In an information-obsessed society, a new crop of artists is representing visual data in engaging, imaginative ways. In June, we were pleased to announce this year's Information is Beautiful Awards. It's a competition, open to the public, that was founded last year by data visualizer David McCandless and data investment agency Kantar's creative director Aziz Cami. With the aim to recognize the most excellent and beautiful in data visualization, infographics and data journalism, Information is Beautiful's judges (chaired by McCandless and Cami, and including the President of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda; editor of Creative Review, Patrick Burgoyne; Eric Rodenbeck and George Oates of famed, San Francisco data-viz studio Stamen; and London-based designer and data artist Stefanie Posavec) selected from hundreds of global submissions. The online community also had a voice, as thousands of votes were cast to represent one additional judging place. Today, 20 November 2013, the winners were announced and the work is truly mesmerizing.
This year's winners graphically explored everything from Oscar winners and billionaires to the link between Nobel Prize recipients and their qualifications. From visual surveys to motion and engagement tools, each used style, color and an elegance of design to maximize their chosen topics. The winning designers of each category received a share of the $25,000 in prize money and are featured on McCandless' website, and below are just a few of the highlights.
In the data visualization category, this year's winner of the gold—"Nobels, no degrees"—was created by design studio Accurat. Their work visually tackles the correlation between Nobel Prize winners, their ages and academic background, across the years of 1901 to 1912. All of the information is dotted (in an almost EKG-fashion) over an X and Y axis. This year's silver recipient, Christian Tate, visualized "How to win an Oscar"—analyzing the characters played by every winner of an "actor/actress in a leading role" Oscar since 1928, with a view to uncover what translates to victory; from facial hair to historic versus fictional portrayals. One of this year's two special mentions is "Field of Commemoration" by Valentina D'Efilippo, which reflects 95 million casualties of war from the 20th century and is equal parts powerful and informative. The second special mention, "Taxonomy of Comic Book Characters" by Tim Leong, delves into comic book characters with animals or animal references in their name. It's playful and really evokes the nature of the medium.
"Global Warning" by Derek Kim took this year's top spot in infographics. The work actually summarizes the economic crisis of 2007-2008 and the shards of effects on where we stand currently. The vibrantly detailed infographic special mention, "Terra Mater | Modern Star Dust" by ixtract GmbH, built a storyline to quantify all the human-produced objects circling our planet. They pulled satellite tracking information to compare all 1013 active and 4919 passive satellite and rocket stages floating in the skies.
Special recognition was also granted to notable works outside of their categories, including differentiating between the best individual contributions, a studio award and student awards. While Tim Leong's "Taxonomy of Comic Book Characters" received an individual recognition, so did Valerio Pellegrini's "Atlas of Kants Legacy," a steamgraph of the Kantian lexicon and its usage. The awards' most coveted prize, honoring the Most Beautiful, went to New York's Bloomberg Visual Data for its interactive online piece, "Billionaires Index."
Images courtesy of Information is Beautiful Awards