Confusion Happens When Print Tries to Imitate Web

For better or worse one of the most popular trends on the Internet is to create infographics on topics (see a bunch here). Some of these graphics are stunning and really paint a nice picture, while others are, well, let’s just say others are less than helpful.

Those who follow me on Twitter know that I am in Miami right now, last night I grabbed the red eye from Seattle to Miami in hopes of seeing Will Smith — only to find out contrary to the song) he doesn’t live in Miami full-time. 1 Part of my airport ritual is to purchase a physical magazine to read during take off (when digital devices are not allowed), this time was no different.

This time around I purchased Bloomberg Businessweek and it was a special ‘Year in Review’ edition that promised:

365 days, 61 Charts, 289 Pictures, 7 Essays.


I grabbed this issues because it appeared that Businessweek decided to make an entire infographic issue of a printed magazine. 2 So how did they do?

Pretty shitty.


I have never been more confused in trying to read a magazine 3, or just trying to figure out why all the numbers and charts and lines they are showing are important. I cannot recommend this issue of Businessweek to any of my dear readers.

If you need a concrete example just look at the bottom left corner of the last picture — they are not saying that those percentages represent each half of the country — no they just put percentages randomly over the top of the country and then colored it differently to show how “equal” they are. Lame.


I had a goal once airborne to use my MacBook Air and InDesign to finish up a form for work — middle seat in coach on Alaska Airlines does not work so well for this task. I slept instead. In fact it doesn’t work at all for this task, I needed more elbow room to properly use the track pad — frustrating. More on this when I get back though.

  1. That is not really why I am in Miami.
  2. I realize infographics have been popular since before the web.
  3. More confusing that iPad apps.
Originally posted for members on: December 30, 2010
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