David McCandless

David McCandless is a London based author, writer and designer. Today he is an independent data journalist and information designer. He turns complex data, like worldwide military spending, media buzz and Facebook status updates, into beautiful diagrams and brings to light the unseen patterns and connections.

‘I’m interested in how designed information can help us understand the world, cut through BS and reveal the hidden connections, patterns and stories underneath. Or, failing that, it can just look cool!’

This well designed visualisation of data is what makes very dull information not only more accessible to the public but making it much easier to understand in context. It can be argued that his complex and beautiful infographics can deter away from the seriousness and facts of the raw data. I personally disagree with this point because if anything it makes the information more attractive and interesting to begin with and gives it more importance. Many times figures such as these would be found on spreadsheets or other government documents which would be ignored by the majority of people or not be as comprehensible as the visualisation created by McCandless.

Billion Dollar-o-Gram 2013 Interactive by David McCandless
Billion Dollar-o-Gram 2013 Interactive by David McCandless

(above) This is one of McCandless first data visualizations called the Billion Dollar-o-Gram. It compiles masses of data of global expenditure, this information as raw data would be very hard to comprehend as it would be very difficult to compare all that data and get a grasp of the enormity of these expenditures. It really helps put the numbers and into perspective by having the size of the boxes represent the size of the figures and allowing the audience to grasp the information much quicker.

“By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes: a sort of information map. And when you’re lost in information, an information map is kind of useful.”

Above are some more examples of his work. I personally find David McCandless very interesting and I really like the visual aesthetics of his work as he creates intricate images from data. His visual style is simple and doesn’t over complicate the diagrams or illustrations, and breaks the information down to its simplest form. I have a personal interest in infographics as I am a visual learner and looking at statistics and information like this helps me understand the information much faster and makes it more interesting.


David McCandless . (2012). Design Work. Available: http://www.davidmccandless.com/design_work/. Last accessed 16 March 2015.

David McCandless . (2013). About. Available: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/about/. Last accessed 16 March 2015.


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