Thursday, 1 March 2012

Beauty, in the eye of the beholder

Information is Beautiful have tonight announced the winners for their latest design challenge. Once again I was lucky enough to have my entry featured in the shortlist, however hopes of a second win were later dashed. The winning design would not have been my personal pick, and the early reaction on twitter that I have observed suggests others share a similar view. So I thought it would be interesting to look a little deeper at some of the other entries and discuss my favourites.

See the winners >here
Shortlist >here

Hollywood Budgets by Barinov Tëma replicates the visual style of McCandless’s Billion Pound-O-Gram, even down to the rounded off corners which I suspect are applied after the data has been encoded, unless they have devised a rather clever formula to do this. I found the information within genuinely interesting though as I often have little knowledge of what studio is responsible for which movies and I appreciate the split down view to allow comparisons to be made between years. These treemaps though make the data even more difficult for the brain to decode than pie charts since the segments are not only scattered around the page in a state of disarray, they are often of completely different shape, and if the figures were not given we would be forced to make wild estimations based on area alone, often a recipe for disaster. Despite all this I got a reasonable amount of enjoyment exploring this visual and feel the information obtained has made a lasting impression.

Spotlight of Profitability by Krisztina Scuzzies compares Rotten Tomatoes scores against budget and worldwide gross. This was a something I experimented with showing in my own design and I found some interesting patterns. The crucial question the reader will probably want answers to is, “Does a critics score influence box office performance?” This visualisation certainly doesn’t make answers to such questions easy and its a pity that more movies could not be compared directly without appearing cluttered, however I found myself getting more enjoyment and information out of it as I put more effort in. The sharp clean visual style and colours used appeal to me greatly and on an aesthetic level alone this is easily my favorite.

Congratulations to all that got shortlisted. As ever I look forward to seeing what designs emerge from the next challenge.

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