Infographic reveals most common word used in 2010’s top pop songs as… “OH”

Part of this blog is about creating our own infographics, which I’ve done previously. What I haven’t done yet though is produce a Wordle. The site allows the user to input any text and it automatically produces an infographic displaying the most common words used as the biggest.

I wanted to create a word cloud that would tell us something about the state of society today. What words do we use most often? What is the language of the zeightgeist? I decided the best way to do this was to dissect the world of pop music.

Every year, mash-up genius DJ Earworm creates mash-ups of the Top 25 US Billboard hits from that year. Here’s his 2010 mash-up featuring the likes of top artists such as Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Taio Cruz…

Awesome, right? But what words come up the most? For this is found each song on lyric database and copied each of the 25 songs into a Word document. When they were all copied in, I created the word cloud and customised it so that it was easily readable.

And… voila!

Wordle: 25 Top Songs of 2010 Lyrics in Words

The overwhelming most common word was “oh” and “love”, “like” and “baby” also featured prominently. A shock occurance was “imma” – most likely due to The Black Eyed Peas.

Also interestingly, it seems pop was catered to singing about men more than women in 2010 – “boy” was a tiny bit bigger than “girl” in the word cloud.

What do YOU think of the word cloud? Have YOU created any fun word clouds with Wordle? What doYOU think would make a good word cloud? Comment us below or get involved on Twitter – tweet us @InfographicsD

Song lyrics featured in the word cloud:

Ke$ha – Tik Tok
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Train – Hey, Soul Sister
Katy Perry – Featuring Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
Usher Featuring – OMG
B.O.B. Featuring Hayley Williams – Airplanes
Eminem Featuring Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Taio Cruz – Dynamite
Taio Cruz Featuring Ludacris – Break Your Heart
B.O.B. Featuring Bruno Mars – Nothin’ On You
Enrique Iglesias Featuring Pitbull – I Like It
Young Money Featuring Lloyd – Bedrock
Jason Derulo – In My Head
Rihanna – Rude Boy
Lady Gaga Featuring Beyonce – Telephone
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Bruno Mars – Just the Way You Are
Mike Posner – Cooler Than Me
The Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be
Jay-Z + Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
Usher Featuring Pitbull – DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love
Travie McCoy Featuring Bruno Mars – Billionaire
Eminem – Not Afraid
Iyaz – Replay

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Gail Knight has come up with the genius idea of mapping all the public toilets in the UK. Apparently this information had not existed previously, so she has taken it upon herself to make an interactive graphic map marking all the wc’s out there.

It seems the Government does not posess this data, so Knight has had to coax the information out of over 300 councils.

But where the data exists, the map shows the toilet location and information about them. Where data does not exist, the public can contact their councils to ask them to join in with the project.

This is a great idea. Knight believes it will help those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and incontinence amongst other medical problems.

What innovative use of an infographic I say!

read the whole article here at The Guardian:

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Interview with Christian Tate, designer for Delayed Gratification

Christian Tate is the designer of Delayed Gratification, a new quarterly almanac which takes a look back at old news stories to see what has happened to the key people and places once the dust has settled. The journal features numerous infographics, many with a focus on artistry as well as the transfer of information. We interviewed Christian to find out about his experiences working with infographics…

1 – What sort of work do you do for Delayed Gratification?

I design the whole magazine and do a lot of the illustrations and infographics too.

2 – How long have you been creating infographics?

I’ve worked as a graphic designer for 15 years, mostly designing for magazines and newspapers. I started doing infographics mainly through necessity to fill a gap when there was no time to commission an illustrator or photographer. Being a freelance graphic designer is a good place to start as you are often on hand to push yourself forward at the ideas stage.

3 – Why do we use infographics?

I think there are basically two types of infographics – sequences and comparisons.

Sequences usually show a change or development across a period of time, like a comic strip or Ikea assembly instructions, or an evolutionary chart – it’s much easier for us to understand a sequence visually so we can see the beginning and the end and we can follow a path.

Comparisons can show us information in recognisably quantifiable terms – such as showing a billion dollar deficit in terms of a lifetime’s earnings for instance. The earliest infographic I can remember being interested in was an illustration of the size of a brontosaurus compared to a double-decker bus – the infographic gives us everyday context to some often unimaginable facts and figures.

4 – What are the advantages of infographics? What are the common pitfalls in creating them?

The main advantage is that we can present complex information in an easily understandable way, and show at a glance an interpretation of that information. I think the worst way to create an infographic is to start out with a “cool” format idea and try to shoehorn the information in – the form should always follow the function, if you let the visuals grow organically from the information then the graphic will just look right, it will be beautiful.

It is important to decide at the start what you want the infographic to say, how you want to interpret the information, and just as importantly what you don’t want to include. You can never tell the whole story, creating an infographic is about simplification and clarification, you have to be ruthless and it’s often best to just think about one or two things you want to highlight.

5 – When you are creating an infographic, how do you decide how best to visualise it?

It’s difficult to describe the process of deciding how to approach the visualisation, but it is very much a collaborative one with the writers and editors – we usually start with a spreadsheet and play with the information to see what patterns start to appear, often it’s obvious how the information should be shown.

6 – What type of news stories are best served by infographics?

The best candidates for an infographic are stories with lots of numbers, or a sequence of events -abstract ideas which can’t be photographed.

7 – Have any infographics in the press stood out to you?

I’m a huge fan of the website (and the book) “Information is Beautiful” run by David McCandless which gathers together some of the best infographics around , as well as showcasing his own work which is a big inspiration, particularly his graphics for the Guardian newspaper.

8 – Have you seen any really BAD examples of infographics? What did they do wrong?

I’ve seen some infographics that are unintelligible, over-complicated, but still beautiful – something we have experimented with in Delayed Gratification is infographic as decoration – in some instances we have taken simple information and deliberately over-complicated its presentation to create a visual puzzle subverting the relationship between data and representation. We are breaking our own rules here, but used sparingly the infographic as art can be quite striking in its effect and the unravelling of the layers of over-complication can be quite satisfying.

I think the key is context – in a newspaper, simplicity and clarity of communication is most important but you can get away with a lot more layers in a publication like Delayed Gratification which has a long shelf-life.

9 – What CAN’T infographics do?

I think that infographics are only one interpretation of raw data, by necessity of the process of simplification and clarification an infographic can only show one point of view – you could probably make many different graphics from one set of data and they could all be visually unique, supporting a different editorial slant – you can’t include everything and you can’t always be completely accurate, but you can give an impression and a visual understanding of information that can be read at a glance and will usually be backed up by a more thorough analysis in accompanying text.

For more information on the work Christian Tate does, visit his website:

For a preview of the first issue of Delayed Gratfication, visit:

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Simon Rogers: “Infographics are just as much journalism as a written piece is”

Simon Rogers

Beautiful infographics are great to look at but they don’t mean a thing without good data. We caught up with Guardian data journalist and recent XCity Award winner Simon Rogers to talk infographics from a data point of view.

Hi Simon! Tell us a bit about yourself and your background with data/infographics…

I’m a news editor on the Guardian and editor of the Guardian’s Datablog and Datastore – an online resource which publishes and works with raw data to try to make it more accessible and interesting for members of the public. I work closely with the graphics team and head of graphics Michael Robinson to support them editorially.

Could you tell us about the process of creating an infographic – from idea to inspiration, design to conception. What does it involve?

Often it starts with a breaking news story or an idea – how can we explain this in the clearest way possible? Then we’ll try to find the most appropriate data. Then we have to clean up the data, make it straightforward – before the graphics team look at the best way to display that information. There are often different approaches taken for online and in the paper.

How long does the average infographic take to produce?

It really varies – from a week to an hour. It depends on how much time we have, how complicated it is and how clean the data is.

Infographics are getting more and more commonly featured in newspapers and magazines – why do you think they are important for contemporary journalism?

They are journalism, just as much as a written piece is. It’s about displaying the information in the best way possible – sometimes that involves words, sometimes graphics, sometimes both.

What are the three key components to making an infographic as effective as possible?

Good data, great design and a combination of information in a way you hadn’t thought of.

What is your favourite infographic and why?

I like this one based on the Wikileaks data from Afghanistan. It tells you everything you need to know about IED attacks in the war at one glance – but it’s interesting enough to spend some time on.

Thanks, Simon! Check out the Guardian’s Datastore to see the latest in data journalism and infographics from Simon and the Guardian data team.

Are YOU a fan of the Guardian’s Datastore? Do YOU create inforgraphics or work with data? Would YOU like to be featured on Infographics for Dummies? Get involved and either comment us below or tweet us @InfographicsD

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Infographics News Flash

Next Saturday 9th April, trendy East London magazine Dazed and Confused launches its first day-long festival. Hosted over 5 venues, the day promises to be spectacular, fusing brain-shredding DJ sets with brain-building lectures. The one that particularly standsout – the one I hope my shift doesn’t clash with – is Aaron Koblin’s talk at Shoreditch Church.

Koblin is Creative Director of Data Art at Google Creative Labs, but better known for his pioneering data visuals and digital interactivity. Koblin has worked with Radiohead, creating a music video for In Rainbows track House of Cards, using lasers and sensors to produce a visual.

As well as that, he worked with Arcade Fire on “The Wilderness Downtown“, an interactive video that makes use of Google Maps and Google Street View to incorporate images of the viewer’s hometown into the video.

He will be talking about the importance of data visualisation in a time when the aesthetics of the internet are becoming increasingly important.

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Is the iPhone the world’s most popular camera?

If this infographic from Geekaphone is anything to go by then it could well be:

The infographic begins with the journey of the Apple device as a camera, first looking at the specs of of the Apple QuickTake from the nineties up to the much hyped iPad 2, with a hefty increase in profit since the launch of the iPhone 3GS.

Also quite interestingly the iPhone 4 is now the second most popular camera with which images are uploaded onto Flickr and some 45 million photos have been uploaded to the photosharing site from iPhone devices.

The infographic also recommends top apps to use on your iPhone to enhance your picture taking, naming Hipstamatic and Instagram as two of the “must-have” top photo apps. (I’d go for Instagram over Hipstamatic, to be honest.)

So do YOU think the iPhone is the world’s most popular camera or do you disagree with this infographic? Have you seen any infographics that display conflicting data? Or do you have any lesser-know photo apps to recommend? Join in the conversation by commenting below or tweeting us @InfographicsD

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Social Networking Trends: A Guide in Infographics

2010 was the year that social networking hit the big time. Facebook hit over 500 million users across the globe and Twitter reached 106 million. And it’s not just Facebook and Twitter growing – professional social networking site LinkedIn announced last week that it has reached the 100 million user mark and ‘checking in’ site Foursquare grew by 3400 per cent in 2010. So who uses these sites? And how? Fret not, for we’ve tracked down some infographics to break down social networking trends.

Let’s start with the big boys. Facebook and Twitter. The first infographic is one created by Digital Surgeons and compares activity on the two sites during 2010:

What’s interesting here is that while Facebook clearly has many more users, activity on the two sites is often similar. 88 per cent of people are aware of the Facebook brand and 87 per cent of people are aware of Twitter. The gender break down of who uses the sites are also generally the same. What’s interesting is that while Facebook is larger, only 12 per cent of logins update their status as opposed to Twitter’s 52 per cent. Twitter users were also more likely to login via a mobile device, perhaps suggesting Twitter as the more fast-paced and active of the two sites.

Next is an infographic guide to Facebook alone. It’s pretty fun and sometimes shocking (28 per cent of Facebook users aged between 18 and 34 check their Facebook account on their smarthphone before waking up. I’m one of them.) It was featured on Skatter Tech with information from

I really like this inforgraphic as it’s informative, interesting and gives original information. Plus, it told me that there are at least 43,869,799 other single people out there – so there’s hope for us all!

Now let’s look at the lesser used – but very up and coming – Foursquare, also from Skatter Tech.

The infographic shows where all global check-ins occurred last year, with big concentrations in North America, Europe and South East Asia. Checking-in at food-related locations was most popular, while college and education establishments had the least. Plus, things all got very sci-fi when one account checked in from the International Space Station on October 22 2010. Pretty cool.

Finally, let’s look at LinkedIn, which – as we’ve discussed – recently reached 100 million members. This infographic created by Scott Nicholson and Anita Lillie at the LinkedIn data sciences team gives the lowdown:

Among other things, the infographic shows that while there are 997,000 teachers on the site, there is only one martini whisperer (anyone got any ideas?) Like Foursquare, LinkedIn has shown massive growth, particularly in Brazil with a growth of 428 per cent members and Mexico with a growth of 178 percent.

Social networking trends are a pretty hefty subject but these infographics break down the data in a clear and dynamic fashion. That’s why we love ’em!

Are there any social networking infographics that YOU’VE been impressed by? Want one of YOUR infographics featured on the site? Comment us below or @InfographicsD on Twitter!

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Bad Infographics Returns

We’ve devoted many of the posts on this blog to infographics that we love. Beautiful, glorious swoops of colour and structure that visualise data in a picture-perfect medium.

But in the shadows, out there on the internet, and indeed in everyday life, lurk the bad boys of the infographic world. Unclear. Illegible. Awful. It’s enough to make you open up Photoshop and set about creating one yourself.

We found this first one over at The perpetrator? Ikea.

Plaudits must go to Ikea for their infographically-styled attempt to inform shoppers when’s best to shop, but perhaps they’d best stick to selling forests of wooden furniture at wallet-friendly prices. Pie charts are the black sheep of the infographic family, especially when not even in 3-D. Ikea is a temple to affordable, inspirational design – couldn’t they have extended this to their infographics too?

We found this bad boy lurking on Usability Counts, as a competitor for the Most Ugly and Useless Infographic Competition (I hope my Haribo infographic doesn’t appear there next year!

A prize to anyone who can guess what this actually means?

Vizworld found this monster infographic – a supposed look at mobile media around the world. I wouldn’t know. I can’t even look at it. Pie charts have multiplied into circular hell. There’s tiny text. Apart from the title, there’s nothing clear about it.

Has anyone else seen any truly hideous infographics out there? Let us know here or on Twitter @Infographics D

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Create your own InfoMap!

I have always looked in wonder at those clever coloured maps in the Guardian, where they give each country a different colour according to population, economy, birth rate or any other variable.

But could I produce something like it myself?

Using, I managed to produce this map showing the 2010 GDP of all the countries in the world (indicated by colour), as well as the economic growth rate achieved last year (indicated by the size of the dots on each country).


To do this, I used google to search for GDP stats (advanced search techniques allow you to specify an Excel spreadsheet). The file can be found here. I removed unnecessary data from previous years, then uploaded this spreadsheet into did the complicated bit – it coloured each country a different shade according to which GDP band it fell into. It also added the dots – different sizes according to growth rates. (To view the interactive map online, click here).

Overall, am happy with my first attempt at creating an InfoMap. Although the Guardian infographics team still manages to make prettier maps than I ever will, at least we know there’s a user-friendly, online tool out there to help us produce our own InfoMaps.

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Infographics Newsletters

We’ve come a long way with our journey into the gorgeous world of infographics. Then, we didn’t understand them. Now, we can’t get enough of them! While “love” is probably too strong a word to be bandied around, we’re committed to infographics. We want to have “the talk” with them. We want to see them on a daily basis.

Lucky for us Dummies that there’s some kindly souls out there who are dedicated to creating daily newsletters. These bring together the very best of infographics out on the web into bite sized, digestible reading. Forget the Daily Mail’s TV and Showbiz pages – if you’re infatuated with infographics, your homepage should be set to one of these.

1) Daily Infographic

The brainchild of Jay Willingham, this daily newsletter deposits an infographic a day in your inbox if you subscribe by email or by RSS feed. It’s like taking vitamins, but better.

The Dummies took to Twitter to ask Willingham what drove him to create a daily newsletter. His response? “Felt like there was an untapped market for daily infographic distribution. Always been big fans of data visualization”.

The site also has a handy category page so you can select a certain infographic field that you’re interested in, from “Animals“, to “Government” to “Mindblowing“.

I particularly like this one from the Pets section looking at the history of LOLcats, that internet phenomenon. Why? Because as well as being interesting to look at, the infographic also includes the “lol” speak of the LOLcats as it pads its way through the entertaining timeline.

I also like pets.

The History of Lolcats from

2) The #infographics Daily

We like this daily round up a lot – possibly because it’s featured not one but TWO of our blog posts over the last few months. Unfortunaetly, I can’t link to it because it changes content every day, fuelled by the infographics that people have been sharing on Twitter.

I love the clean design of it and it’s oh-so easy to scroll through and select a category, whether Arts or Photos. The headline at the points plots the countdown to the next refresh of information and also informs you of how many people have shared the certain links on Twitter.

Screenshot of The #infographics Daily

The best way to search for The #infographics Daily is to follow its creator, Gabriele Cazzulini, on Twitter and await his frequent updates. It’s worth it. I promise.

3) The Daily Infographic
I know, all these sites have super-original names, don’t they? But as with any long-term relationship, it should be what’s inside that counts.

They also have a handy guide to just why infographics are so great:

Why Infographics
Are Irresistible

  • They look good up close and far away
  • They have fun and interesting facts
  • They are colorful
  • They are artistic
  • They are everywhere

It’s very American-centric in content, but still interesting – such as this infographic on words that are transphobic, an under-developed subject area that is fast progressing.

Copyright Clinton Andor


Where do YOU head for your daily dose of infographics? Let us know by commenting or on Twitter @InfographicsD

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