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Making information beautiful is an art form. Here at Visme, we are huge fans of what data artists are constantly creating. From data journalism to data art and data science in between.
We hope you like the examples we have chosen. Some are winners of the Kantar Information is Beautiful awards while others are on another path. Not all the best data visualizations win awards.
Please understand that the images we include here are only a glance at what the projects really offer. We suggest you click on the links that interest you to see the projects in their full glory.
Without further ado, here is our collection of the best data visualizations of 2020. Enjoy!
The first data viz in our collection is the Codex Atlanticus. The Visual Agency, a data visualization group from Italy, has put together a beautiful digital library of Leonardo Da Vinci’s journals and notebooks. It’s the largest digital collection of his work to date.
But that’s not all—it’s all set up in a way that will amaze both data visualization fans and artists.
The Codex Atlanticus won the 2019 Gold Kantar Information is Beautiful Award in the Art and Entertainment category. For history and Leonardo Da Vinci buffs, this digital library is a rich resource for education and research.
For data visualization fans, this library a wonderful example of how history can be digitized in a beautiful way, and it’s no surprise why it's a part of our best data visualizations list.
Visualizing information about nature usually leads to a beautiful solution. This visualization about how and where bioluminescence is present on the Southeastern coast of Australia is a great example.
Where the Wild Things Grow is a Tableau visualization created for National Geographic by Jonni Walker. The bioluminescence is visualized as shiny shapes over a satellite image of the area. The legend and the information are organized around the map and are very easy to read.
Another amazing data visualization published by National Geographic in 2019 is The Atlas of Moons. This is a scrollable digital visualization that takes you on a journey through space. The data is all about the moons in our solar system, starting with our very own moon.
The visualization is not only beautiful, it’s also educational and full of value. Every moon is navigable as are their orbits and individual information. This is one of the best data visualizations out there about space.
Not many people can manage to create beautiful things with unfortunate data and information. It’s especially impactful when the data artist has a personal story and reason behind their visualization.
A View of Despair is a beautiful visualization by Sonja Kuijpers. It tells the story of all the people who took their life in The Netherlands in 2017. Each natural symbol represents how life was lost, along with the size representing age.
Sometimes, the best data visualizations are the ones that tell a personal, relatable story.
Humans are addicted to drinking water from plastic bottles. This has turned into a huge garbage problem. This visualization shows the piles of plastic bottles in relation to famous landmarks and cityscapes.
Drowning in Plastic is a visualization by Reuters Graphics and does a great job of making a statement about how we are covering the earth in plastic.
You can see more environmental data viz in our roundup of the best data visualizations about climate change.
Not every Starbucks cafe has the privilege of saying they are the home of an award-winning data visualization. The first Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan hired a group of skilled data visualization artists from the agency, Accurat.
This data visualization is an interactive augmented reality wall that shows the history of Starbucks in a mesh of different data layers.
The wall was created in 2018, but it won a Gold Kantar is Beautiful Award in 2019 for the unusual category. You can see the wall in action on the Accurat website, but for sure it’s better to see it in person.
In 50 years of space exploration and space flight, astronauts have used different suits on their travels. This data visualization in The Washington Post shows detailed 3D visualizations of five space suits, from the first mercury covered suits to the one-piece SpaceX suit.
The study includes insightful dialogue between a space industry reporter and a fashion critic. The thoughts can be read as each suit is explored. This visualization is best explored with some patience and curiosity.
Google Maps and cricket buffs came together to create this data visualization about the shape of England’s cricket stadiums. The basis of the study is that not all stadiums are round, but rather a collection of uneven shapes.
Each stadium is visualized first with a satellite image from Google Maps and then graphics with data about the length and width of the field and a detailed representation of the shape. The Many Shapes of England’s Cricket Stadiums is a visualization for the BBC Sports edition.
Data visualization and information design is the type of work that takes a long time to complete. It usually also takes a lot of dedication. This is true for many data viz examples on this list, but one especially memorable is Symbolikon.
The Symbolikon data visualization, by Michela Graziani, is a large collection of artistically rendered symbols from different cultures and times in history. It has over 700 symbols in over 28 categories and it’s still growing.
Each symbol has been digitalized into three styles; PNG, JPG, and SVG. The collection is available for sale to designers to do what they want with it.
Data artist Federica Fragapane was commissioned by the BBC to create a data visualization about Space Junk. The data sets are separated into different categories; the distance from the earth, the types of space junk, and the size and mass of the objects.
The noticeable thing about Federica Fragapane’s best data visualizations is their attention to detail and colorization of the data. This one, in particular, is a great example of her style and how it’s evolving.
As we have seen through the years of putting together this roundup, space is a common inspiration source for many data artists. The Bureau Oberhauser Leaps in Space 2020 calendar is a great example.
The Oberhauser design agency created this visualization to show data about notable and memorable space activity that will happen in 2020 and some historical events added on. The visualization is available as a desktop or phone wallpaper, or even as a poster.
In 1979, Italian writer Italo Calvino wrote a conceptual book about reading a book. It has long been a cult book for writers, readers, and conceptual artists alike. In 2019, data visualization artist Hanna Piotrowska took it upon herself to use the book as a data visualization project.
The result is a beautifully printed rendition of the original text plus a twin book with a collection of data visualizations. The data sets include words, phrases, and story arcs. The charts are beautiful and a delight to look at.
Graphic designer and data visualization artist Gabrielle Merite took it upon herself to create a data visualization about how the LGBT community is unprotected by specific laws in the United States.
Each circle represents a state, and the chart pieces represent different things they need protection from. This type of visualization is worth sharing to show just how unprotected the LGBT community is in many of the states in the country.
Data about data isn’t always boring to look at. Data Grammar, for example, is a delight. It hasn’t been discovered by big publications and hasn’t won any awards yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of this list.
Data Grammar is a beautiful glossary of charts for data visualization. The colors are inspirational, and the inclusion of black and white images with conceptual labeling completes the design.
Georgia Lupi is known for her artistic angle on data. Her data creations are always very detailed and full of artistic value. Not surprisingly, her data art always makes it into our roundups. In this year’s collection, we have her fashion co-lab with Other Stories.
The main idea behind this fashionable visualization was to celebrate three women in science. Georgia’s sketches used the data from each woman’s notable projects to create reusable graphics that were then printed on handmade fabric.
The garments are sold inside a designed bag where the data and the inspiration are explained.
David McCandless, the creator of the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards, has a great new project this year. In the span of a year, David and his team have collected 300+ datasets in different categories and have created visualizations about them.
Beautiful News Daily publishes a new visualization every day and will do so throughout the year. The Information is Beautiful team has been a big name in the data viz world for a while and it’s no surprise that Beautiful News Daily is a wonderful project to follow as it grows.
Spinning globe visualizations are usually very nice to look at. Then sometimes they are also full of data that pops up in different colors. Such is the case for this data visualization about global commodities.
The data is about imports and exports around the globe for the past ten years. The visualization is interactive according to types of commodities, years and locations.
The Building Hopes data visualization is an AR-powered visualization that explores people’s hopes about life in general. The project can be viewed on desktop, but the best way is to download the app on a mobile device.
When you open the app, you are asked to walk around your immediate surroundings choosing hopes and selecting how hopeful you are of each one. Each hope is represented by a colorful stone and they are organized into a rotating sculpture.
Once the sculpture is ready, you can explore your data and how it compares to the Google Trends in your area. Then you can also discover other data sculptures created by people in the same area.
This data viz was also in our collection last year and that’s because it’s a yearly affair. Market Cafe Mag is the only ‘zine about data viz and it just won a Gold Kantar Information is Beautiful award.
This year’s issue, #5, is titled Activism in Data Viz and features work by Sonja Kuijpers, The Pudding, Paul Button and more.
With the winnings of the award, they are reprinting the 1st issue, which will be available for sale in 2020. Market Cafe Mag is one to follow, as we believe that there are only more and better things to come from them.
Nadieh Bremer adds a particular creative style to her visualizations. This year she worked on a project in collaboration with Google Trends. It’s called “Why Do Cats and Dogs?” and as you can guess, it’s all about cats and dogs.
The data is taken from Google trends and what people search about cats and dogs. The visualization is explorable and links directly to the Google search that it applies to. This is the type of data visualization that can keep you entertained for hours.
The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards brought us another exceptional data visualization from National Geographic. Migration waves is a visualization of data from 50 years of migration. The print version shows a selection of countries, but the full visualization can be navigated on the National Geographic website.
The black and white waves over the yellow background create a wonderfully visual rendition of the data. It’s interesting to see in which countries more people leave and in which countries more people settle anew.
The South China Morning Post is known for its creative approach to data journalism. Their infographics and data visualizations are always interesting and full of value. The data journalism team is full of great ideas and is constantly recognized.
In this roundup, we’ve included their own data viz roundup of all the infographics and data visualizations they published through the year about topics like Brexit, the US-China trade war and more.
Although this data visualization was published towards the end of 2018, it won a Kantar Information is Beautiful award in the Politics and Global category in 2019.
The data for this visualization is all about how things changed after the financial crisis of 2008. Five Reuters journalists each took on a particular aspect of the crisis and created a complex data viz with charts, video introductions and lots of insight.
Data as art is the other extreme of the data viz spectrum with data journalism on the other side. Not everyone can turn data into art, but Giorgia Lupi makes it into this list once again with an amazing data viz project.
This data visualization project was part of the XXII International Exhibition of La Triennale di Milano in 2019. The purpose of the exhibition is to show how the environment has changed over the years. The data sets are separated into categories and each category has its own abstract illustration to show the data.
Information visualization is a type of data visualization used in museums, public spaces and transportation situations. The Room of Change is a good mix of all the styles of data visualization.
Last year in 2018, The Economist print version started a new section for their Graphic Detail series. The Graphic Series is a data journalism section that has been a favorite with readers, especially data viz enthusiasts.
This year, the team put together all the Graphic Series publications together into one big downloadable PDF.
That’s a wrap for this year’s data visualization round up! Did you find any new favorites? Every year we rediscover our favorite data artists through their new projects and discover new ones.
If you're interested in making your own data visualizations, head over to Visme's easy-to-use graph maker. It comes packed with tons of data visualization tools, including free templates, animated and interactive graphs, data widgets and more.
Create a free account on Visme today and start making the best data visualizations your website has ever seen.
Additionally, you can check out this video to help you better understand how to use data visualization to improve your business reports and presentations.