Calories and Consumption

National Geographic recently published a piece designed and built for them by Fathom Information Group. Content-wise, they looked at the historic consumption of food by several different countries. What do individual food groups contribute to the overall nutritional breakdown? For the piece this basically amounted to morphing donut charts. I get the reference, but do not care for the result.

Instead more interesting is the second main view of the piece: meat consumption. Using stacked line charts, National Geographic explores changes in consumption patterns over the last 50 years. Some countries change a bit, others not so much. But as always the best examples are called out with an explanation as to why the changes. Mexico, for example, has the story about slashes in government subsidies and economic problems as to a decline in pork consumption.

Mexican pork consumption
Mexican pork consumption

Clearly I still have issues with the data visualisation. I would much rather see the selected view isolate the selection off the common baseline. But a nice touch is the small multiples from the country selection mechanism appearing to the right.

Credit for the piece goes to Fathom Information Design.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

Leave a Reply