To collect the data for my poster I followed the link provided in the brief to The World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook), where I found a list of the countries of the world ordered by life expectancy. In order to avoid my poster being cluttered with too much information, I have decided to only represent data for countries in Europe.
I then copied and pasted the data for my selected countries into a word document in order to visualise it more clearly, without the irrelevant countries in between. This gave me an idea of the variations in the data, and showed me that my design would have to take into consideration the fact that the data does not have a very large spread. This means that a full timeline from 0 to 100 will not be effective, as the data for each country is the same for a large majority of that time. In order to visualise this data clearly, I will have to focus heavily on the fifteen year period between 70 and 85, as this is the time when the data is most interesting.
I have decided to do the brief “Who lives the longest” for my poster, and so I have spent some time researching ideas to take inspiration from. As my poster will need to display countries and the life expectancy of them, I will need to visualise both space and time. The majority of examples I could find online focused on depicting space, as shown below:
This type of poster, with a scale by colour could be used in regards to life expectancy, with the countries with the lowest life expectancy in red working up to highest in green. However, this is a very simplistic way of representing this data.
These two graphics also use quite a simple map, this time with a figure that increases or decreases in size depending on the data it’s representing. This is an idea I could possibly use, with male and female figures changing size depending on life expectancy in their country.
This map is slightly more abstract than the other examples, as instead of showing the actual shape of the countries, there are circles of various sizes. I think this is an interesting idea, and I could adapt it by having each circle’s size depend on the life expectancy in that country. However, this could distort the map to the extent that the countries are not recognisable, and could be very confusing.
I then spent some time looking for graphics depicting progression of time.
This one shows the development of different music media, and depicts its popularity over a series of years.
This one is displaying the extinction of several different animals, projecting the ideas into the future. I think something like this could work with my theme, as it is essentially a timeline which is well suited to life expectancy.
As this project requires me to create a poster communicating a message with minimal text, I decided to take a look at some examples of this kind of work.
One website we were introduced to in our seminar was informationisbeautiful.net, a collection of infographics on a range of topics. These posters gave me some ideas about how to lay out my own poster, demonstrating the wide variety of ways to present information.
One I particularly liked is shown below:
This poster is demonstrating leading causes of death in the 20th Century, and does so using minimal writing. It uses the size of the circles to immediately show the viewer which causes are most common, and it doesn’t require a key as it is simple enough to figure out independently.
This infographic is an interactive one I found on the Guardian website, demonstrating the causes and effects of climate change:
By selecting a category at the top, the map contorts to display the most relevant continents as much bigger. Although my poster cannot be interactive like this, I think that the idea of different continents or countries being different sizes is interesting, and could be something I could integrate into my project.