Using Visual Analogies




Graphic by Anna V. Great ideas for motion graphics.

Show something familiar and analogize. If you know nothing else about visualization but pick the right analogy you are more than half way there. This is what a professional designer does – and there is no substitute for analogies. How do you choose the right analogy? In this grid I organized analogies from the abstract down to the more detailed. I grouped them by similarity in shape. The goal is to enable you to quickly see the possibilities and “try them on” your information. With time you’ll be able to do all of this in your head. But for now this is a shortcut.

The ISOTYPE, which stands for “International System Of TYpographic Picture Education”, is an approach to clearly visualizing social, technological, biological and historical facts in pictorial form designed for the new cross-border, multi-language world that was forming in the 30s and 40s. The book by the language’s founder Otto Neurath is free for download.

36. Isotype – shows quantities of things with the number of objects (shaped as icons) rather than by enlarging object size like in a bar chart. Isotype is a visual language invented by Otto Neurath.