Infographic: Final Product

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I have completed my final draft of the poster. After going through various changes I’m fairly happy with the result As you can see I have added the timeline, I based this off an oscilloscope . Something that has a sci-fi kind of feel to it but is also an apparatus for measuring data which fits well with a timeline. It counts frequency of strikes since 1940 to 2014. I have also gotten rid of the constellation background and dimmed the stars slightly. I felt it overpowered the center of the poster and I thought the negative space with the the constellations absent looks better and draws your eye more to the data. I chose to keep a few of the stars because it creates the retro futuristic space feel that I wanted the poster to have. I have also added thickened and red lines to display the largest 7/10 craters on earth.

Critique:

The main (and most prominent) problem with this infographic is that there is only one view of the globe. Therefore I had to miss some of the data out, as I could not have a 3D object. This could be solved with a f;at map, but I felt it was necessary to have a globe to get the right feel to the poster and get across the data easily. One idea I did have was to create a web page with an interactive infographic. I could create a spinning globe with CSS 3 animaiton and create a slider which represents the timeline. When dragged you’ll be able to see each strike happen in the animaiton above. Essentially it is a sequenced CSS animation which is controlled with the movement of the slider.

Looking back at my initial sketch I think I have done well to stick to my initial concept, making changes where necessary. I also think I have displayed the data well. It is immediatelyapparent that the lines represent meteor strikes. However the colour of which is more ambiguous. This is why I have created a small and simple key at the bottom to tell the viewer what they mean.

The overall design I am pleased with. I think it does retain some of the retro futuristic design cues i wished to use, but also incorperates some modern ttechniques For example the multiple overlapping lines would have been difficult for an illustrator to draw but is quite feasible in a modern Illustrator software.

However I feel perhaps I could have done something more radical with the globe. Perhaps render a low-poly 3d globe in Cinema 4D and trace it into vector graphics. This is something I could consider for a future project.

Have I managed to make this infographic both visually appealing and easy to understand?

I am pleased with how the infographic look. After asking a few of my peers they agree however I did have to explain the ‘Old Fashioned’ look to a few. But it was appreciated. I wanted to depart from the current flat design trend, and focus on a trend that really excites me. My peers also found it fairly easy to understand. Apart from the red lines. Which is why I eventually added the key.

To summurise I am pleased with the outcome, and there are a very few changes I would make if I did this again (I would honestly try something completely different If I did). I could have made this task a little easier for myself if I had not decided to render the outer glow of the globe in vector as it caused alot of slowing down issues if I needed to change something. It should be easy to understand and Is something that I’d like to put on my wall as a design piece aswell as an informative datasheet.

meteorites

Infographic: Design changes

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Having left the poster for a while coming back to it, I did not like the design so much. So as you can see above I have created a border, much like the ones seen in my earlier posts. I think this frames the data well, and also lend a sort of cinematic feel to the poster.

Next I did not like the colour scheme I had been using for the globe and its lines. I like the look and feel the The Verge’s web series The Big Future. It has a sort of retro futuristic feel to it and a great colour scheme which I then go on to use in my poster.

Here are some of the design changes I made. This also includes adding a constellation in the background. I’ve kept the gradient on the earth as I believe it lends itself well to the retro futuristic feel of the poster, as it is seen often in the illustrations I have looked at.

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Infographic design process 4

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Having now selected my font (Phosphate) I gave my infographic a title. Something that is not technical and explicitly say what it is doing. The title ended up being. Meteorites: A map of terrestrial craters across the earth.

I think this title is good as it says exactly what I aim to show and is sort of evocative of graph naming in science.

I chose these fonts because it has that retro futuristic feel to it, but also kind of like a 1950s movie theatre sign which I think lends itself well to this poster as I have used some movie posters for inspiration. The second font used is raleway dots. However I think I may change this due to it not being very visible making the subtitle less significant.

Infographic design process 3

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After creating the globe, the next step was to build the lines to represent the strikes. I did so by using the pen tool to create a line and then copying and pasting. This saved time over individually creating each line in the place it needs to end up as I had planned to worry about positioning after. Again using the direct select tool I selected the ends on the globe individually and placed them in the position of their craters (using a map as reference) I wasn’t too worried about specific positioning, but I got as close to the point of impact as possible).

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After positioning I had to connect all of the anchor points for the lines together. Here I use a technique I found when learning how to create low-poly portraits in illustrator. Using the Direct select tool, You select each end of the line you want to join (shown above). After all anchor points have been selected use the align tool (both horizontal and vertical). The aligns all anchor points to each other, thus merging them all into one. This process proved to be much quicker than dragging and dropping each individual anchor point onto each other.

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Infographic design process 2

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I begun by creating a new A2 document in Illustrator CC. I decided to use Illustrator for creating my vector graphic because I am relatively familiar with it already. The first object I created was the globe. I did so by getting a picture of the earth (with the portion of land that I wanted to show) and creating an circle of the same size. After that I used the pen tool to trace the landforms in a relatively accurate way, however maintaining a kind of low-poly feel that I was look to do initially. My first plan was to create a 3D low-poly globe in Cinema 4D, but the task was to use vector graphics only. After creating the land I zoomed in to make sure everything fit. Making minor changes using the Direct Select tool (A) which allows you to select singular anchor points of your vector shape.

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This allowed me to make minor changes, like making sure the land fit inside the circle I had previously made.

Infographic Design process.

sketch

This is my initial sketch for my infographic. My idea is to display a globe suspended in space by the lines that represent the meteor strikes. This should give a visually striking look to the poster making seem as if the world is being hung up from wires, but also shows the data in a fairly easy to read way. With this We should be able to see clusters of strikes easily and the location at which they impact. The origin of the lines is not meant to be accurate as to where the meteors have come from in space, but just a representation. The poster should feel minimalistic, like there is not too much going on. Perhaps I will create one poster with the text info and one without which I have seen on various infographics before, like the one in my initial infographic post. I hope to stick to this drawing, as it was my initial concept that I sketched out and I like the best out of my ideas. Others included a flat earth and dots/pins to represent strikes. And various other origins of the lines.

Infographic research: Displaying the data.

Something that should go hand in hand with design is usability. This poster must be simple to understand, which means coming up with an intuitive way to display the data I need. In this case recorded meteor strikes. The first thing I notice when looking at most infographics is that they require a key to understand it at all. Although this may be necessary for my poster I want to make it as understandable as possible. After looking at the data available, the amount of recorded meteor strikes through history, would make the poster look a mess and be wholly unreadable. Therefore I have decided to map only the terrestrial craters on earth rather than use all recorded strikes only in a certain area of the world. I chose to do so because my initial idea for the poster involves the whole globe and mapping every recorded strike would be far too confusing to the viewer.

My idea is to separate the data onto the image of a globe with lines going to locations of these craters (symbolising the impact of the meteor) and have a time line with the frequency of strikes below. This simple separation of two forms of data should make the poster almost instantly understandable to an audience.  Also, using only two forms of data should simplify the poster even more, making it much more visually appealing.

I think making this poster look less like a scientific diagram (like one would find in a text book) and more like a poster you would want to hang on the wall is the key to success. The data can be displayed both appealingly and effectively. One of the factors I will judge myself on after finishing the poster is whether I have managed to do both.  The problem with the infographic below is that it does not look appealing to the viewer. However it does display the data in a very understandable way.

infographic