The Information Is Beautiful Awards are here!


These days, the awards show season has something for everyone, amirite? Around the Fat Pencil office, we get especially giddy and distractable in the weeks leading up to KANTAR Information Is Beautiful Awards (IIB). In September, designers, statisticians, brands, and information scientists from around the globe submitted their best data visualizations of 2017, and on October 4th, the 2017 Longlist was announced.

This year, KANTAR has dispensed with the Corporate, Retail, & Brands category and created a new People, Language, and Identity category (which is lit, if I do say so myself). Unsurprisingly, KANTAR has yet to recruit Fat Pencil directly to their judges panel - we will voice our opinions nonetheless! Public voting begins in just a handful of days and my highly-researched ballot reads as follows:



"Unraveling Death in Game of Thrones" by Heather Jones

Winner at first glance. I will applaud anything Thrones-related that makes me give a thoughtful, “…huh!” Though TIME was clearly angling this as clickbait and it looks not unlike a dorm room poster, I appreciate it for its clean visual vocabulary. The pale, spidery lines on black are a visual barrier to entry onto themselves, though I find this an apt metaphor for the series as a whole. Looking closely can remind you of the plots and conspirators you may have missed or forgotten, while zooming out informs you of the greater patterns of lethal power on the show. Fingers crossed for an updated version at the end of the series.

Honorable Mentions: "Mapping America's Taste in Oscar Films" by Simon Rogers et al "Sherlock" by Rossiya Segodnya



"Who's Banking on the Dakota Access Pipeline?" by Food & Water Watch

This graphic became an important moment in the Standing Rock DAPL confrontation in 2016. It illustrated the vast, intertwined undercurrents of financing – domestic and foreign – behind the construction of the pipeline. I appreciate it for its elegance, simplicity, and direct statement of fact. The central, bridging lines of the chart have a dynamic movement, which I found made it easy to read up, down, or sideways.

Honorable Mentions: "How Would the U.S. Defend Against a North Korean Nuclear Attack?" by Bloomberg Graphics "Tongues of Fire" by John P. Kazior (bonus points for showing your work!)



"Hoodmaps" by Pieter Levels

This project is interactive, light-hearted, and imbued with a sense of truth that you find across open-source projects. Take a look for a chuckle about your hometown. I appreciate it for its cartoonishness and lack of self-importance. The map is highly participatory - any reader can up- or down-vote the hovering descriptions or "paint" in their opinions of neighborhoods.

Honorable Mentions: "Bears of Finland" by Annukka Mäkijärvi "Mighty Morphing Metro Maps - Watch Transit Maps Transform to Real-Life Geography" by Max Galka, Metrocosm (because it made me giggle) "The Shape of Slavery" by Radical Cartography



"It's not so ISIS" by Giacomo Flaim, Politecnico of Milan

The storytelling of this piece had me so enthralled, reluctant to leave my computer even to refresh my coffee. Unlike similar scroll-y, complex projects, I never felt lost or rushed or disinterested; every chart contributed an important facet to the whole image. The piece walks the line perfectly when it comes to quantity, complexity, and hierarchy of information. AND they provide links to their data. A++ for readability, tone, and that turquoise.

Honorable Mentions: "Global Gender Gap Report" by World Economic Forum, Two-N "Internet of Elephants" by CLEVER°FRANKE (while you're there, check out the partner video, Lion sisters Fleur & Valentine *wipes tear away* ).


Life in Clay

"Life in Clay" by Alice Thudt

Alice’s work had me at first click. I love that the data sets were so small, and that each piece represents a relationship and represents time. The bowl pictured above was a gift to her dad, and it's design is a visualization of three years of his bike rides (quantity and distance). The production leaves an imprint of Alice's hands and her values. Most of all I appreciate that the final product is a useful object and not a .jpeg!

Honorable Mentions: "City of Women" by Rebecca Solnit "A Statistical Dive into Urban-Rural Prejudice" by ZEIT ONLINE


Nutrition Label

"Nutrition Label" by Vivek Menon

This is just beautiful. This chart is a reinvention of the ubiquitous 1990 US FDA nutrition label (and all its many amendments). I appreciate this redesign for it's continued use of commonly-understood terminology, the introduction of color coding, and a significantly improved use of hierarchy. Reading this label at a glance is possible! Once again, I must give bonus points for showing your work. Take a look, then tweet the link to your local, state, and federal representatives (You can find them here).

Honorable Mentions: "Collectively sick. Or not?" by Mirjam Leunissen "Items of Interest" by Paul Button "The longest running study on wild elephants" by Pierre Massat (Yes, more elephants!)


Rhythm of Food

"Rhythm of Food" by Simon Rogers, et al

An oldie but goodie. Rhythm of Food is a database of web searches for foods, the decade plus of data gorgeously arrayed and annotated for your viewing pleasure. I appreciate the system the site has developed for the playfulness, consistency of form, and expressive color palette. Check it out for cultural trends, obvious seasonality, and charts that look like the food itself.

Honorable Mentions: "Berlin Marathon 2016 - how fast your city runs" by Julius Troeger, Andre Paetzold (This is entirely in German, still amusing for anyone to watch) "Every country's fastest man in one race" by Hindustan Times


Emoji States

"The Emoji States of America" by Axios

This interactive graphic is more than it initially appears. Not simply an America-shaped array showing the most popular emoji by state – NO! The each feature of the faces is indicative of a state well-being statistic (rates of insurance, poverty, unemployment, obesity, high education, and sleepiness). The more ill and unhappy a state-face looks, the poorer it stacks up. I appreciate the humor behind this project, as well as the unique approach to representing a spectrum of information. In the next addition, I would ask for the addition of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and other outlying territories - the comparison would be fascinating.

Honorable Mentions: "100 Data Stories" by Christian Laesser (Surprise! Some podcasts for y'all) "Medieval fantasy city generator" by Watabou "PhillyRow: Anatomy of a Rowhouse" by PhillyRow (If you're into this, check out the Holland Prize)

Take a walk through the Longlist, though you might need a couple days to fully digest it. Alternatively, you could just hold out until the Shortlist is announced on Thursday, October 19th. Public voting begins the same day, and continues until Friday, October 27th. The lucky winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday, November 28th.

Yana Stannik was a Designer and Senior Designer at Fat Pencil Studio from 2017-2022.