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.

American College Football Programme Loyalty

American college football. This is not a thing that Northeasters like myself understand. And it is not just because yours truly attended the University of the Arts whose only competitive sporting team was, I believe, fencing. Here in the Midwest, many things are strange and alien. One of them is their affinity for said sports that do not make sense. Thankfully the New York Times has attempted to explain specific programme affinities much like they did with their baseball map. (Which made infinitely more sense.)

Click the big map at the article's beginning to get to the interactive version

Click the big map at the article’s beginning to get to the interactive version

Credit for the piece goes to Tom Giratikanon, Josh Katz, David Leonhardt, Kevin Quealy, and Marc Tracy.

Eli Manning’s Brother and the Record Books

Two weekends ago Eli Manning’s brother accomplished a feat in American football. And it was not in Indianapolis. The New York Times documented the story in an interactive article.

I have no idea who most of these people are…

I have no idea who most of these people are…

In fairness, I generally do not follow American football. I am largely a one sport person and that sport is baseball. But since the active baseball season is over—baseball ends when the Red Sox stop playing—I figured the rest of you might enjoy this.

Credit for the piece goes to Gregor Aisch and Kevin Quealy.

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.

Chinese Nuclear Submarine Navy

This weekend the Wall Street Journal published an article that combined my interest in data visualisation with my interest in naval ships. The article looks at the growth of the Chinese nuclear submarine programme. And alongside the article are maps, charts, illustrations, and a narrated video that support the written word.

Choke points for the Chinese navy

Choke points for the Chinese navy

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Cervantes and the Wall Street Journal’s graphics department.

Some of the Best Baseball I’ve Ever Seen

Was ten years ago this time in October. Boston was on their way to winning their World Series in 86 years. But to get there, they had to go through the New York Yankees. And they did it in dramatic fashion, winning a riveting best-of-seven series. Why riveting? Because it had never been done before. (Nor since, actually, but that’s not included in the graphic.)

The improbable comeback

The improbable comeback

An Ebola Treatment Centre

Last week we looked at the BBC and its rendition of an Ebola treatment centre. This week we are looking at the Washington Post and how they treated the same material. As you can imagine, with the same source material, the treatment is fairly similar. I do appreciate the colour applied to the various elements called out in the illustration. Though, to be super nitpick-y, I could probably do less orange with the fence. It becomes a bit distracting from some of the other details.

An Ebola treatment centre

An Ebola treatment centre

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark.

How Ebola Works/Kills

To continue with this week’s theme of Ebola, we are looking at another Washington Post article. Online the Post presents it as an interactive, guided explanation of how Ebola basically kills people. Spoiler, it is not pretty. But what I do really like about this online presentation is how the Post has a downloadable .pdf version of the piece available.

How Ebola works

How Ebola works

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark, Darla Cameron, and Sohail Al-Jamea.

Ebola vs Other Infectious Diseases

Yesterday we looked at the New York Times’s reporting of some basic facts about Ebola. Today to continue along the refutation of scaremongering path, we have an article from the Washington Post. I understand that people are afraid of Ebola, because if you catch it, you have a good chance you are going to die. The current strain for the outbreak in West Africa is about 50%. But, you are far more likely to catch less-deadly disease. Like the flu.

Comparing modelled outbreaks

Comparing modelled outbreaks

Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz and Lazaro Gamio.

The Swedish Submarine Hunt

Today you are going to get two posts. The first is this, which is a break from the week’s theme. But news stories happen. The second will be back to regular programming at the regular time. Basically, the Swedish government is reporting that a foreign submarine is operating within its waters and the available evidence points to Russia. I have seen some ridiculous claims that one of Russia’s largest submarines is in trouble there. But I highly doubt that. And here is why.

A look at Sweden's submarine hunt

A look at Sweden’s submarine hunt


I really enjoy reading articles where graphics accompany the text and not just for the want of graphics. While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is tragic, the data allows for some nice visualisation pieces. Additionally, one could say that the United States is victim to quite a bit of scaremongering as a result of a few isolated cases of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Spoiler, an Ebola outbreak is not really a threat to the United States or Western Europe. Perhaps to relieve some of said scaremongering, the New York Times has a nice article titled Ebola Facts that outlines just that, the facts about Ebola. And guess what? The article is accompany by a number of useful inline graphics.

Ebola outbreaks

Ebola outbreaks

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