9 Creative Data Visualizations And What You Can Learn From Them
By Kamal Jacob
“A good sketch is better than a long speech.” — Napoleon
A human brain processes visual information better and faster than it process texts. So if you are feeling lost looking at a slew of number and texts, it is not your fault. You need the data to be presented in a logical, easy-to-understand way to find out what it is trying to convey.
Enters data visualization. It is the art of presenting the attributes or variables of information units in schematic form i.e. using graphs, charts, and design elements to explain the data trends and stats in an easily understandable format.
The thing is data visualization is not a new phenomenon. However, with the growing popularity of data science and the generation of huge pools of data, data visualization has gained new dimensions. What used to be simple charts and graphs have been now replaced with complex and creative pieces of data. The range of creativity is amazing and data artists are creating new benchmarks in the world of data design every day.
Whether you are an aspiring designer or an established, check out these 9 highly creative data visualizations that will wow you.
Note – Please click on the hyperlinked source to check the complete data visualization
1) Buses Bunch by Setosa
In setosa, there is a beautiful network of public buses. However, they often faced the issue of ‘Bus Bunching’. Which means when ‘one’ bus gets delayed, it causes multiple buses to arrive at a single stop at the same time. Explaining this phenomenon using numbers and text data would have been difficult. So they converted the complex data into a data visualization that looks like an interactive game. When the buses rotate along a route, you can pause (delay) a bus. Soon you will find multiple buses reaching the same stop at a time causing ‘bus bunching’.You can see and easily understand how even a short delay can cause the buses to bunch over a period of time.
2) The U.S. Age Pyramid
This beautiful data illustration from The Next America presents an extremely large volume of data in the simplest manner possible to illustrate how age and gender demographics are shifting over time. The bar chart gives us a detailed view of different age range at once and the changing length of the bar tells us about the increase/decrease in population over time. Two different shades of orange help the reader differentiate between the data for men and women while using the entire bar to show the population as a whole.
The interactivity and simplicity of this graph are second to none. It’s a great way to tell a larger story in a neat package.
3) Routines of Creative People
Just to prove the fact that not all artists think or work in a similar fashion, this interactive piece showcases the daily routines of some of the world’s most famous writers, artists and musicians. It combines a huge amount of data into a single page and is surprisingly easy to understand in one glance. It uses colours to distinguish trends and encourage the viewer to interact with the piece by hovering over the colour bars to know more about the artist’s daily routines. You can also filter between categories by toggling on or off. Creativity at its best.
4) The Marvel Cinematic Universe
If you are a Marvel movie fan, you will love this data visualization. All the Marvel movies released since 2008 make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You must be knowing that characters and stories in different Marvel movies are all intertwined. This interactive data visualization gives you a fun way to understand the connections between characters and movies inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Simply click on a character to know everything about it including his/her friends, foes and changing character graph across movies.
5) Contributors to Global Warming
It is one of the best data visualizations you will ever come across. The main agenda of the visualization is to disapprove theories that claim that global warming is caused due to natural causes. The interactive image will take you through a temperature rise tour from 1880 to the present day. As you scroll down the image page, the visualization will tell you how much each (major) factor contributes to global warming. The image is neat, easy to understand and yet deliver a very strong message with a rich layer of storytelling.
6) Selficity – Studying Selfies
We all love selfies, don’t we? But this data visualization analyzes studies as we have never thought. Selfiecity is a data visualization created after analyzing 120,000 selfies from 5 major cities across the world to study how different people take their selfies. The study is very comprehensive and it slices and dices selfies on aspects we can never imagine, including finding trends in everything from age, group, gender to location preference, head tilt, eyes as well as smile frequency. You will be amazed at findings like in Moscow you have 4.6 times more female than male selfies and that women in Sao Paulo selfies favor an extreme head tilt compared to the rest of the world. There is also an interactive element in the visualization that allows the user to apply a filter to analyze selfies of a particular city.
7) 100 Years of Rock Music in a Frame
This data visualization is one of the prime examples of how you can combine tons of data in a single frame. This data visualization shows the evolution of rock music from pre-1900s until till date in a single page. A look at the image and you can make out the 100 years of journey of rock without investing any time and effort. Not only does this page simplifies information, but it also provides audio samples for each genre of music mentioned in the page.
8) The ‘Deep’ Visualization to Illustrate Depth
This infographic from The Washington Post is so long that it seems never-ending! And that is on purpose. In this case, they want to illustrate the scale and have used data visualization to convey their point. To make people realize how far a deep-sea signal from an airplane can be detected, they have compared the depth to the height of a tall building, the maximum size of known mammals, the depth of Titanic wreck and so on. The visual is simple yet effectively conveys the message it needs to. The use of colour gradient is excellent and adding of real news (missing Malaysian airliner) help us realize the real value of deep-sea signal
9) Mascara Selection using Data Viz
Keuzestress” by Sonja Kuijpers is a wonderful example of an original creative data visualization. As mentioned in her website – “Sonja was searching for a mascara that fit her needs, but soon found out that the there’s an overwhelming number of decisions that you need to make in order to choose a mascara - add length, add volume, add curl, or how about all three?” So she creates a data visualization using all the data she could collect on the mascaras that a Dutch makeup shop supplied. She used the original image such as a black circle to represent black mascara and a grey circle around it to represent volume. The final result was mind-boggling. By representing tons of mascara choices she has into custom-stule data visualization, she was able to turn into something more tangible that people could sort, order, and connect with.
These are some amazing examples of the power of creativity in the field of data visualization. Few things that are common in all the visualizations are their simplicity and their capability to explain more with less time and effort. With the evolution of data science and more data available than ever before, data artists have plentiful rich opportunities to explore how to covey the ideas behind data effectively.
And that’s a wrap! Hope this blog post proves to be insightful for you! Also, If you seek to upskill your Data Visualization skills, feel free to check out our Data Visualization Courses here.