Information is Beautiful

By Jo Phillips

In these politically and socially turbulent times, we have become more and more dependant on receiving information through different mediums in order to keep us enlightened. War, illness, sexism and racism are just a few of the subjects that dominate today’s headlines. Last night, the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards announced the winners of their nominated categories and subsequent prizes during a special ceremony at London’s Ham Yard hotel.

Established in 2012 by journalist David McCandless in collaboration with Aziz Cami, former Creative Director of Kantar (home to some of the world’s leading research brands), the Awards celebrate excellence and beauty in data visualisations, infographics and information art. So what are some examples of these? Below is the 2015 winner of the Data Journalism award, a depiction of gun ownership in Germany in 2013. You can see how pieces such as this one are rich in information whilst offering a visually interesting approach to presenting data like this.content_53_german_unification

The Awards are open to creators from across the spectrum – rising stars, students, individual practitioners, established studios, media brands, NGOs and more. Amongst the judging panel of noted dataviz experts is, for example, Mona Chalabi, data editor at Guardian US, whose Instagram (@mona_chalabi) a wonderfully creative and whimsical approach to statistics and graphs.cuzjvflwyaa9dtr-jpg-largeWith a panel of 30 expertly chosen judges along with a public vote, the Awards prizes £20,000 across 15 categories each year to honour this art form’s growing international importance. Snapping up the gold for “Data Journalism” and overall “Most Beautiful” award was Buzzfeed’s “Spies in the Skies”, exploring airborne government surveillance in the U.S., an issue that had previously received little public scrutiny.  German data visualizer Moritz Stefaner won the “Outstanding Individual” category for highly innovative work including “Data Cuisine”, where data is represented with gourmet cuisine. It picked up the gold for “Dataviz Project”.

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The “Rising Star” and “Student Awards” categories honoured Dutch astronomer turned data scientist Nadieh Bremer for “Olympic Feathers”, Chinese student Janet Chan for “The Printing Press & Type Foundries” and Cordelia Morales Trevino and Gabriela Gonzalez-Rubio Gutierrez for “Atlas de Mexico”.
Winners were drawn from a global pool of talent, with gold awards going to candidates from the USA, UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy. The Awards also recognised entries from Mexico, China and Switzerland.

 The full shortlist for 2016 can be found on this page which displays the wide variety of art works nominated.

German Unification (top) by Christian Bangel, Paul Blickle, Lisa Borgenheimer, Fabian Mohr, Julian Stahnke, Sascha Venohr.

Hump Week (How Periods & Sex Drive Correlate) (bottom) by Mona Chalabi.