18 Oct 2011

Back by popular demand...

(Click for clearer view)

Further to an earlier post: the Cardiff Design Festival infographics exhibition (featuring that blue North American graphic thingy of mine, above) has now ended. However, it was such a success that festival directors requested it be moved from the Sho Gallery to their headquarters at the Cardiff Story Museum in the city centre to give it more legs. The exhibition will restart there on Thursday and run until November 9.

Who knew infographics could be so popular?!

4 Oct 2011

One in nine million...

I was web surfing away the other night when I stumbled upon a banner advert for istockpohoto.com. Imagine my surprise when I saw one of my own clip art items that sells on their website appear in the ad!
(Click for clearer view)

This is either phenomenally lucky (since they claim to have 9,000,000 images up there), in which case I'm off to buy a lottery ticket and scratch card right now, or somehow they're using my browser's cookies to display images it knows I designed. Whichever is true, it's a little freaky and weird.

BTW, my istock portfolio can be found here, if anyone wishes to increase my pocket money!

28 Sep 2011

The most unnecessary of infographics...

I've seen my fair share of bad taste infographics in my time – usually perpetrated by newspapers – so I have to take my hat off today to Gulf News in Dubai for really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this humdinger.

There's so much wrong with this that it beggars belief. And the artists even put their names to it at the bottom! Thanks to Yanthe Harper for spotting it.

Infographic clichés...

People who know me would attest that I'm not a fan of the 'wall-o-pies' style infographics that are plaguing the web at the moment (in fact I wouldn't even deem them to be infographics at all). You know the sort of thing I mean – huge, tall vertical graphics that scroll downwards forever, full of stick people drawings and endless meaningless drivel statistics that just confuse, bore and turn off the reader. So it was a joy today to come across an infographic that ridicules the trend.

Congratulations to Alberto Antoniazzi for his sense of humour and to Bridget O'Donnell for tweeting the fastcodesign.com article.
October 4 update:
Just spotted this rant by Gizmodo about about crappy infographics. The tide is turning... hopefully. Click here to read it.

26 Sep 2011

Global treasure hunt...

There's what sounds like a great new treasure hunt book out this month, reminiscent of 1979's Masquerade which kick-started the whole 'armchair treasure hunt' fad (see also this Daily Mail article).

Oddly, I never really got into this one, but I do remember the family being driven absolutely bonkers for a year by 1983's Conundrum – The Cadbury Creme Egg Mystery. We had to eat heaps of the sickly sweets and send off the wrappers in order to receive a book which contained a dozen word and illustration puzzles – each one leading to its own £10,000 golden egg buried somewhere in the UK.

The latest addition to the genre, The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth, is available as two print editions or an iPad ebook – although the latter is absolutely awful and I advise you not to go near it. As the title suggests you look at cryptic illustrations and text riddles to solve puzzles that point to Google Earth locations and ultimately an overall solution and a prize of €50,000 (£43,000; US$67,000).

Today, Britain's free Metro commuter newspaper ran a half-page feature on the new book and published the first puzzle from the book's collection of 14 brain teasers. Mine is in the mail.

(click for clearer view)

17 Sep 2011

Infographics as art...

I've been invited to exhibit an information graphic at the Cardiff Design Festival next month. The exhibition at the Sho Gallery in Wales, opens on October 4, with the theme of "current trends in information visuals".

The infographic they have selected was published at the end of July last year for The Globe And Mail newspaper in Canada, and highlights the number of Canadians who live abroad. The brief was to design a page-holding image for the front of their ROB business section to accompany the main article on ex-pat entrepreneur Yong Hui Li.

9 Sep 2011

An unfortunately timely reminder...

It's sad when a portfolio graphic is on a topic as ghastly as 9/11, but sometimes they are and sometimes they become timely again and should be dusted off and aired once more.

Published August 21, 2002

I did this one for Reuters almost a year after the attack, when investigators had had a chance to decipher what had failed so terribly with the construction of the World Trade Center twin towers. I remember it being a very time-consuming graphic as I wanted to get every detail (as was known then) correct to the best of my ability.
Eleven months earlier, on September 11, 2001, I had been doing a rare light feature graphic for Reuters – most of their topics were of a more serious nature, but occasionally we were permitted to do something less hard-newsy. Mine that day had been a graphic intended to show the benefits of a new video game console that was about to launch. It was about 2pm in London and I was just starting to type-in the introductory text for the piece...

Never finished

... when our wire feed went nuts and TV screens all over the newsroom started jumping live to New York City. My graphic was immediately shelved, as was everybody else's in the studio, and we went into hyper-drive producing at first small locator maps, then more detailed maps, and finally a bigger graphic.

Published September 11, 2001

It has to be said that this is not a thing of beauty or a particularly good graphic for that matter (yes, one of the planes is hitting the wrong side of a tower), but it's what we were able to hammer out in the scant few hours after the towers collapsed. During that day, complete and utter confusion held the news media in check as the story dramatically changed for the worse every hour or so.

The next several months were spent revisiting this story over and over and over again, and it was a long, long time before light feature graphics reappeared on Reuters News Graphics Service.


Published September 16, 2001
(click on it for a higher-resolution image)

A few days after I posted this blog entry, I received a couple of messages from former-colleagues asking why I hadn't posted up the satellite image graphic I did a few days after the attack. As I was just about to go on holiday, I was unable to find it in time but now that I'm back, I've dug it out.

I got the idea after seeing a Space Imaging satellite photo of Ground Zero and it just seemed logical to overlay the flight paths and label the former locations of destroyed buildings. It proved very popular, with the Daily Mail in the UK running it almost full-page, for example.

8 Sep 2011

When a newspaper lays-off half its graphic artists and designers...

... you get page one presentations like this!

Take a look at today's The Sydney Morning Herald front page. Looks okay, I suppose. A bit dense and text-heavy perhaps. Not a lot of visual pizazz. But they do have an interesting (if pretty grim) main picture. But wait, what's with those arrows?

It looks like someone's child has 'air-brushed' (badly) an arrow in Photoshop and plonked it onto the photo a few times using their pagination software (Cyber, I think it's called). Clicking the above rag-out enlarges it to reveal how Press Display picks up the text and image boxes overlaying the image too.

It's not very slick, is it? Actually, it's laughably hideous, utterly unprofessional and rather humiliating. Unless of course I'm missing a 'graffiti redesign' announcement.

Fairfax Media, The Sydney Morning Herald's owner, recently laid-off half of the title's graphic artists and designers, with the money saved from these job cuts to be spent on new reporters.

Hmmm, right, who needs good visuals? Not Fairfax newspapers any more it would seem.

6 Sep 2011

Graphic News workshop...

The week I begin working for Graphic News will see them celebrate their 20th anniversary – on Friday, October 14, 2011. To celebrate this achievement, they are holding a workshop entitled Graphic News in Motion in London. Whether you're a subscriber to their service or not, you can attend this unique opportunity to network with your peers by visiting this website for further details (there may be a fee for non-subscribers).

The day will comprise of a workshop featuring key speakers from our industry, a networking session and evening reception.

28 Aug 2011

A close shave...

Hurricane Irene goes screaming past my former home of Toronto.

Image taken 1845 hrs EDT Saturday, August 27, 2011

26 Aug 2011


Well, it's finally my last day with The Globe And Mail today. No, honestly, this time it really is my final day. I left them in October 2010 so that I could return to the UK, but was kindly invited to stay on under contract and work remotely from Britain. I've been doing that for nine months, based out of a little studio space in our house in West Yorkshire.

Today, I'm finishing up my 801st and last ever graphic for them – a double-page spread on a new NASA Mars rover. It's been a great gig and I'm proud to have worked for Canada's leading national broadsheet newspaper for the past three years and three months. I shall miss my little "shoe box" home office packed full of graphic goodness (read: junk) but look forward very much to pastures new.

In October, I'll begin working for leading independent news graphics agency Graphic News in London and can't wait to join their brilliant team of artists and writers.

3 Aug 2011

Adobe's HTML5 animation tool...

Adobe has just launched a free pre-beta version of its new HTML5 animation tool called Adobe Edge. It features a familiar timeline-based structure so anyone used to Flash will pick it up in no time at all. And of course being HTML5, your efforts can now be viewed on an iPad or iPhone.

I built a couple of quick rudimentary animation tests with it last night and it certainly works, although it is prone to crashing:

Test 2

You can download the preview Edge application right here.

29 Jul 2011

Nature by numbers...

Check out Spanish 3D artist Cristóbal Vila's beautiful animation reflecting on the Fibonacci Series and other mathematical rules and their influence on nature's design.

Watch the video by clicking here.
(You can also visit his website here and read his blog here).

25 Jul 2011

Royal Mail Olympic stamps...

On July 27, The Royal Mail will issue the final set of London Olympic and Paralympic postage stamps. They've been releasing them in batches of ten since 2009. Each one is done by a different illustrator or designer with several of them having a distinctive infographic feel about them.
Here's the full 30 (click the images for a more detailed view):


14 Jul 2011

Out with the old, in with the new...

I've been working for The Globe And Mail newspaper as both a staff member in Canada and under contract from the UK for over three years now. Come September 9, I'll be leaving their employ for good and from Monday, October 3, I will be available for commissions, contract work, full-time jobs... anything! Check out my design-tweaked website to see what I do.

4 Jul 2011

Timber tales...

The new July/August issue of Australian Geographic has just hit newsstandsSeveral months ago I completed a set of vector illustrations and icons for the magazine.
Collaborating with Creative Director Andrew Burns, I helped the Sydney-based publisher, ACP Magazines, complete a tricky graphic spread to show the methods used in growing, harvesting and processing different wood types.

15 Jun 2011

Technical illustration ebook...

I've just bought a very useful ebook, The Complete Technical Illustrator by Jon Duff and Greg Maxson and loaded it into my iPad via iTunes, using Stanza as a reader. It's now a perfect companion to any tricky technical drawings that may have me head-scratching.
You can buy and download it by clicking here. It comes in at £15.60 in the UK or $24.00 in the U.S., which is about a quarter or less than the 'real' print edition retail price. Thanks to Technical Illustrators.org for spotting it.

25 May 2011

Wow, the iCade is actually real...

Last year Think Geek mocked-up an arcade cabinet for iPad as an April Fool's gag. However, they were inundated with so much fan mail demanding that it be built that tech company Ion and games company Atari have teamed up and gone and done exactly that!
If you're a fan of retro gaming, as I am, then this is pretty exciting (oh okay, and terribly geeky) news. You can buy it mail order from Amazon in the UK and U.S., from Firebox, or directly from Ion.

Check out the manufacturer's video (above) and read this review that declares, "the iCade (along with Atari's Greatest Hits) is an absolute must-have iPad accessory for the serious retro gamer."

15 May 2011

Best graphic artist gig in the world...

Is this the best graphic artist job vacancy in the world?

You decide. Click here to see the posting.

Or if you're visiting from the future and the ad has been pulled and you missed it, below is a screen-grab of the position you never saw in time (and ruined your life by not getting!). Clicking it makes it readable:

9 May 2011

Mr. Google Doodle...

I've really enjoyed the Google doodles of late (the animated Jules Verne, Yuri Gagarin and Earth Day ones spring to mind as favourites) but today they've tried a new idea – multiple logos. After every Google search you get a randomly loaded Mr. Men or Little Miss-themed doodle (to commemorate the birthday of the late author, Roger Hargreaves). There are 16 different ones "to collect" with number 15 being particularly hard to find for some reason. I think Mr. Rush (third from bottom) is my favourite. Here's the full 16:

3 May 2011

Got 'im...

It was a hectic 24-hours or so for newspaper graphic desks around the world as they frantically tried to illustrate just how U.S. Special Forces killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan early Monday morning (local time).

I thought it would be interesting to pull together a bunch of infographics from newspapers around the world and see how they each treated the subject. It's been an enlightening exercise. Some titles ran the barest of locator maps or relied entirely on wire graphics, others reissued or redrew the official U.S. Defense Department SketchUp model (like I did), others just plainly made it all up, and one European newspaper appeared to be taking the mickey with a highly unusual page one Photoshop do-up.

Have a look for yourselves and see what you think - starting in North America and working eastwards around the globe (clicking on a graphic will open a higher resolution image):

The Washington Post, U.S.A.

Los Angeles Times, U.S.A.

Chicago Tribune, U.S.A.

Houston Chronicle, U.S.A.

New York Post, U.S.A.

The Wall Street Journal, U.S.A.

USA Today, U.S.A.

The Denver Post, U.S.A.

The Globe And Mail, Canada

National Post, Canada

The Guardian, U.K.

The Independent, U.K.

The Daily Telegraph, U.K.

The Scotsman, U.K.

The Glasgow Herald, U.K.

Daily Mail, U.K.

Daily Express, U.K.

Daily Star, U.K.

Yorkshire Post, U.K.

Le Figaro, France

La Stampa, Italy

El Mundo, Spain

La Vanguardia, Spain

Dagblad De Pers, Netherlands

Gulf News, U.A.E.

Hindustan Times, India

DNA, India

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

The Age, Australia

The New Zealand Herald, New Zealand