Everyone Likes Infographics, Because Everyone Likes Pictures

Beijing's population versus overall China - From Chinfographics.com

Even the brainiest text-readin’ high-brows of us cannot resist the allure of a picture or two. No matter where we go, our eyes instantly wander on their own, processing the inherent and possible messages of an image long before those of headlines, bylines, subtitles, and body copy. That’s just the way we are. We’re children.

There are two things I aspire to share with my readers. One is sharing alternative perspectives to challenge the day-to-day presumptions we so easily jump to, so hopefully we can be more fair to others, and ourselves.  The other is sharing how to articulate many of the ideas and opinions we might have in our guts but may not know how to put into words when dealing with those we disagree with. My interest in these two things, however successful or unsuccessful I am at contributing to them, is why infographics, “visual representations of information, data, or knowledge”, have always appealed to me1, because they are inherently articulations of alternative perspectives2.

Of course, I could just be a sucker for pictures like the rest of humanity.

Chinfographics logo.

Whatever the case, I do want to take a moment point everyone here, who hasn’t yet heard, towards a new blog called Chinfographics, started by Mårten Strassburg and David Wang. I’m sure their name, and the author name they post under, should be read as something like “China Info/graphics”, but I keep reading it phonetically as “chin-foe/graphics”. I recommend people follow my lead so you won’t mistype their URL in the future. When spoken, stress the “foe”.

So far, they’ve only released two infographics: part 1 and part 2 (both previewed here) of a three-part series on China population. However, here’s hoping they’ll keep it up and have many more interesting ways of looking at China-related statistical data in the future.

60 Chinese cities with populations over 1 million. - From Chinfographics.com


  1. They’re great link-bait too. []
  2. Read that again and it’ll make sense []


7 Comments

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  1. They are very impressive infographics and I think your analysis of why we’re drawn to such things is spot on.

  2. lolz

    We need more infographics. Sure we can all stare at a boring spreadsheet and get the same facts but there is something about the visuals that make you want to read more.

    Here is another popular one some random items:
    http://www.imagebath.com/littlenemo/china/

    And one comparing China to the US on economics related topics:
    http://www.billshrink.com/blog/wp-content/themes/shrinkage/images/graphics/us-vs-china-economy.jpg

  3. Zepplin

    The brainiest text-readin’ high-brows of us can not resist pointing out 100 times the area != 100 times the radius either. Hopefully this (very) rapidly spreading under-representation of Beijing will be corrected as the authors have already been alerted.

  4. zhe...

    Nerd comment no.2: those population numbers look a bit off. There is not a chance in hell that Shenzhen has 14 million people.

  5. A really interesting graphic would be to take that same “population bubble” and overlay it with “wealth ratio” bubbles. That is, a population bubble representing those who own 25%, 50%, 75% of the wealth or income, etc. I can guarantee that those bubbles would be shockingly small. (And this goes for the US, too. Indeed, a global-scale graphic would be the loudest statement on inequality.)

    • King Tubby

      Good one, Kevin. Then stage your suggestion over time in the West, say every 5 years since 1970. The the whats-left- of the nervous middle class today would be reaching for the serapax.

  6. We need more infographics. Sure we can all stare at a boring spreadsheet and get the same facts but there is something about the visuals that make you want to read more.Here is another popular one some random items:
    http://www.imagebath.com/littlenemo/china/And one comparing China to the US on economics related topics:
    http://www.billshrink.com/blog/wp-content/themes/shrinkage/images/graphics/us-vs-china-economy.jpg