pixels wide will not fit the new format.

We are approaching this issue in two different ways.

First, about month ago, we set 640 pixels as the maximum image size in the current theme. This means that recent images are already optimized to work within the new design.

Second, the new design features a wide content margin. Using a negative margin CSS technique, images up to 690 pixels can extend into this margin without obscuring sidebar links or breaking the column.

There is a third solution. We can manually edit each post with a 690 pixel width image and replace it. That one awaits a design intern.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Implementation, Technology, Web Interface Design

January 6, 2011, 1:46 pm

They Aren’t in the Coffee Business, They’re in the Milk Business

By Henry Woodbury

I wish I could remember who came up with that jab. It stuck with me.

The new logo doesn’t say “milk,” but it doesn’t say “coffee” either.

New Starbucks Logo

Add this to the annals of Logo Evolution.

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

January 6, 2011, 10:43 am

Social Media for Designers

By Henry Woodbury

Combine social media with design and you might end up with a site like Dribbble (that’s with three b’s). Just make sure you also come up with an elegant user interface design and use an oddball basketball metaphor for the site vocabulary.

Excerpt from Dribbble home page, 6-Jan-2010

Like many successful social media sites, the underlying concept is simple. Where Twitter limits word count, Dribbble limits image size — to 300 x 400 pixels, max. Common social media elements like tags, comments, and fans enrich the experience. Fans and views drive a popularity index and an inexplicable “playoffs” page.

One of Dribbble’s innovations is the “rebound”, a graphical reply to another posted design. This is technically similar to sharing in Facebook or trackbacks in blogging, but Dribbble does a markedly superior job in presenting the cross-communication. Which is good, because cross-communication inspires better design.

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Charts and Graphs, Design, Diagrams, Information Design, Social Media, Technology, Web Interface Design