Thinking, tools and techniques behind my #30DayMapChallenge submission

🌍 If you have been following me on Twitter or LinkedIn, you probably already know that I adore well-thought-out, beautiful maps. But until recently, I didn’t have a huge amount of experience in creating maps myself. Last November, cartographer Topi Tjukanov (@tjukanov on Twitter) organized the second installment of his #30DayMapChallenge, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to get some more hands-on experience.

The challenge has almost no rules, except the fact that each day has its own topic. …

The book

This dataviz book has been on my wishlist for a very long time! So many people have added it into their recommendations that I have lost track. It’s in nearly every list of ‘must read books on data visualization’ you will find. So it was about time for me to read, and review, Storytelling with Data by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic.

Storytelling with Data, published in 2015, is presented as a practical guide for business professionals (think managers or consultants) who regularly need to present data, or findings based on data. …

Maybe you have never heard the term ‘slopegraph’, but chances are high that you have seen one before. They appear in serious newspapers such as De Tijd or the Financial Times, but you can easily create them yourself (yes, even in Excel!) and use them for your own data communication purposes. They work particularly well due to their insanely high data-ink ratio… as long as you don’t overdo it!

What is a slopegraph?

At its core, a slopegraph is a linegraph with just two data points for each category. In the majority of cases, such a graph will be used to compare between two…

Do you know the feeling? You spent days, weeks, maybe months to build the perfect dashboard for your clients. But when you share it, the results are underwhelming. Your users say they appreciate the dashboard, but you notice that they are not using it often, or not to its full capacity. They sometimes have a hard time finding what they are looking for. Or maybe something just feels not optimal and you want to improve your dashboard, but you can’t put your finger on what exactly is wrong.

Today I would like to share with you the five steps I…

In this monthly series, I review the data visualization books I have recently been reading. Which book should I read next? Let me know!

The book

Last February, on a cold and rainy day, I received the Dear Data book as part of a Dataviz Drawing workshop by Stefanie Posavec. The workshop was hosted by Graphic Hunters in a beautiful space in central Amsterdam.

It is a pretty large and heavy book, containing nearly 300 pages on sturdy, qualitative paper. It is not the kind of book you would take with you into bed at night, but definitely one you could put…

Let’s not beat around the bush in this blog post. If you are writing articles online and need to quickly insert beautiful, interactive charts, maps or tables, Datawrapper is the tool you are looking for.

The Datawrapper team, based in Berlin, built an amazing product suitable for everyone who wants to tell stories using data. The free tier is very generous — unlimited visuals, live-updating charts, easy embedding, responsivity… The professional solution is expensive but mainly aims at newsrooms and journalists, removing the Datawrapper attribution and allowing to create print-ready graphics.

No coding skills are required, you can simply copy…

If you thought a pie chart was the only food-related chart type out there, think again! There is the donut chart — basically just a pie chart with a hole in the middle — but as a Belgian, I am particularly fond of what’s called a waffle chart. It’s a great alternative to a pie chart, and very easy to make. Oh dear, my stomach’s growling already!

What is a waffle chart?

A waffle chart is basically a square display, usually consisting of 100 smaller squares arranged in a 10-by-10 layout. The squares are colored according to the proportions you are aiming to visualize, similarly…

Oh no! Not another coronavirus post! Yes, I know, we are bombarded by pandemic content these days. My apologies for creating even more. However, it is not my purpose to bore you with more of the same, or to confuse you with pointless details. Being a passionate information designer I decided to have a look at good and bad practices in COVID-19 related content from a data visualization point of view. It is definitely not exhaustive, but I hope you will find this a useful and inspiring overview.

We are living in remarkable times. The novel coronavirus is causing an…

When people ask me to define my job, I prefer to describe it as an ‘information graphic designer’. I like to take information, and make it visual. But what exactly are information graphics, and how are they designed?

Data-heavy infographics

Information graphics, often shortened to ‘infographics’, are an excellent tool to present complex information in a visually attractive way. By combining data visualizations with a minimal amount of text and a handful of clarifying icons and illustrations, a graphic is obtained which is able to explain a complex concept in a simple, elegant, but correct and accurate way.

Detail of an infographic created for the Victoris consortium (2017)

Infographics can come in…

So you are organizing an event, lecture, debate, or conference. You are looking for an attractive way to engage with your audience during the event, and to share the key messages with the world through social media. After the event, you want to have a concise, visually attractive summary.

Look no further, we are here to help.

What is sketchnoting?

Sketchnotes are a live graphical summary of what’s happening. Remember those boring, old school notes you used to take during lectures at school — ending up in your drawer never to be looked at again? Sketchnotes are nothing like that!

Sketchnoters use paper…

Koen Van den Eeckhout

I turn complex information into powerful visuals.

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