15 Stunning Examples of Data Visualization

By / Aug 12, 2009 / Inspiration

Data Visualization is a method of presenting information in a graphical form. Good data visualization should appear as if it is a work of art. This intrigues the viewer and draws them in so that they can further investigate the data and info that the graphic represents. In this post there are 15 stunning examples of Data Visualization that are true works of art.

Click on the title or image for a larger view of each visualization.

The Strengths of Nations

Data Visualization

Here’s an image that discusses the variations in how different nations pursue science.

Madrid.Citymurmur

Data Visualization

CityMurmur tries to understand and visualize how media attention reshapes the urban space and city.

Genome

Data Visualization

Jules & Jim

Data Visualization

This visual represents the relationship between characters in the movie Jules & Jim.

One Week of the Guardian

Data Visualization

This is one day in a series that takes the news from one week of the Guardian newspaper, and visually represents it as a series of static visualisations.

One Week of the Guardian

Data Visualization

Country Continent GDP Population Radial Convergence

Data Visualization

Leisure & Poverty

Data Visualization

Stock Data

Data Visualization

This image shows historical stock price data plotted as 3D graphs.

NYTimes Threads – Russian Presidents

Data Visualization

Food & Poverty

Data Visualization

Housing & Poverty

Data Visualization

Visualizing the Guardian: Beckham and Rooney

Data Visualization

This is a timepiece visualization of the mentions of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney in Guardian stories between 1999 and 2008.

3 Month Crocheting

Data Visualization

Design Research Maps

Data Visualization

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

  • http://www.tutoriallounge.com tutorialslounge

    really creative and such a great idea for performance graphing.

  • indigo

    Awesome collection

    • http://fiddle-sticks.net Finn Fitzsimons

      Have you seen numberpicture.com? Its a site that visualizes data into static images – but the way it visualizes it (ie the shape and form of the charts can be created by users of the site) and then these can be used for free by others. It makes the data look so pretty I find! Pure awesomeness…

  • http://blog.tocki.de Tocki

    nice collection! But the first two links seem to be broken.

  • http://johnsonanalytical.com Jeff Johnson

    These are, to be sure, visually stunning examples of data visualization. But I’m not sure that they are stunning examples of _effective_ visualization. I really have no idea what knowledge these images convey. Good visualization, as I try to practice it, transforms raw data into conclusions. In many of these cases, the visualization not only turns data into confusion, it obscures the data itself. Perhaps it is just that the context is missing, but even there one must remember that readers will often skip over the copy to look at the pictures, so you can’t count on context to make sense out of an image.

  • http://www.fussandfeathesr.com Sarah

    Very cool from a distance, like a Kandinsky painting… but like Jeff, I would not dare try to understand them.

  • http://www.swichkow.com Brian Swichkow

    It seems like the more information that needs to be in the image, the more creative they have to be. At the same time there is so much information and detail these things would have to be printed in a HUGE size.

  • http://mooreclick.wordpress.com caroline

    I love the overlap of art and science here. I’ve never been entirely sure the practical purpose of these (although as someone mentioned, perhaps in context it is more obvious). But I’m really fascinated with them.

  • Don Funk

    Nice post! Nitpick:

    Gaurdian => Guardian

    Thanks!

  • http://www.bebop-ad.com BebopDesigner

    Wow these are brilliant! I have no idea how to interpret any of the info, but it is really eye catching. Specially love Leisure & Poverty, and Housing & Poverty ones. I’m very intrigued on how they come up with the design and usability (or readability?). The designing process of one of these would be a really really interesting thing to find out. Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.webadelic.co.uk webadelic

    those really are stunning.

  • RPoulin

    Data visualization is about understanding quickly what a lot of data says about a certain situation or issue. They should serve as a shortcut for your brain. Most of these images fail to achieve this basic goal. I’ve made an honest effort to understand a few of them.

    Just like an ultra-modern kitchen without storage space, it looks great until you try to use it.

  • http://twitter.com/lucast182 Lucas Tadeu

    Very nice collection. All of these works are really creative.Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Sean

    I’ve seen a few of these before, but WOW this collection has blown my mind!

  • http://www.theroxor.com Kevin

    It’s amazing how boring data can become something this beautiful…

  • http://www.geovanerodrigues.com Geovane Rodrigues

    The examples of graphics is fantastic!
    Nice collection.

  • http://www.web-designmiltonkeynes.co.uk Peter

    Great representations of boring data.

  • http://ferrouswheel.me Joel Pitt

    Looks cool, but I’ve got to agree with the above comments. In most of these, the actual data itself is obfuscated by the prettiness rather than being made easier to understand.

  • http://home.surewest.net/annieliu/index.html theaizusnapbox

    awesome design, but I will not try to understand the context that is trying to be conveyed…

  • http://twitter.com/pauldatta Paul Datta

    This is an amazing collection. Id like to see them at a higher resolution so I can see them in greater detail. Blown away!

  • http://www.bickov.com Alexander Bickov

    Great abstract arts

  • King Tut

    “The actual data itself is obfuscated by the prettiness rather than being made easier to understand.”

    Thanks, Joel. I am keeping this phrase as the simplest way of summarizing what I feel seeing this kind of graphics (in this and other situations).

    In spite of their visual allure, most of them are more eye-candy than real awesome design. Design is about use and communication, not just about prettiness.

  • http://www.ripplenet.co.uk Tim Read

    Very nice – you need to go to the original sources to understand them: just follow the links. I like the Strengths of Nations one. Is surprising how the USA is more strong in social sciences and health, yet they produce incredible tech.

  • http://www.pomdesign.com Luke

    Great visual effects, thanks for sharing

  • http://www.theiphonedevelopers.co.uk/ iPhone App Developer

    Some spectacularly clever and beautiful visualisations – thank you.

  • http://caissy.ca Maxime Perron Caissy

    Nice collection of art data visualization. I really like their designs, but I’m really not convinced of their effectiveness.

  • http://webdesignfromscratch.com/ Ben

    Thanks for this beautiful collection!

  • http://creativefeed.nardyello.com Nardyello

    Stunning indeed. I wonder what/who each point/line/curve represents. Would like to see how effective they are.

    The Stock graph is quite intriguing. The “explosion” effect of the red/pink color could possibly symbolize a peak in the price of a particular stock. Meaning if a stock is “exploding”, go buy it because you will make a lot of money =]

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.kamikazemusic.com Dave Sparks

    Who would have thought data could have looked so good!?

  • Tomas

    If you want to see another nice visualization look at http://www.sociomap.com. It is maybe not so artistic but very comprehensive.

  • http://www.behance.net/LucaMasud Luca Masud

    Visualizations can be developed for different purposes. Sometimes, even if “the public” isn’t able to read it, it doesn’t mean that it’s a useless visualization. Maybe it was just used to understand something (some data, a system) by its creator. Its aim isn’t being published or communicate data.

  • jaime

    Although I agree that these are beautiful, isn’t the point of graphically representing information to take complex info and lay it out in a way that can be easily understood via a visual format? If so, then I don’t believe these are truly “good visual design”. Food for thought.

  • http://www.performancereliability.com Dan LaRouche

    I am with Jeff (…transform raw data into conclusions). I turnaround companies. I typically use existing performance information to provide new insight into what is reality. I gain trust when I present a simple graph that results in an owner saying “wow, I had no idea…”. These are beautiful works of art but for my clients, they would only add to the level of frustration and confusion that has resulted from over complicated management systems.

  • http://afewtips.com Michael

    This one is good and not listed:

    http://personas.media.mit.edu/personasWeb

  • http://www.neotericuk.co.uk james

    Great collection of resources though i days back i found something very interesting almost the similar on some other website.

  • http://www.jeremywisecup.com Noantsinmypants

    here is another interesting graphic not listed.

    http://www.jeremywisecup.com/images/worksmade/AMC_full.jpg

  • matt

    Are there special apps that are used to create half this stuff? I realise illustrator must play a big part.. but seriously who is going to sit there and draw all the lines in something like: Country “Continent GDP Population Radial Convergence” and “NYTimes Threads – Russian Presidents”?

    Would love to know… thanks!

  • cristy

    Check out http://www.tableausoftware.com. I’ve seen some really amazing things designed with there desktop software.

  • stefan

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrreat collection!

    Is there a way to get the images in big size format? I’d love to print some of them out and hang them in my office :)

  • http://www.silverstrandz.net phil

    nice one guys.

  • Benjamin

    As a “designer,” I would have to say at first I was delighted when I found this blog.

    Then, I got really angry!

    None of these images can be downloaded at a resolution where the text can actually be read! My guess is that this isn’t an accident, but reflects a specific form of brain damage specific to “designers” that content is more or ess irrelevant, that what counts is “stunning” graphics.

    Well, no, actually something whie is graphicaly “stunning” but fails to communicate information clearly and understandably is in fact WORTH LESS than an excel pie chart. Sorry!

    FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION.

    It would be great to be able to analyze whether these designers were actually communicating something effectively or just making pretty pictures. Sorrythis rant is more directed at designers in general than at this blog, maybe there are copyright issues or something, but all they function as here is as a strage exercise in decoration.

  • http://www.scotiasystems.com Scotia Systems

    Wow – stunning and fascinating! Anything which can present such complex data and statistics in ways appealing to so many people has to be a winner!

  • http://sumitk.net sumitk

    Really amazing collection :) adding you to my bookmark collection …. awesome work!

    thanks!

  • http://www.ameerpetstudent.com Billa

    Good collection of data visuals, it’s very useful. thanks for providing.

  • http://www.boxsail.co.uk boxsail ecommerce

    Great visualizations!

  • http://www.firstcontemporaryart.com Stella Evans

    Nice! I’m glad to see it.

  • http://www.dundas.com Martin E

    The Housing and Poverty visualization looks fascinating. I clicked on the link to check it out on Flickr, but find it difficult to figure out what the visualization actually means!

  • http://www.mondoprintlouisville.com Mondo Print Louisville

    Awesome! Who says graphs and data have to be boring? Thanks for the post.

  • Finn Fitzsimons

    You should check out numberpicture.com – a site that crowd-sources new ways to visualize data. People make templates by typing Processingjs code and then anybody can use them by copying and pasting from excell – worth a look at – so cool!!

  • http://gikmedia.com GIK Web Design

    A Fantastic way of presenting data people who use power point could learn much and make some of their presentations less tedious

  • http://www.reynoldsdigital.com RD Web Design

    This reminds me of how the government likes to demonstrate unemployment figures, just confuse the public with charts.

  • http://www.webboxcardiff.co.uk website design

    That’s great, interesting stuff! Yeh, graphs aren’t boring!

  • http://www.andol.info andol

    images are inspiring and stunning – but – some are difficult to understand what information the images have