Apocalypse When? This brilliant data visualisation charts doomsday

IIB Studio has visually mapped out the 23 steps to the end of the world for BBC Future.

In time for Blue Monday next week, supposedly the most depressing day of the year, IIB Studio has created this  Apocalypse When? infographic.

This guide to Doomsday threats is a data visualisation for BBC Future, one of six bespoke feature-led sections on BBC.com, the international version of BBC.co.uk.

(Information Is Beautiful) IIB Studio researched, designed and developed the data visualisation, exploring the likely man-made and natural apocalyptic scenarios that could spell the end for the human race in one fell swoop.

Charting the apocalometer

Each threat was then evaluated and ranked on a massive ‘apocalometer’.

The piece also looks at past extinctions on Earth that have also been known to kill off various numbers of species previously.

“Apocalypse When? is a super-interesting piece of work,” said Duncan Swain, Creative Partner at IIB Studio. “It’s entertaining yet thought-provoking with regards to the variety of apocalyptic scenarios that could take place. It is the perfect intelligent conversation piece and data visualisation for next week’s Blue Monday, allegedly the most depressing day of the year.”

“We’re hoping people will look on the bright side when they realize how bad things could be in 100, 1,000 or even more years into the future.”

"With this piece we wanted something that felt like old-school sc-fi, something that could evoke apocalyptic visions of the future," Swain revealed. "We looked at imagery from the Cold War and Space Race era to get a handle on the colour palette, illustration style and typography from that period as we felt that really resonated with the data and subject matter."

To lighten the tone somewhat IIB also wanted the piece to have a comic book or childlike feeling. 

"We used simplified illustrations, using limited colour ways reminiscent of a 50's school text book or comic," Swain explained. "Use of textured backgrounds and drop shadows give it a grainy, 'aged' look too."

The future of the BBC

BBC Future focuses on ideas and innovations in science, technology and health that are changing the way we live.

Simon Frantz, Editor, BBC Future, said: “There are a lot of Doomsday scenarios out there, so we wanted to evaluate and illustrate the most well-known ones, whether they are man-made or natural."

"Few people realise that the Earth has actually already been through what can be qualified as apocalypses already. IIB Studio has deftly researched and created a data visualisation that tells a multi-layered story, mixing fun with education, and giving everyone pause for thought.”