29 Jul

Olympics Torchbearers – working on a collaborative data project

I was recently asked by Paul Bradshaw (online journalist and founder of Help me Investigate) to create an infographic as part of his investigations into the Olympic Torchbearers – and more specifically, who got the places?

The investigation has not appeared both on The Guardian DataBlog (read it here) and Help Me Investigate Olympics

And – if you’re feeling in a generous mood, the whole investigation has been turned into an ebook, with a donation option – raising money for Brittle Bone Society.


Olympic Torchbearers infographic

25 Jul

10 ways to use infographics: part 1

Part 2 here

Please note: not all images are mine  – please click image for source

Infographics are hot property right now. Many companies use them and image sharing sites like Pinterest and Flickr are full of them. Here are 10 ways you could bring your information to life in an interesting and accessible way.

1. “Linkbait” – sell your services

An example of an infographic used to promote a serviceThis is THE most popular use of infographics. Most of the ones you see online fall into this category.

They tend to be long thin images, stuffed full of interesting facts on a particular subject. They also bear the name of the company which has commissioned the infographic, to promote their services/business.

If the infographic gets some traction online, and goes viral, then the name of the company goes viral along with it They key is to not overdo the promotional message. The infographic has to be interesting in it’s own right otherwise people will not share it. 

Also, think about the subject – pick a topic that will be of interest to potential customers.

Example:The example to the right (click for full image) is an interesting infographic showing a range of education statistics.

I can imagine this being of interest to teachers, education decision makers and funders. These also happen to be the audience who would have a say about the resources used in an educational institution. Scroll to the bottom, and you will see the infographic has been commissioned by Microsoft, to promote their Education services.

2. Journalism – tell a story

New York Times InfographicA growing area for infographics. A major part of journalism is communicating the details of a situation to an audience.

Infographics are a perfect way to show facts, structures and timelines in a different  way. Journalistic infographics  tend to be more stylised and have space to show the detail.

They are are often designed to be examined over a longer period of time than the “snapshot” infographics shown above. The Guardian do great work with animated data visualization (see Reading the Riots) There are also opportunities to use video and animation (I created an animated map to demonstrate the The Spread of Tech over time).


3. Graphic – illustrate an article

A quarter page infographic within a written articleNot many magazines are using infographics instead of photographs for print or online articles (the trend tends to be “infographic instead of written article” or use standard bar and line charts if stats need explaining).

Communicate Magazinefeature an article every month focussing on a reader survey. I create several quarter or half page images, each one deals with 1, 2 or 3 particular questions in the survey.

Flick through the magazine and the article stands out – the images are a stark difference to the photographs and adverts.

If your subject does feature statistics, consider moving away from a dry, Excel-chart format and make better use of the space you have. More Communicate work here

4. Annual Report – revive your statistics

Image of circular infographic used in an annual report

Full image not currently available

Annual reports are a great way to show off your company’s work over the past 12 months. It can also be an opportunity to show off your creativity to investors, clients and customers.

The chart to the right (full image not available) was created for the annual report for the Birmingham-based arts organisation Sampad. They had tried infographics before, but with a smaller report planned, they wanted a compact solution to show a series of figures and I managed to match up the data and use a circular chart with a separate map in the middle.

There is so much scope to use your annual statistics to create something very creative and interesting 0- you never know, people may actually start reading your annual report!

5. Postcards/posters – show off your work

The infographic above presented a large amount of data in a small space. However, infographics can also be used to show a few simple facts into a larger, clear graphic.

If your company is attending a conference, hosting a client/investor social event or simply want something to hand out to prospective clients, an infographic can be a short snappy way to show off your achievements. The key here is to find a few vital facts  – and presenting them in an easy-to-digest and entertaining way.

The set of postcards to the left were created for Gateway Family Services. The cards were to be scattered on tables at a gala event for the organisations key contacts.

There are also plans to use these as posters- which would be incredibly effective. As each deals with a different subject area, the posters could be used in the relevant user-centres.

The postcards can also be used by staff members to celebrate the work of the organisation in a non-formal setting (eg in meetings, and networking events) —– If you are interested in introducing infographics to your business, let’s talk!


Part 2 coming soon featuring:

  • inserts for video
  • client  explanation / in-house induction
  • audience analysis / internal and external
  • adverts
  • presentations

Don’t miss it – subscribe to RSS feed or follow me on  Twitter

25 Jul

Communicate – latest issue out now

I am delighted to say that the latest issue of Communicate Magazine is out, featuring a handful of my latest infographics.

As their in-house Visualization Specialist, I create graphics from various research data for their monthly issues.

For this issue, the focus was the attitudes of the PR industry and the media to digital trends, including use of email and social media.

I created more images than the ones used in the article – the rest are going to be used in another publication, a report for researcher Broadland Maingate and for an online animated project.

See my previous work for Communicate


03 Jul

Update > 18 June 2012 – busy busy busy!

(this post was written weeks ago – just getting around to sending it now)

Well it seems that freelancing is like waiting for a bus.

After a few weeks of not-much-at-all, now I’m going through a very promising patch.

Active Projects

I am currently working on 3 dataviz projects – one for the London Fire Brigade (an infographics on cuts and spending), an infographic for Walsall Council and a project for regular client Communicate magazine.

The Communicate project should be an interesting one, as my work is going to be turned into animations – watch this space!


Today I found out I was to become part of the Compass Design team. I will be helping out with social media, online content and some design bits and pieces, as work comes in. This came from a chance meeting at Birmingham City University, during an MA Social Media class. I was leading the class, whilst Rachel McCollin (from Compass) had been invited to speak to the students about dealing with clients. Over coffee today we decided it would be good to work together.


The recent DevLab event was another boost to my freelancing opportunities.

The event took place on Fri 15th Jun 2012 – Sat 16th Jun 2012 at the Old Library at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, with the aim of bringing together developers and general techy-geeky types with arts organisations keen on investigating the digital world.

As well as some very interesting conversations with several organizations on the day (including Walsall Arts Gallery, SAMPAD and Capsule) I was also lucky enough to work alongside Zarino Zappia, from Scraperwiki on a quick-turnaround project for SAMPAD. The aim is to mash up the organisations mailing list data, with socio-economic data from the region. This should help the organization work out why they are not hitting certain areas of the city (are they a target audience or not etc.)

I’ve never really got on with Scraperwiki (this is a HUGE understatement), and my contibution to the hack was sourcing the extra data, but I get the feeling my conversations with Zarino are not over – I’ve already bent his ear about a WYSIWYG version of Scraperwiki for non-coders like myself.

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020