Data visualisation. Clever analytics. There’s something in my genetic code that means that when I see something done well I see the kind of beauty that it is perhaps more common for people to see in mountains and oceans. This month I have five articles to share:

  • Two which are beautiful because of the way that seemingly ordinary charts and graphs are used to portray information in a way which makes it analytically explorable for anyone;
  • Two which are beautiful to me because of the clever visualisation styles; and
  • One to bridge the gap

Changes in global use of contraception

The first is from the Guardian datablog and is an interactive portrayal of how contraception use has changed since 1970 and how it varies by continent.

There are several different charts available, showing the change since 1970 by continent and allowing the data explorer to view each country as compared to the rest of its continent. There are also stacked bars for each continent, showing interesting factoids such as that Europeans are more likely to use non-chemical methods of contraception than any other continent.

Death rates in North America by demographic

Then at the other end of the spectrum of life, the Washington Post has published an interactive set of charts showing the life expectancy of different groups of North Americans between 1990 and 2015.

Deaths in Shakespeare

Someone created a horrible pie chart showing all the causes of death in Shakespeare’s plays and, although I’m not usually super keen on word clouds, the alternate representation from junkcharts shows how easy it can be to improve upon a pie chart with far too many colours.

Game of Thrones characters

As the last series of Game of Thrones launched last week (or it did where I was in Canada, I haven’t checked UK TV listings), the Guardian created a unique visualisation showing for each episode of each previous series which characters were in the top ten of Google searches the day after it aired for the first time.

The article doesn’t fully extrapolate from there to the most interesting character for each series, so I’ll estimate:

Series 1: Sansa Stark
Series 2: Daenerys Targaryen
Series 3: Daenerys Targaryen
Series 4: Daenerys Targaryen
Series 5: Daenerys Targaryen

It seems quite clear to me who the favourite is – although her reign as number 1 across the latter 4 series is interrupted episode by episode by a number of other characters.

Brand colours

Now this last is very interesting.

We all recognise different brands by their selected colours and this last article (from modeanalytics) that I’ve selected this month looks at thousands of Instagram photos relating to brands from 2015, reducing each photo to its most dominant colour and creating a “colour pinwheel” for each brand.

I found the slideshow a little way down the page particularly interesting, with Starbucks an unusual surprise….