Black Death Infographic Case Study

Black Death

The worst pandemic of the 14th century, visualised.

Ring Illustration

THE CHALLENGE

This project was centred around the creation of a 'World Population' infographic. Pick any focus you want - as long as it centres around population.

TOOLS

Illustrator
Photoshop

THE SOLUTION

Throughout history, humanity has seen countless diseases, but none as infamous as The Black Death. One of the worst pandemics of the 14th century, it wiped out millions of people and spread rapidly across the world. This infographic delves into the data behind the disease.

ROLES

I had to take up a few roles for this project, including:

Role Icon 1

ILLUSTRATION

Role Icon 2

RESEARCH

Role Icon 3

DATA VISUALISATION

Mindmap

MAPPING THE IDEA

My design thinking process always starts off with an exercise I created for myself: Breakdown. I take products or projects that tackle the same problem I'm trying to solve and I break them down. I look at what works well, at what doesn't and this helps to start my own idea generation. During this particular exercise, I was analysing a disease infographic and, having the idea of creating a historical infographic already in my head, I thought why not combine the two? What's has been the most infamous disease in the past few centuries? The Black Death.

COLOUR

Because infographics are so information heavy, I wanted to create a reductive colour palette that would help elevate the data rather than overshadow it. Therefore, I decided to have only three core, bright colours. I did a bit of research into the symptoms of the Black Death, and found that yellow, blue and red were coming up alot (you don't want to know), and so, they became the core palette.

Pantone Blue Pantone Black Pantone White
Ring Gif

STYLE

Much like with the colour palette, I wanted to incorporate a style of illustration that would help elevate and reinforce the information. Therefore, I opted for a flat illustration, minimal (well, for me!) illustration style.

CREATING A FLOW

Mindmap

LAYOUT

In order to portray the data surrounding the Black Death in the most effective and clear manner and create a narrative that actually made sense, I had to experiment extensively with data visualisation methods to find the perfect fit for a piece of data. From timelines, to bubble maps, to flow charts, I've gained experience with a range of visualisation techniques.

Mindmap

BEGINNING THE BUILD

OBSTACLES

The most difficult aspect of this project was trying to get the information to flow, in order to to help guide the user through the story of the Black Plague. Because each section varied in colour, all the sections felt separate. To fix this I added elements to each of the section ends to try and soften the transition, for example grass around a tombstone graph.

THE INFOGRAPHIC

View the final infographic here

REFLECTIONS

Going into this project, I was completely new to data visualisation and, to be honest, quite apprehensive about it. I needn't have been though: I loved it. What's not to love about taking complex data and information and creating accessible and understandable visuals from it? I'm coming out of this project with a whole new set of skills and appreciation for data visualisation, and I can't wait to get stuck into some more.