All about mapping right now

All about mapping right now ——————————————— I’m currently working on a handful of map-based projects for clients. Two of them are using Tableau to create maps about funding in relation to demographic information. I’m leaning heavily on Mapbox (https://www.mapbox.com) to create personalised maps The other is a map-based infographic for a new educational client (HINT: a well known top-notch University!) (note the image above is NOT my map - ...

Quick posting to WordPress from a Mac

Studio Diary Post - Saturday 8 Apr 2017 - 8:55am - What a palaver! ——————————————— Currently working on: Trying to set up a quick way to create and publish blog posts from my desktop Notes: I recently set myself a challenge to start blogging more. I know that I won't sit down and create a long post on a regular basis, but sometimes there are thoughts, ideas or products I want to share quickly. So i needed something I could get into quickly, w...

PROJECT: how to create an animation in Illustrator and Photoshop

WHAT An animated gif of an album cover (Eat Yourself Whole by Kingmaker) WHY I've wanted to learn animation for a while. I'd really like to be able to offer simple animated graphics to my clients. Many of them ask for small images to use on social media, as well as full infographics, so I'd like to be able to offer an animated version as well. Social media is so busy with images, so a GIF that plays and reveals information will help the post real

> NOTES from Reasons To … conference Brighton, 2016

In Sept 2016 I attended the Reasons To ... conference in Brighton, UK. Read more about the conference here During the 3 days I jotted notes, ideas and references into a large Moleskine. Worried my notes may make less sense over time, In've transcribed them below. Enjoy. Key person to find / follow etc.  book/ article wikipedia link  something to search  random notes  my thoughts / questions  Image / photo reference  web

First month in Brighton

  It's been a month since I moved to Brighton from Birmingham. I know the city well, having gone to the University of Sussex back in the mid-90s. However, I've never had a 'proper' job here, so I was keen to jump into the creative / freelance world as soon as possible. Co-working space Joining the Skiff was a great decision. It's know for being one of the cooler and more social co-working spaces (and also one of the more expensive) b...

Why data is more than just numbers

Quick thought: When I'm delivering a training session, or talking to clients, I try to avoid using the term 'data' and instead use the word 'information'.   Many clients and trainees fall into the trap of thinking that data means numbers, whether that's sales figures, yearly activity data or survey results. However, it's more useful to think of data as information  - which can cover anything from times and dates, locations, systems, lists of names...

Studio Diary: 20 Apr 2016 – new ideas and girlpunks music

 20 April 2016 06:00am My desk Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham Listening to: Aphex Twin - On Spotify - Discover weekly Playlist Whip It Soundtrack   Quick update today - half day in the office finishing off a project then heading home (for a change of scenery) to work on some admit bits and pieces.   Arts research Final day of work on this mapping project, which has turned into a bit of a report layout job. This has led me to

Studio Diary: 19 Apr 2016 – Levellers, text-wrangling and hi-res images

 19 April 2016 10:45am My desk Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham Levellers, Levelling the Land Amorphous Androgynous     I'm working on a couple of fairly straightforward infographic projects today. I prefer to have several projects on the go at a time - it means I always have something to work on, even if some are with clients for review.   Arts report I'm creating 5 A4 graphics to be inserted into a Word report. These 5 pages ar

Relocating as a freelancer

I'm about to relocate 3 hours across the country from Birmingham to Brighton. To my American readers that may not seem very far (I know people who've moved from New York to LA), but it's still a big deal to me. I've been talking about moving for about 3 years and I'm not going to lie - the main reason it's taken me so long to actually do it, is my business.    I've been extremely lucky to have worked with some great people in and around Birm...

This week: waiting waiting waiting

w/c 4 Apr 2016   It's all about waiting this week.     MOVE DATE I'm in the middle of selling my flat in Birmingham and relocating to Brighton, on the south coast. As with any move there is a huge list of things that need to be done - not the least is packing. However, I'm still waiting for my move date so I can't really start tackling most of that list as it could be a few weeks away. Also knowing a move is coming I've

Freelancers: pricing structure options

My role as a freelancer means I work on a wide variety of projects. From one-off infographics, to long-running research projects. I've found that there is not a single perfect pricing system - instead I make a decision on a project-by-project basis. I will ask myself:  - is there a defined outcome / product? - have I done anything like this before? - how easily can I estimate the hours I will spend on this? - is there a risk of 'project creep...

Infographics training at the Press Association

I'm back at the Press Association delivering an infographics one-day session in May. If your organisation is looking to improve your infographics then this is the course for you. I've received excellent feedback, and with only 6 attendees, there's plenty of opportunity to ask questions about your organisations specific needs. The course combines hands-on training, discussion and group work.   Find out more about the course, and book...

Stop: you’re doing infographics all wrong

Infographics can be a really effective way to communicate. Whether you're a journalist, a researcher or a PR professional, using a visual format COULD be the perfect way for you to reach your audience. However, the internet is full of terrible examples of infographics that offer little value to the reader. Here are five ways people are getting it wrong. You're doing it for the wrong reasons When a client approaches me to design an infographic, I ...

5 Big Things of 2015

It's been quite a year! Here are a few of my highlights from 2015.   My Route Without doubt, the largest project I've ever worked on. My Route was a heritage project looking at the history of the Stratford Road in Birmingham through the changing businesses. I was commissioned by Sampad to design a touch table to allow the users to explore a map of the road, and find stories through audio, image and video content. This involved working wi

Why I’m loving …. Momentum app

I was tipped off about the Momentum app thanks to the weekly email from Tim Ferris. It's works of a very basic principle - guilt. Install and when you open a new tab in Chrome (presumably to waste time noodling around on Facebook) a full page picture appears asking for your name, email and "What is your main focus for today?". Complete these simple requests and each time you open a new tab you will see a full screen version of this.  

Thank you to …

I know as Brits we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but it seems as good an opportunity as any to send out some THANKS of my own. I've been running my own business for several years now (after a career change brought on by redundancy from my job in commercial radio) and I still have to pinch myself today when I think about all i have achieved.  Yes, I work hard, yes I've been savvy, but I could not have achieved what I have without the support and kind...

Hitting walls with a project? Going in circles? Try the Stuck Wheel

There are times in projects when you get completely stuck. You may find yourself going in circles, with a million reasons why you can't continue. These could be the fault of the client, overload of tasks, or a general bad feeling about how it's all progressing. For example you're: waiting for more information from someone else not enjoying the project struggling to understand the clients needs overwhelmed by too many tasks Every way you ...

Need a Tableau dashboard? Here’s the information I need

This post discussed my use of Tableau Software. For more information on Tableau visit the official website I've always used Tableau to quickly get to grips with a new data set and play with different chart types until I come across something effective. I've also created several 'personal' projects using this tool. More recently, I've been talking to several clients about creating Tableau dashboards or interactive infographics for them. These are

My Week – 5-9 May 2014 / big screens, walls and audiences

 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer - get in touch for more details It's been another one of those funny short bank Holiday weeks - but here's a quick summary of what I've been working on in the infographics design world, and training! SCIENCE CAPITAL On Tuesday night I spoke at the Science Capital "Doing Business With Data" event at Millennium Point in Birmingham. The focus of my talk was Presenting Yo...

Appearing soon at …

I've had a flurry of invitations to speak in public recently and, as one of my New Years Resolutions was to say 'yes' more, I've agreed to all of them. Over the next 2 months I'll be appearing at the following events - ticket details below, and if you're already going, do say hi!         April CAKE Morning Date: April 29th 2014 Venue:  Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham, Pritchatts Road, Edgbast...

Bits and Pieces: design-related podcasts

I’m a big fan of podcasts.I’m only sad that I don’t have more time to listen to them (for example, I can’t listen whilst I’m working, just when I’m at home, travelling or driving). I use the Pocket Casts app on my iPhone, which is a very smart, easy to use app and for the past 6 months I’ve been listening to a lot of design-related podcasts – here are my favourites (in no particular order!)[toc] Adventures in Design (website)(iTunes) Format: 3

5 Things I Discovered at Cheltenham Design Festival

Recently I visited the Cheltenham Design Festival as part of my ongoing education into art and design. The structure of the day meant attendees had to choose between a selection of great workshops and presentations and I found the day incredibly interesting and inspiring. Here are the top ideas I heard/learnt today: 1. Infographics Are Not Dead Which is just as well! I was starting to get a little nervous. Not only has the infographics world...

UPDATE – courses, quickies and connections

I'm constantly pleased to see the number of organisations thinking about visual communication. Over the last 6 months I've been busy with a series of "Influential Analysis" training courses for Understanding Modern Government, where I have been (hopefully) inspiring people to rethink how they communicate information both internally and externally. Organisations attending the public courses, or booking in-house sessions, include various NHS trusts...

Information Designer for Hire: what to expect

 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer - get in touch for more details Whilst organisations may have had experience working with graphics or branding designers in the past, the process to develop an infographic is very different. Ask any graphics designer who's been asked to convert a 20 page report into an image, and chances are they'll tell you that designing an infographic requires a whole new set of skil...

Work in Progress: The Warriors plot-map

Intro If you follow me on Instagram  you may have seen a picture I posted recently. To most people it would have looked like a random arrangement of squiggles, lines and terrible sketches. In fact it was a draft sketch of the plot of  The Warriors, a film that came out in 1979 (trailer) The plot is set in a slightly-futuristic New York, where gangs in theatrical-costume uniforms roam the streets defending their turf. After being called to an

Infographics? Infovisuals? Stop and think

Visual communication is nothing new. Man has been daubing on walls and scratching into rock for centuries. Whether it's “5 Ways to Catch and Skin a Deer” or “The River Styx: Everything You Need to Know”, visual representations of information have been the simplest way to pass information from one person to another. Nowadays, the data explosion has meant there is not only more information to be conveyed, but an increased demand for access and understa

5 key elements of a freelance career

5 key elements of a freelance career
I was recently invited to speak to BA students at BCU about enterprise - and specifically, how I managed to forge a freelance career for myself. Having retrained (I used to be a commercial radio journalist) I think there are 5 key areas I focused on to make it PEOPLE People have to be the main focus of your freelancer career - you work alone so you have to generate all your work yourself. Social media is a brilliant tool for finding new contacts an

Tableau Public – creating a map for someone else to update

Tableau Public – creating a map for someone else to update
If you're not familiar with Tableau Public, you can find out more here ---- I've recently been working on a project which encourages creative SME's to explore data as a way of improving their business. I'll blog more about the project at a later date, but I wanted to share on particular element of the project that I thought may be useful. After discussions with one company, we decided a series of maps would help them plot future business growth. O

The Kernel Returns [updated]

The Kernel Returns [updated]
UPDATE Well, blow me down with a feather ...  new look The Kernel is  definitely worth a revisit. I was always put off by the overly-snarky comments (see below) and it appears I wasn't the only one. The  site has managed to shift from vicious bile to playful teasing  - and it works. It's definitely back in my RSS feed - I just hope the many tech power-players they took pot shots at in the past are willing to let bygone be bygones. In terms ...

10 Ways I Stay Productive

10 Ways I Stay Productive
As a freelancer it's very easy to fall into bad habits - working from home, lots of different projects and being my own boss means long days of low productivity, and no clear division between work time and free time. Since I left my "proper" job in 2009 I've been trying a host of ways to get things done - these are the things I've learnt work for me. 1. Find Your Work Hours It's taken me a while but I've found I am super productive early in the morn

10 Rules for Using Icons on Infographics

10 Rules for Using Icons on Infographics
  Icons, pictograms, smileys, dingbats - call them what you like - visual language is a fascinating area of design. Yes, varieties of visual language has been used for years, with varying degrees of success, and it's likely that icons will one day be relegated to the "naf bin". For now, thought, there are a range of icons out there that can really spice up your website, infographic or presentation But use with care - here are my 10 tip...