One of my favourite talks from last week’s Festival of Marketing was by David McCandless from Information is Beautiful.

McCandless is an independent data journalist and information designer. His passion is visualising information. Wait come back!

Communicating data in its raw form can be incredibly difficult to do and the results are often not worth the effort. Graphs and charts are boring and don’t necessarily convey their intended insight.

McCandless and his team have a mission to distil the world’s data, information and knowledge into beautiful, interesting and above all, useful visualisations, infographics and diagrams.

Here I’m going to share a few of the best visualisations from McCandless’s talk, which you can also find at Information is Beautiful.

To answer your question, yes this is just an excuse to show-off some beautiful examples of data-geekery.

Click the images for larger or interactive versions if applicable.

Mountains out of molehills

A timeline of global scare stories. Guess what the big pink one from 2009 indicates?

Peak break-up times

This is based on data from Facebook status updates. Notice the dip on Christmas day. Nobody is that cruel.

Wikipedia’s lamest edit wars

17,608 edits on whether it’s The Beatles or just the Beatles. This sample is just from 2001, click below for more years of pedantry.

Hierarchy of digital distractions

Forgetting which app you wanted to open is the new walking into a room and forgetting what you came in for.

World’s biggest data breaches

This incredibly detailed interactive bubble chart (not sure that’s the right phrase) is definitely not for the paranoid, although the cute way the circles undulate is a nice distraction. A fitting metaphor for the internet as a whole.


Who can catch which flu? As well as swine flu and bird flu humans can also catch seal flu. We’re relatively safe from bat flu though.

A quick side-note from our resident Venn diagram naysayer…

Speaking of Twitter…

The truth about Twitter

Apparently four out of 100 tweets essentially just say ‘grrr!’

Who’s suing whom in the Telecoms industry?

Just in case you want to get in on the action yourself. Although you may need a spare billion dollars or two.

How much do music artists earn online?

Was Taylor Swift right to take her music off Spotify? Here’s a helpful visualisation that breaks down artist and label revenue from every platform or distribution channel. Click on the image for a much longer version.


Scraping 22,000 horoscopes generated this visualisation of the most common words used…

Out of this, the Information is Beautiful team put together this ultimate horoscope which will be the only one you’ll ever need from now on.