It's probably hard to get excited about infographics, data visualisations and information design until you see these winning designs from the Information is Beautiful Awards in London last night. Hosted at LSO St Luke's in Old Street, we saw exceptional work from studios, news organisations like The Guardian, students such as autistic University of Oxford student Rhodes Scholar, Jory Fleming – and individuals including Dutch astronomer gone full-time data designer Nadieh Bremer, who took out three awards.
Every year these awards celebrate the ability to merge statistics on topics such as current affairs, sport and humanity with creative design to make an informative and beautiful story. Some are published on news stories, some as daily posts on Instagram, and others in the form of documentary. These data visualisations are completely varied in form and subject.
This year saw a lot of focus on the US – Trump inevitably, but also the opioid crisis, gun control, and changing state borders for more efficient voting. We also saw a rise in tools and software to aid data visualisation, such as the Spark typeface by After the Flood seen here (which creates sparklines and charts within bodies of text) and an infographic digital library by Copenhagen infographic agency Ferdio, called the DataVizProject. There was also exploration on how machine learning and artificial intelligence can help our infographic processes, which echoes an experimental tool called Lincoln produced by Adobe, and announced at the Sneaks event at Adobe Max.
Winning infographics also covered the journey of Isis and other foreign fighters, the seasonal rhythm of food, the unlikely odds of making it big in the music industry and why so many babies are born around 8am (seen here).
The awards are founded by data journalist David McCandless and consulting company Kantar, who give US$20,000 to winners and runners up across eight subjects: Current Affairs & Politics, Environment & Maps, Entertainment & Pop Culture, Sports, Games & Leisure, People, Language & Identity, Environment & Maps, Science and Technology, and Unusual. There were also special prizes to visualisations not in English.
“In this era of ‘fake news’ and social media overload, data visualisation is one of the most powerful ways to get to the truth behind complex stories,” says David.
“This year’s winner show that data graphics can illuminate complex topics like migration, the gender pay gap and climate change. But are also just as suited to fun topics like artistry of craft beer, fixing toilets and the Italian surfing scene.”
Image: Silver winner winner Science & Technology category.
By: Nadieh Bremer, Zan Armstrong & Jennifer Christiansen
These awards also recognise five special categories, with each winner receiving an additional US$1000.
Dutch astronomer turned data designer Nadieh Bremer picked up gold for Outstanding Individual, having also been recognised for her work in the Unusual (gold) and Science and Technology (silver) categories; DensityDesign Lab were named Studio of the Year, in addition to awards for both their Current Affairs and Politics (gold) and Humanitarian & Global (silver) entries; and a submission won by 23-year-old Rhodes Scholar and University of Oxford student, Jory Fleming, the rising star award.
Here we take a look at the winning infographics, data visualisations and information design from each category.
Current Affairs & Politics
By: DensityDesign Lab
Details the journey of ISIS’ foreign fighters to the territories of the Caliphate, and those who return.
Sports, Games & Leisure
By: Moritz Stefaner, Simon Rogers et al
Why is September 15th an important day for cheeseburgers? How did Ariana Grande influence Google searches for donuts in 2015?
People, Language & Identity
By: Thu-Huong Ha & Nikhil Sonnad, Quartz
Analysing hundreds of thousands of people who played Google’s game Quick Draw to show how culture shapes our instincts.
Environments & Maps
By: TASS Russian News Agency
A special historical project by Russian news agency TASS dedicated to the Patriotic War of 1812.
Humanitarian & Global
By: Neil Hailoran
A documentary series that asks thought-provoking questions about war, peace and humanity using a unique form of cinematic data visualisation.
Arts, Entertainment & Pop Culture
By: Russell Goldenberg & Dan Kopf, The Pudding
What three years and 75,000 shows in New York tell us about the chance your favourite band will succeed.
By: Nadieh Bromer & Shirley Wu
A year long collaboration creating monthly data visualisations on topics such as nostalgia, the Olympics and more.
Science & Technology
By: Kim Albrecht
Can we predict the timing of a scientist's outstanding achievement? A study of the evolution of productivity and impact throughout thousands of scientific careers.
By: Jory Fleming, University of Oxford
After Obama's last state of the union address Jory became interested in gerrymandering. He hopes they can help others interested in an esoteric yet important subject.
By: Hannah Dyrcz
The Report involves a range of data visualisations, depicting diverse phenomena and processes within the company.