Bar graphs and pie charts are all very well, but in a world that is ever increasingly saturated with new ways to receive and share information, with endless streams of data and insights forever at our fingertips, this new book packed with beautifully and cleverly laid out infographics, provides a refreshing exploration of the history of the world.
A feast of facts, data, trends and timelines spanning 13.8 billion years, are explored in a collaboration by graphic designer and infographic artist Valentina D’Efilippo and Guardian data-journalist James Ball.
With a strong belief in visual explanations of events and facts being far more engaging than their written counterparts, editor Craig Adams approached Ball with his plans to produce a book that documented a history of life on Earth through the medium of infographics.
D’Efilippo was then chosen to design the infographics after responding to a data visualisation brief. The cover design, over 100 graphics and 112 spreads were to be produced over just 28 weeks – quite a feat for first time book designer D’Efilippo.
The book covers world history divided into four periods of time – prehistory, pre-civilisation, up to the 20th century, and the modern era. Information was gathered, interpreted and produced across more than 200 pages, which translates as concise yet complex content that is comprehensive and varied in coverage.
Each infographic acts as stand-alone visual essay, with subjects as diverse as asteroids that threaten Earth, the wage gap between the sexes, military conflicts, food consumption, drug-taking and best-selling books.
Even the design and style of the book have been considered chronologically – as human history progresses the pages become bolder, glossier and more minimal, with colours, fonts, and paper stock developing to mirror the content of the title.
As visual data is becoming more highly valued as a source of information, in the press and beyond, it not only allows for more successful interpretation and potentially wider accessibly, but presenting the information in this way can lead to surprising discoveries and reveal new ways of understanding the world and where we might be heading, beyond the statistics.
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