Movie Trilogies: + BYODesigner

In the unending quest for viral graphics I had the idea to compare movie ratings across trilogies.  This is not a new idea, and has been done before, but it’s a great idea, and worth exploring yet again with a different angle.  IMDB is a goldmine of data and one angle I thought was interesting was the difference between the composite critics rating and the average user rating.  Did viewers agree with critics?  Where was the gulf the widest?  A survey of the top movie trilogies would surely surface some insights.  But that alone is not enough for virality, like I said, its been done before.

I wanted to bring a visual element to the graphic.. a custom touch.  I had worked with a pixel artist, Eloy, before and knew his style would be perfect for what I envisioned.  As I have many jobs to do as Creative Director at, I always ‘dogfood‘ our own product as it saves time and headaches.  I started a project in our marketplace and brought in a journalist who could collect the data.  Normally on these marketing graphics we would source a designer from our own pool of certified talent but since I already had a designer on board, I only made use of’s journalist talent and the efficiency of the project center itself to get this graphic to completion in record time.

I love the result.  Eloy’s characters are wonderful and I regret not being able to use them at full resolution.  Below is the one trilogy I wasn’t able to include in the graphic as there was no acceptable critics score available.  Can you guess which trilogy it is?



The rest of the design, besides the characters, was done by myself, and my compatriot Drew came up with the title.

[Link to larger version]


Movies So Nice They Made Them Thrice

by jess.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


Jan 2014
COMMENTS No Comments

Web Summit infographic

Infographic for Web Summit, completed in 48 hours.

Web Summit 2013

Explore more infographics; like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually;

<="" a="">;

<="" a=""> ;

Nov 2013
COMMENTS No Comments

Death and Taxes 2014 … and beyond!

Originally posted at

Ten years ago, I created the first in what would become a hugely popular series of annual visualizations of the federal budget, “Death and Taxes.”

It was, in retrospect, garbage:

There was no reason for it to be anything but garbage. Unbalanced design; no attention to typography. Back then, I wasn’t a designer and I didn’t know anything about the federal government. (My day job was selling faux vintage bric-a-brac to identity deficient 20-somethings at Urban Outfitters.) It was 2004 and infographics wasn’t even a word.

But if you can’t be the best at something, be the first. Prior to Death and Taxes, the federal budget visualizations were confined to the bounds of a Power Point slide. The pie charts and bar charts worked for the top line figures, but were incompatible with the 1,000-page beast of a budget the govertment put out each year. The only reason the chart became a poster was be cause it was just too large to fit on any computer screen. It still is.

The image became a brief internet hit two years later, in 2006, and I started doing one each year. The poster progressed in terms of design, density, and accuracy, too, as I started to develop a sense of how the government worked.

Along the way, I became known as an infographics guy, which developed into some great opportunities and partnerships. Infographics themselves rose to prominence, further expanding the poster’s (and my own) reach. Eventually I ended up here as Creative Director of, a long way from selling faux vintage bric-a-brac at Urban Outfitters.

But with my own personal development and opportunies came new demands for my time, and the annual research and production of the Death and Taxes poster is not something I could continue. In fact, I didn’t manage to get a poster out for 2013. But it was clear from the emails and feedback that this project just could not fade into the internet ether. It was too important. There is still, after all these year, no more open and accessible record of government spending.

Fortunately, around that time I was approached by Nathaniel of Time Plots about continuing the posters’ production. If you don’t know Time Plots, they are the glorious intersection of government, data-vis and posters. Seriously, that is all they do, and they are the best at it. I knew the annual Death and Taxes project would be a natural fit there.

So starting with the 2014 edition of Death and Taxes and going forward, Nathan and his crack team will be handling all development and production of the poster. I have a few of the new posters myself and they have already innovated on the concept and design. The Death and Taxes project is an exercise in transparency, accessibility and design of the most important document the federal government puts out each year.

It is also solely supported by sales of the poster, so I encourage you all to support the Death and Taxes project buy purchasing a poster this year. Your walls will thank you, and so will I.

The 2014 poster.

Death and Taxes 2014: US Federal Budget

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


Aug 2013
COMMENTS 1 Comment

In Search of a Sweet Death

As others have said, this is the “most depressing infographic ever,” but I don’t think its that bad.  Inspired and based on the Why Doctors Die article and Radio Lab podcast, this is my visual take on that material.  Coincidentally the production of this graphic was interrupted by my own father-in-law passing away from cancer.



Mar 2013
COMMENTS No Comments

Charting Female Popstars just released this interactive that charts all the Female artists who have achieved a #1 album since 1985

I was curious about how big the current pop stars are vs those my generation, like Madonna and such.  While the data isn’t in on the longevity of Beyonce, she is off to a good start.  Below is a capture of the interactive, Beyonce vs Madonna vs Alanis.

Feb 2013
COMMENTS No Comments

The gun control we can agree on

So this graphic I did was initiated by Ron Conway and then swept up a whole bunch of other people, mainly Bloomberg and the gun policy folks at the mayors office.  They had some interesting data and the narrative fell into place from there.  A bit of a different style for me as I would normally use photos to depict people but I felt that the sketch/watercolor has more gravitas.

What do you think?


The Gun Control We Already Agree On

Browse more data visualization.


Dec 2012
COMMENTS 2 Comments

Ballot Prop Round-Up: California

Rushed this one off the presses this morning.  Really interesting to see how much money it takes to defeat a popular idea (prop 37) and how much is hugely wasted pushing an unpopular one (prop 38).

Click or larger…

Nov 2012
COMMENTS No Comments Marketplace launch

The Marketplace has launched today.  If you are looking for to get a professional infographic done, there is no better place.  I’ve hand selected designers to work with and we have a sweet project management system to back it all up.  This isn’t 99 designs and we are starting with a price point of $1,500 but you get what you pay for and we have a string of success to back it up.

Here is the official video.


This video will give you a bit more about the actual process.  Please pay no attention to the epic-overload into (it didn’t make the final cut).

Any questions you can certainly reach me at jess at

Oct 2012
COMMENTS No Comments

The Power of Visual Storytelling (book)

There is a new book on infographics out.

It’s by the Column 5 founders.  I met these gentlemen, particularly Jason, back when infographics as marketing pieces weren’t “a thing” and I consider my work with them as being one of the major tent poles to this whole infographic resurgence.  I haven’t received my copy yet but if you are looking for a book on infographics that is more Guy Kawasaki than Edward Tufte, that is, more about communicating ideas and messages than data forms and structures, this book is certainly for you.

Sep 2012


COMMENTS No Comments

The Supernatural Sprawl of True Blood

I am, er was, a True Blood fan.  But the lack of focus and every increasing number of ‘supes’ and their storylines has proved too much for me.  I decided to let the data speak for it self.


The illustrations are by the talented Ilias Sounas.


Sep 2012
COMMENTS No Comments