Unit 2 Reading

In Chapter two, forms and functions are discussed with explanation of how visualization is technology. His main points about how visualization is as powerful as technology is through functions and forms, correct data representation, the bubble plague and the flexibility of visualization. In the chapter eight reading, the culture of teamwork, collaboration and constructive criticism is discussed and how to work with complex data visualization. It covers numerous areas in form of interview questions about the process of completing projects and what it’s like to work in the graphic design field with a team.

Capital infographics are also discussed by same means of interview questions and the importance of infographics from Hannah Fairfield’s perspective who was the graphics director at The Washington Post. Lastly Jan Schwochow an executive creative director of infographics agency Golden Section Graphics talks about her experience in the field and how its a brutal production but how she likes the field for simple sake of experimentation. Cairo explains how function may doesn’t necessarily determine form but how in most cases it can be the opposite of this. He discusses form this by means of the process of natural selection and how a trait evolves over a period of time due to a response to an environmental challenge and need for a particular purpose. He uses giraffes as an example through the process of evolution. Giraffes need to reach higher each day (the function) and the development of longer necks (the form) over a period of time. Function is therefore created through a need to “form” or fulfill these needs.

In this chapter Cairo also discusses the “bubble plague” and its overuse in news media. He expresses how it is a good reason behind the stress of infographic departments worried more about how their projects look rather than how they work. Bubble charts are overused for there visual appeal however they are not the most appropriate for every scenario. The human brain is not good at calculating surface sizes rather then single dimensions (length and height) so for this reason they should not be misused to represent information. Infographics are supposed to help us make precise comparisons between values in a way where information is obtained in its simplest and most accurate form.

Hot-linked below is an example of a bubble chart used visually in a simple but empowering way in which information can be obtained quickly. It is a representation comparing two sets of people (democrats vs republicans) during two presidential nominating elections. It is easy to follow because colors are simple and readability is well. Also bubble sizes help to catch the viewers eyes on which words were most trending. Screen shot 2015-04-23 at 11.21.18 PM


Example of a physical infographic:




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