Small Multiples – Danielle Clement

Small multiples, “reveal all at once, a scope of alternatives, a range of options” (68). They are multivariate and data bountiful, they visually enforce comparisons of change, and direct towards the important information at hand. (67) This example is a great example of “data bountiful” visualization using small multiples, a term exercised in Edward Tufte’s Envisioning Information. This Infographic communicates facts and statistics about U.S. Military personnel, including active duty and reserves.

This piece does an excellent job of incorporating text, visual, and quantitative elements. A cool teal-blue color with a light gray accent is the palette used through the entire Infographic; this consistency allows the eyes to flow to the critical parts of information. The color scheme shows a wide range of data and utilizes alternating colors to highlight the targeted information for each section, specifically showing the range of minimum to maximum values. The use of this color scheme allows for a simple and concise layout to present the information given. The repetition of both color and graph elements throughout the Infographic, brings forward the differentiation between information and also separates and layers the data. Everything is labeled and sequenced in a straightforward manner, allowing readers to make comparisons at a glance. The Infographic is separated into horizontal rows through the use of thin gray lines implementing a stylized order, and also uses white space to highlight each element within. These divisions are not disruptive, but not quite silent either.

This piece utilizes ratios and 8 different graphs to present information such as a bar graph, circle graph, line graph, etc. Through the use of unique visual graphs, this piece catches the eye as well as directing it to the desired information. I especially like the graph at the bottom which depicts the ’Military casualties by conflict’, I think the use of the overlapping circles is straightforward and shows the contrast between the two numbers being represented well. The dates, percentages, and other descriptive, pertinent information have a light gray typeface and are carefully placed under the data to not distract from the data, but serve as a subsidiary aspect.

At the top of this piece there is a good example of using text as image. In the ‘Who Serves’ category the number ‘2,266,883’ is placed in a large typeface and utilizes quite a bit of space, enough to catch the eye and serve as a plane element within the Infographic.  This is also a good example of using a qualitative element within to catch the eye and influence the reader with factual evidence. Another great example of using a qualitative element is the use of ratios within this piece. The entire presentation of data within this Infographic is very visual and highlights the weight of each graphical object’s importance.

by-the-numbers-todays-military_50290b85eba32_w1500

Hurt, Alyson, Erica Ryan, and JoElla Straley. By The Numbers: Today’s Military. Digital image. Www.NPR.org. NPR, 3 July 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2014. <http://www.npr.org/2011/07/03/137536111/by-the-numbers-todays-military&gt;.

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