« String music | Main | Visualizing web statistics »



These numbers are fairly pointless, without some estimate of how much improvement is due to better treatment, possibly due to earlier detection, and not the result of shifting the time origin as cancer is detected earlier.


It could be said that the traditional newspaper headline itself, bold and black in big letters, displays a poor "data to ink" ratio. Why, the same information could be encoded in type no bigger than that of the body of the article! I've sneered at Seth Godin in the past (one day I must get round to actually making and posting my parody "Napoleon's march to Moscow, as imagined by Godin") but I don't buy into the Tufte church 100% myself.

Tufte makes a distinction between "informing" and "pitching", which I agree with, and takes a dim view of pitching, that I don't share. There's a place for it when you want to sell something. This Independent graphic is piching its issue of the newspaper; it's the graphic equivalent of the text headline, and by all accounts the Indie has sold more newspapers when it does this. I'll see if I can dig up some other examples. I seem to remember a giant text "0%" on one issue's front cover, in white (plain paper) on a black (ink) background. Data-to-ink ratio approaching infinitesimal!

John S.

Let me make a small criticism of the figure. The color red usually signals danger, death, conflict, etc. Before you read the text in the arrows, it looks like there are more deaths "Now" than in 1971. I would have made the survivors (and the word Good) blue. But that's just me.

Jon Peltier

This graphic has a very low information content, but it is effective as a form of "info-tainment". It is successful at piquing one's interest, and for the cover of a publication in a newsstand or bookstore, that's what is appropriate.


A selection of past Indie covers with some vague infographic or infotainment theme, including thematic maps, bar graphs, small multiples, scientific images, and Giant Page-Filling Numbers

130106, 260106, 020206, 280206
080306, 250306, 300306, 100406, 150406
17_05_06, 31_05_06, 15_06_06
210706, 010806, 040906, 110906, 151106, 021206, 091206
290107, 030207, 060207, 170207, 280407

Sorry I ran out of time to sort them by theme. More at http://news.independent.co.uk/p1images/.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
Visit my website. Follow my Twitter. See my articles at Daily Beast, 538, HBR.

See my Youtube and Flickr.

Book Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

The Read

Keep in Touch

follow me on Twitter