Author Archives: Brendan

About Brendan

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. During the day I work as the graphic designer for Euromonitor International. 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.

The Curse(s) of the CEOs

It’s Friday, so we should try to take things a bit lighter. For me that usually means knocking back a drink or two and a swear-y exultation about it being the end of the work week. But, it turns out, I’m just trying to emulate our captains of industry. Bloomberg has gone through company conference calls and tabulated the number of swear words used and charted the results. And for fun, you can read some of the excerpts.

They'll swear by it

They’ll swear by it

Credit for the piece goes to David Ingold, Keith Collins, and Jeff Green.

Casualties in Palestine and Israel

Yesterday I mentioned the cost of the conflict in and around Gaza and we looked at a map of damage. Today, we look at a daily-updated graphic from the Washington Post that counts the human cost—the number of dead.

The dead in Palestine and Israel

The dead in Palestine and Israel

Credit for the piece goes to Lazaro Gamio and Richard Johnson.

Devastation in Gaza

I have done quite a fair bit of coverage on Ukraine. It is a terrible story, but I have also been personally interested in Eastern Europe for awhile. But Ukraine is not the only story in the world, we have seen Gaza erupt in flames. But with the recent, temporary ceasefire, we have been able to calculate the physical and human cost of the Israeli airstrikes and incursions. The New York Times in this graphic looks at the destruction wrought by Israel in one neighbourhood of Gaza City.

Destruction in Gaza

Destruction in Gaza

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times’ graphics department.

Artillery Strikes in Donetsk

Today’s piece will not likely be the most readable for myself or most of you, my audience. But it is an interesting look at how technology can change the understanding of a modern battlefield for non-combatants. This is a map of Donetsk, Ukraine—the focus of Kiev’s efforts to defeat separatists in eastern Ukraine. The map plots artillery strikes from various days with links to images of the attacks.

Artillery strikes in and around Donetsk

Artillery strikes in and around Donetsk

Credit for the piece goes to the site’s designers.

Big Mac Index

For years, the Big Mac Index from the Economist has been a standard of sorts for examining differences in currencies across the world. Well now we have an online, interactive version of the index.

The Big Mac Index

The Big Mac Index

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.

What if Britain Had Won?

A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers, sent me a link to a Newcastle Ale campaign video asking what would America be like if Britain had won the Revolutionary War. Anybody who knows me really well knows I am an Anglophile. I say mobile instead of cell phone, from time to time I switch from apartment to flat or truck to lorry or elevator to lift. So naturally I checked out the campaign site and what did I find? A map of place names if the Americans had not won the war. You can search for your residence or hometown and see what the Brits would have named it.

Though this ignores the fact that most of where I am from was actually named by the Brits. West Chester was originally called Turk’s Head, but after the a bunch of boundary changes that separated the British named Chester from my area, Turk’s Head was renamed West Chester because it is west of Chester, located on the Delaware River. Anyway, place names are cool. Happy Friday, everybody.

I would have grown up in West Chesterwich

I would have grown up in West Chesterwich

Credit for the piece goes to the design team behind the ad campaign.

What Else Has Been Shot Down in Ukraine

The Boeing 777 jetliner was not the first nor even at this point the latest aircraft shot down over eastern Ukraine. Just yesterday, two Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft were shot down—the Ukrainian government claims from medium-altitude surface-to-air missiles fired from within Russia. While I was working on drawing something up to catalogue just what has been shot down, I stumbled upon this piece from the Washington Post that does just that.

Planes shot down by the separatists

Credit for the piece goes to Gene Thorp.

Restricted Airspace

One of the questions in the wake of last week’s shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is why was the aircraft even flying over eastern Ukraine? Generally speaking, because it was not banned from doing so. In today’s graphic, the Washington Post takes a look at those areas that the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restricts flights or warns against travel due to hostile threats, e.g. war. Also note that the Post has included Ben Gurion Airport, which is still under the 24-hour period ban because of a Hamas rocket landing a mile away from the airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.

FAA restriction areas

FAA restriction areas

Credit for the piece goes to Katie Park, Kevin Schaul, and Gene Thorp.

Am I Your Type, Politically Speaking of Course?

Maybe? But thanks to Pew Research, you can see if we align politically. Today’s post comes via Pete, a coworker of mine, and it is basically a survey that works by asking you 23 political questions on topics from big/small government, immigration, climate change, gay rights, defence spending, &c. They crunch some numbers and spit you out on a results page, the image below a crop from the results for your humble author. (For better or worse revealing my political leanings.)

My type

My type

From a survey standpoint, I found it interesting the questions presented only binary responses. In general, I found that I never agreed with either statement entirely and was forced to choose the “closest” response. Since I never see myself on the conservative side of the spectrum, I was surprised to see my “type”, Young Outsiders, coloured with a tint of red. Regardless, I’m still thankful that according to Pew, I am still more in the centre than on the ends as it makes it a lot easier to compromise. I’ve heard that that is an adult thing to do.

By the way, if you want the results of the full survey upon which this quiz was based, you can check out that site here. It’s full of bar charts for those who like the data visualisation.

Credit for the piece goes to the Pew Research Center.

The Air Defence Systems of Eastern Ukraine

Last week, separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with what appears to have been an SA-11 Gadfly missile. Separatists had previously claimed to have had this system in operation and days earlier shot down a high-altitude Ukrainian military aircraft—though not necessarily with the SA-11. How much more powerful is the SA-11 than the other two known surface-to-air missile systems the separatists have used to shoot down Ukrainian military helicopter and aircraft? Well, I decided to create a small graphic to show you that the SA-11 is a significant advancement over the shorter range systems in use up to now.

Eastern Ukrainian SAM systems

Eastern Ukrainian SAM systems