About 5wgraphicsblog

Founder and Creative Director of The 5W Velasco Design Group

Updated samples in our website

In the last few days we have been busy updating the gallery section of our website with lots of additional samples. It had not been updated in a long time. The new images are a mix of recent and older graphics, including some of the graphics done during my years at National Geographic magazine (For those Nat Geo graphics, sometimes including collaboration with other researchers and artists).

Feel free to navigate to see a range of different types of graphics including charts, diagrams and maps. You can also look by subject or technique, and see examples of branding and graphics style guides from our consulting side. Here are some of the newly uploaded samples, in no particular order (here and on the website, click on any image for a larger version):

We are working on more extensive changes to our website, with a fully responsive and redesigned site coming up before the end of the year. It will include examples of interactive graphics and animations, and this blog will be part of the main site. In the meantime, if you are interested in additional samples or want to get in touch, drop us an email to contact@5wgraphics.com.

How America Uses Its Land

We just came across a really engaging graphics feature by Bloomberg.com. How America Uses Its Land, by Dave Merrill and Lauren Leatherby. It’s well sourced and nicely designed. As the intro states, “The 48 contiguous states alone are a 1.9 billion-acre jigsaw puzzle of cities, farms, forests and pastures that Americans use to feed themselves, power their economy and extract value for business and pleasure.” There are quite a few surprises for the reader, such as the massive amount of land used as cow pasture/range (see map above). 41 percent of U.S. land in the contiguous states is used as pasture or cropland used to produce feed.

Here is the overall distribution of land uses:

Forest and timberland take another large chuck of the space. Did you know a company called Weyerhauser Co. owns or controls an area of timberland equivalent to the size of West Virginia?

 

 

Data graphics for the Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the largest source for development financing for LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) countries. Founded in 1959 and based in Washington DC, IDB produces regular reports on trade, economic integration, poverty and social inequalities reduction, environmental sustainability and other issues.

We recently started collaborating with IDB with some data graphics on trade integration. The LAC countries have extensive trade gaps and missing links (countries or areas without preferential trade agreements). The chart above highlights bilateral trade links between countries missing the advantage of preferential trade agreements. It’s a redesign of the graphic below, an “spaghetti map” which we found hard to follow. We used a more rational geometric design (the real geography doesn’t help here), and different weights/colors depending on the amount of trade to establish hierarchy and visual clarity.

There are multiple, small size trade agreements in the area but the goal is a region-wide Free Trade Agreement (LAC-FTA) that is able to compete in the global scene. The graphic below shows the size of the proposed agreement compared to other large trade agreements in the world, and to the economies or other countries and the world as a whole.

And the graphic below also refers to the lacks of agreements between different regions and countries in the area, this time as a grid. The empty spaces are the focus of interest here.

To know more about the issue, you can download the recent IDB publication here in English, Spanish or Portuguese (this version doesn’t include our graphics):

Connecting the Dots: A Road Map for a Better Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (© 2018 Inter-American Development Bank, Integration and Trade Sector)

 

New Infographics and Dataviz workshops: Dallas, NYC, San Diego and Washington DC

Our 5W Academy (a learning division of 5W Infographics focused on educational programs, workshops and conferences) is announcing four new editions of the popular two-day Infographics and Data Visualization workshop. We’ll be heading to Dallas (September 13-14, New York City (October 2-3), San Diego (October 18-19), and Washington DC (October 25-26). Learn more about the instructors and schedule of the new workshops in our page. We are offering a good discount for early bird registrations. You can register directly in our Eventbrite pages:

We received great feedback from our most recent US workshops, in DC and San Francisco last April and May. In each case, a combination of local and out-of-state participants from government agencies, design and advertising studios, NGOs and other organizations got together for two days. The workshops are a comprehensive introduction to the creation of infographics and data visualization. No previous experience is needed. You can find some frequently asked questions about our workshops in this post.

 

DC and San Francisco workshops

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5W Academy is heading to San Francisco in a few days for our next Infographics and Data visualization workshop in the US. It will be on May 10-11.

We received great feedback from our Washington D.C. workshop last week. A combination of local and out-of-state participants from government agencies, design and advertising studios, NGOs and other organizations got together for two days (photos above and below).

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The two-day workshop is a comprehensive introduction to the creation of infographics and data visualization. With a mix of theory and practice, the workshop is aimed at professionals and students interested in developing the skills to produce engaging, insightful visual storytelling with their content. No previous experience with infographics or specialized software is required.

We will learn about gathering and preparing data, the Do’s and Don’ts of working with numerical information and charts, and the principles of visual hierarchy, color, typography, illustration, and narrative to create impactful infographics.

Attendees will sketch out infographics, storyboard motion graphics and create / publish their interactive data visualizations and web maps with the help of Tableau Public, Flourish and other tools for non-programmers. The class will discuss award-winning projects and offer an overview of tools and strategies for creating infographics and data visualization.

After San Francisco, our next workshop will be in Singapore, the next edition of our popular Power of Infographics workshop (May 24-25), hosted by our friends at Methodology.

Learn more about the instructors and schedule of our San Francisco workshop in our page or register directly here. See you soon in California!

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Infographics workshop in Utretch

Next September I’ll be in Utretch (Netherlands) teaching a two-day workshop on infographics and data visualization for print and online. It’s organized by Graphic Hunters, an initiative by Goof van de Winkel that provides training on graphical literacy, infographic storytelling, online data visualization and more in the Netherlands with international trainers. It will be my second time around after a great experience in Amsterdam two years ago (photo below).

Here is more information on the workshop, which will take place on September 27-28, 2018. No previous experience is required. The course is suited to anyone who’s interested in learning how to communicate effectively through data visualization and infographics. It could appeal to graphic designers, editors, communications or marketing professionals, data analysts and/or researchers. It’s a mix of theory and lots of hands-on exercises where we’ll look at some principles of visual storytelling, design, best practices with charts and maps, tools and key concepts in interactive and data visualization, and more. We’ll also have a chance to practice with great tools non-developers can use to create online data visualization and maps, such as Tableau, Flourish or Datawrapper.

The class will take place in English in Utretch’s beautiful Central Museum. If you are interested in attending, please contact Goof van de Winkel at info@graphichunters.nl or dial +0 31 06 28383150.

 

New book: Practical Tableau

Anyone interested in data visualization with Tableau should take note of a new book being published this month: Practical Tableau — 100 Tips, Tutorials, and Strategies from a Tableau Zen, by Ryan Sleeper (published by O’Reilly). The book is a comprehensive and useful overview that can be used by complete beginners as well as by people with more advanced skills. Structured as a collection of 100 short “tip” chapters, it has multiple step-by-step tutorials to build a broad variety of chart types and introductions to working with filters, parameters, calculated fields, and other advanced options in Tableau. It also outlines principles of storytelling with data, using color, dashboards, etc. Overall, it’s an eminently practical guide that I can easily recommend (another great Tableau guide is this book by Ben Jones).

During our 5W Academy workshops (next in Washington D.C. and San Francisco), we do a few hands-on exercises with Tableau. It’s a powerful and intuitive drag and drop tool to build data visualizations.

Tableau has some shortcomings: a couple of examples are the less than optimal handling of responsiveness for different screen sizes, or the lack of map projections (although Tableau now works with spatial files such as shapefiles, GeoJSON, KML, etc.). And it’s a closed system. For simple charts/maps and limited datasets many users maybe be better served by using Datawrapper, Flourish or other recent and excellent open-source dataviz tools for non-developers, but Tableau’s robust and comprehensive data analysis capabilities still make it a preferred tool in many organizations. As an example, the United Nations just announced it’s adopting Tableau as their visual analytics standard across its multiples agencies.

Practical Tableau is due to be released this month as a paperback, and the Kindle version is already available.

 

 

Our Power of Infographics workshop, back in Singapore in May

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I’ll be back in Singapore on May 24-25 teaching a new edition of the 2-day workshop “The Power of Infographics” organized by Methodology. Fortunately, the workshop has continued to be in high demand and is nearing the 10th edition since 2015.

Methodology was co-founded by two of the most talented designers in Singapore: Brian Ling of Design Sojourn and Jackson Tan of Black Design and contemporary art collective Phunk. It organizes public and corporate workshops in Singapore and the rest of South East Asia. “We believe that design can make a positive difference to the world and we seek to be custodians of this change by curating and sharing the world’s best creative ideas and design processes. We collaborate with global leaders at the forefront of design, craft and innovation to develop education programs, workshops, conferences and media.”

The workshop is attended by a mix of professionals including designers, marketers, students, and civil servants from different areas of the government. They are looking for an introduction to visual storytelling and the principles, tools and techniques to find visual insight in our content by using infographics, charts, maps and data visualization (both in print and online).

Register here or contact Methodology at admin@methodology.sg for more information.

Zones of noninfluence, new map for Foreign Policy magazine

“Well over a year into U.S. President Donald Trump’s tenure, the State Department is in disarray”, says the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine. Dozen of key positions, including 38 ambassadorships, remain unfilled. In filled positions, many are political appointees rather than career diplomats. And former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was recently fired by the President. Our map for the April issue of Foreign Policy shows the status of American ambassadorships around the world, highlighting the most conspicuous absences such as Mexico, Saudi Arabia, North Korea or the European Union. We worked with Chief Creative Officer Adam Griffiths on this project.

 

SND Infographics Summit and workshop in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is hosting a great infographics summit next week. The event is organized by the Society for News Design (SND) in collaboration with the award-winning infographics team of the South China Morning Post, undoubtely one of the best news graphics teams in the world with their great combination of illustrated infographics and data visualization.

I was planning on attending right before my next workshop in Singapore, but unfortunately my dates have moved (now I’ll be in Singapore on May 24-25)

The SND Hong Kong event is hosted by the prestigious Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). I taught a workshop in Shanghai’s location of HKU a few years back, they have excellent Journalism programs.

The event starts on April 13 with a one-day series of conferences. The list of speakers includes representatives from many of organizations creating the best news graphics in Asia, such as the South China Morning Post, Bloomberg, Reuters, AFP, The Wall Street Journal and more, and other panelist of the caliber of Javier Errea from Errea Comunicacion and Alberto Lucas from National Geographic. See the full agenda here.

The summit will be followed by a two-day workshops at HKU. Attendees will visit selected sites on Hong Kong Island to develop a visual story, guided by the South China Morning Post infographics team. The workshop is already sold out.

Let’s hope this initiative becomes a regular event in the infographics calendar!