Chinese Urban Clusters

Yesterday the Economist posted a graphic about Chinese urban clusters, of which the Chinese government is planning to create 19 as part of a development strategy. In terms of design, though, I saw it and said, “I remember doing something like that several years ago”.

The Economist piece looks at just the geography of the Chinese clusters. It highlights three in particular it discusses within the article while providing population numbers for those clusters. Spoiler: they are large.

The Economist graphic does little else beyond labelling the cities and the highlighting of the three features clusters. But that is perfectly okay, because that was probably all the graphic was required to do. I am actually impressed that they were able to label every city on the map. As you will see, we quickly abandoned that design idea.

The Chinese government's new urban cluster plan
The Chinese government’s new urban cluster plan

So back in 2015, using 2014 data, my team worked on a series of graphics for a Euromonitor International white paper on Chinese cities. The clusters that the analysts identified, however, were just that, ones identified by researchers. Since the Chinese government had not yet created this new plan.

We added some context to our cluster map
We added some context to our cluster map

We also looked at more cities and added some vital context to the cluster map by working to identify the prospects of the various Chinese provinces. Don’t ask me what went into that metric, though, since I forget. The challenge, however, was identifying the four different tiers of Chinese city and then differentiating between the three different cluster types while overlaying that on a choropleth. Then we added a series of small multiples to show how now all provinces are alike despite having similar numbers of cities.

Credit for the Economist piece goes to the Economist Data Team.

Credit for the Euromonitor piece is mine. I would gladly give a shoutout to those that worked with me on that project…but it’s been so long I forget. But I’m almost certain both Lindsey Tom and Ciana Frenze helped out, if not on that graphic, on other parts of the project.

Bitcoin Land

Sorry, I ran into some technical problems this morning so this is going up this afternoon with an added bit at the end.

I’m not really sure this piece should go onto the blog. But I like it. And this is still my blog. So what the hell.

I grew up a big fan of games like Sim City, where you could create your own universes. And in the world of infographics, you do occasionally see the isometric drawings of cities, but I find they often lack representative value. Here, in this piece from Politico Magazine, we have the Bitcoin landscape.

The different buildings represent different elements of the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem, from supporting markets, regulators, utility companies, &c. Later on in the article, the different sections are broken out and labelled and annotated. Additional elements are also brought in to explain ancillary parts of the Bitcoin landscape. All the while keeping the same style. Very well done.

Reticulating splines
Reticulating splines

This detail looks at some of the things existing outside the specific Bitcoin environment, e.g. other cryptocurrencies. And the aforementioned utility companies that provide the necessary power for the computations.

It even has a tram system…
It even has a tram system…

I kind of wish the universe was larger, though. If only for the purely selfish purpose of getting lost in the illustrations.

Since I’ve had today to think more about this, it reminded me of one of my favourite projects I got to work on from a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately for me, my illustration skills are not quite top-notch. But I did get to direct a similar project, working with a talented designer—now expert craftsman—who can in fact draw. And since it’s not often I get to show this work, why not. We used consumer survey data describing the average middle class household to, well, visualise said middle class household. It took a lot longer than I think anyone thought, so we never attempted the style again. But the designer did some great work on this.

One of my favourite projects that I oversaw as Captain Art Director (not my real title).
One of my favourite projects that I oversaw as Captain Art Director (not my real title).

Credit for the Politico piece goes to Patterson Clark and Todd Lindeman.

Credit for the Euromonitor piece goes to Benjamin Byron and myself.

Surviving Holiday Parties

The Christmas holidays are known for many things. One of them is the office holiday party. Today’s post looks at a flow chart put together by the company for which I work, Euromonitor International. As it was put together by the design team, you might very well think that I had something to do with it. But I couldn’t possibly comment.

The beginning of the flow chart
The beginning of the flow chart

Credit for the piece goes to the Euromonitor design team.

Does a High Average BMI Impact a Country’s Chance at the Olympics?

It turns out not so much. A comparison of the 2008 data for average BMI (coarsely how fat a person is) for countries across their economic productivity (GDP per capita) and total medals won shows that a country’s health culture does not greatly impact said country’s Olympic chances.

Does BMI Impact Olympic Performance?
Does BMI Impact Olympic Performance?

This is another from my work series on infographics for the Olympics.

2012 Olympics: What Makes a Winner (and Will the UK Be One)?

The Olympics are coming, the Olympics are coming. (As if you didn’t know.) In a rare moment of seeing my work outside of my company’s paywall, I can post a few infographics I have created for the 2012 Summer Games in London. The series looks at a few different non-Olympic variables like GDP per capita and mean BMI and sees whether they impact total medal counts in the Olympics.

This first datagraphic (to use my company’s internal language) looks at what makes a winner and will the UK be one this summer. The main chart in the piece compares GDP per capita performance to total medal count in each Olympic year from 1988 to 2008. And yes, we are predicting the UK to win a total of 65 medals this summer.

What Makes an Olympics Winner
What Makes an Olympics Winner

In the interest of full disclosure, I work as the senior graphic designer for Euromonitor International. This series was not intended to be used as part of marketing/promotional piece (I probably need to include the link to download that document here), but instead I designed them all as client-only content. But since others decided to use my work as marketing material, I am fortunately allowed to share it with all of you via my blog. So yeah, that’s pretty cool. Enjoy.