Tag Archives: nutrition

Holmes or Tufte? Mineral Water Composition chart

I’ve just watched some lectures on the two major schools of design: Tufte and Holmes.

This was one of them (Vimeo.com)

They’re radically different. Tufte advocates simple data visualisations with a maximum data-to-ink ratio. Holmes likes to add visual elements, pictures and illustrations onto charts, which Tufte calls “chartjunk”. You’ll have noticed the striking difference between these two competing schools when you upgraded your iPhone from the Holmes-inspired, skeuomorphic iOS 6 to the Tufte-inspired, clear and minimalist iOS 7.

iOS and iOS 7 comparison
LEFT: Holmes-style design (iOS 6). RIGHT: Tufte-style design (iOS 7)

Clearly, the Tufte-inspired version on the right looks much better.

Here is a simple introduction to minimalist Tufte design:

Data-to-ink ratio

I’m on the side of Tufte here. I like complicated data visualised in a simple-looking graphic. Looking back at the graphics I made last summer, I decided to update the Mineral Water Composition chart I made last year according to Tufte’s design philosophy.

Here’s the new, Tufte-inspired version:

Water water everywhere v3
Tufte school of design. Click to enlarge (JPEG)

And here’s the old Holmes-inspired version I made a year ago:

Mineral Water Composition by Brand
Holmes school of design. Click to enlarge (JPEG).

Which design do you prefer…? Holmes or Tufte?

E-xplosion: E-numbers Explained!

Yesterday, I uploaded Visual Guide to E-numbers. Today, after I thought it was all finished, I woke up with a completely redesigned version in my head—and couldn’t resist making it and uploading that, too. Here it is: E-xplosion: E-numbers Explained!

Click to download large JPEG version
E-xplosion- E-numbers Explained!

Visual Guide to E-numbers: E100 Series—Colours

I love making graphics. This latest one is part of a series called “Visual Guide to E-numbers”. I’ve made two versions of this graphic, and this is the first.

Visual Guide to E-Numbers
Click to download large JPEG version

We can see that most E-number colourings are red or yellow. Most of the lower numbers are worse for our health (azo dyes), while the higher numbers tend to be healthier (e.g. plant extracts), but this isn’t a fixed rule. The very last few aren’t edible—they’re used in lipsticks and suncreams.

Comments are welcome as always.

Ingredients of an All-Natural Banana

This visualisation has a short story behind it.

Ingredients of an All-Natural Banana
Click to view large JPEG

I usually care too much about food labels. If something has monosodium glutamate (E621) or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it, I’m probably not going to buy it no matter how healthy or delicious the food looks as a whole. (Strangely, I’d be willing to eat it, though.)

Some people care about different ingredients such as “E-numbers”. I made this graphic to demonstrate how “natural” products (such as a banana) contain scary-looking ingredients as well. All the ingredients on this list are 100% natural in a non-GM banana. None of them are pesticides, fertilisers, insecticides or other contaminants.

There’s a tendency for advertisers to use the words “pure” and “simple” to describe “natural” products when they couldn’t be more wrong. With this diagram, I want to demonstrate that “natural” products are usually more complicated than anything we can create in the lab. For brevity’s sake, I omitted the thousands of minority ingredients found in a banana, including DNA 😉

Enjoy!