Jon Moon

Clarity and Impact

Fun stuff

Here's what's on this page

Accidentally bad graphs - done from stupidity
Deliberately bad graphs - done for fun
Dumb infographics (tautology?)
Love autoshapes? Or do decks? Read these
How to look clever
Sundry fun stuff - bullets, Venns, org charts, etc
Video clips
The useful (educational, helpful and more)

Also, if you've heard of the game 'Buzzword Bingo', here's something similar: Info Bingo, and Bullet Bingo. Enjoy.

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Accidentally bad graphs, done unwittingly, without irony 

A truly awful graph that's just like a Jackson Pollock painting...
Fox News pie with a tiny error on it... can you spot it?
Sky News' marvellously bad column chart of the UK election
An unwittingly ironic graph on how we use information
Football: a staggeringly deceitful column chart
Rugby: a bizarre pie chart, and flawed logic too
A deceitful BBC graph on population growth 
BAT investor presentation: a graph understates results...



Deliberately bad graphs , done for fun

A great pie chart - which is a phrase I've never said before
A Michael Jackson graph (fear not, it's not in bad taste)
A fantastic pdf - a "bar of pies" and "pie of bars"
How to fool bosses that you're working, from
A curious column chart - I won't say more
Gaze in awe as a fez turns into a 3D pie. Just like that
And now, there are even M&S joke pies
A magnificent pyramid pie chart...

Finally, there's this from the UK consumer magazine, 'Which?'. I think it's tongue-in-cheek, but now the world loves infographics, I'm not so sure.


Dumb infographics

'Dumb infographics'... it's tautology. I no longer mock bad examples on this website. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. After all, study this and (A) count the plane journeys (2, not 3), and (B) ask yourself: "Where's London?" (England, not Spain). See what I mean?

I did however commission an infographic... it's here in this one-page article. And below are bad infographics I uploaded before getting too bored to upload any more.

Here's a horrible new trend - funky "data visualisations"
An awful infographic that shows the budget as moons
A novel way to show information about books
Five breathtakingly bad graphs (infographics again...)
An Olympic infographic that wins wooden spoon

Late edit: this is great. I had to add it to my website


Love autoshapes? Read these

If you pimp work with colourful autoshapes (overlapping circles, chevrons, circles-of-life, etc), here are two great articles that mock them wonderfully and mercilessly. The first is by Matthew Parris, the UK journalist. The second is from the Harvard Business Review.

Also, if you're into funky autoshapes, maybe you do 'decks'. So click here to see my new cartoon character DeckMan! And click even if you don't do - or even know about - decks... maybe you see them, but call them by another name (slide packs, for instance).


How to look clever (I like this a lot)

According to a Princeton Prof, we should use short words... and streaky toner. Here's why: in 2005, he found that readers make a link between their reading speed and author intelligence - and if you write short words, people read faster and assume you’re brighter. So far, so good. He then redid reports in less readable fonts, then with nasty streaks as if toner is low. Both times, readers struggle to read, but with the streaks, readers knew why they struggled and compensated accordingly. Or – rather – they overcompensated and thought authors were even brighter. Conclusion: use short words and put streaks in reports.

The Prof won an Ig Nobel award for his findings... And here's his full 18-page report. The 'less readable font' and 'streaky toner' bits are Experiments 4 and 5 - read their intro and 'Discussion' for more.


Sundry fun stuff  - bullets, Venns, org charts, etc

The Beatles' "Hey Jude", as a flowchart...
A wonderful organisation chart that tells it as it is
Put on your 3D glasses - 3D bullets floating your way soon!
A fascinating Venn Diagram of the UK's Royal Wedding
Not really witty. More like WiTty - a recipe in WiT. Neat
My book has 285 Figures in it - here are two more
A decision tree to help you make friends...
The best worst CV ever - brilliantly funny
A book that charts the lyrics of pop songs...
A brilliant Dilbert cartoon on confusing spreadsheets
Here and here for parodies of cheesy clichéd business photos
A decision tree to help see if you're the one people want...
Nothing to do with Clarity & Impact, but fun: Bus Art

Finally, there's this, a Periodic Table of ways to show information visually. Infographics have truly eaten themselves.


Video clips (duration in mins in brackets)

Below, the first video is stunning and has been seen by over 6 million people. And the second is wonderfully funny.

A superb animation, it makes "Education Paradigms" fun (12m)
A stand-up comic tells us How Not to Use PowerPoint (4m)
Five Microsoft videos tell us to ignore its software...(5 x 2m)
... but it then does this ad on how to pimp graphs (0.5m)

Intel's 30-second TV ad from 2012 is fascinating. Watch carefully, the lady doesn't show her graph to anyone, yet no-one is confused by her "20%" remark. My take on this? The ad doesn't mock just slow PCs, it mocks dumb graphs. And pointless slides. Maybe Intel knows my fourth question to ask before plotting a graph: would words be better? For the lady's sales figures, yes they are. (Obsessive aside: as you watch the ad, freeze it when you see the lady's graph... how on earth can she work out sales are up 20% from what's on her screen?)

Finally, nothing to do with clarity & impact, but an utterly charming 'cycling' video that's been seen by millions (3m)

Want to find bad stuff yourself?

First, go hunting yourself. Do a Google Image search on words like "graphs", "3-D graph software", or even "kpi" or "dashboard" (speedometers really help bosses engage with information… don’t they?). Or marvel at these graphs.

Then there's this, the European Insurance Review of Insurance. Quickly scroll through 164 pages. Bad graphs first surface about page 54, then appear fast and furious after that. Page 66 of 164 is groovy. Page 71 of 164 is bizarre – why's it a line graph?!

The useful (educational, helpful and more)

The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams. A great easy-to-read book for all us, not just for arty types with Apple Macs. There’s no screen shots or computer instructions. You learn what to do, not how to do it on a computer.

Plain English Campaign. Fun, educational, useful. Check the Golden Bull award and the free guides. There's also free software that checks your documents for waffle (“Drivel Defence”). If you try it, let me know what it’s like.

"Ask ET" page on Edward Tufte's website. Click on the link, then scroll down a bit to see his discussion threads. Fascinating and worth a browse. He's Professor Emeritus at Yale University. 

"Write to sell" by Andy Maslen. A fantastic little book on how to write persuasively. It's aimed at people that write marketing flyers, adverts, etc, but it's full of great ideas that'll make a big difference to most people's writing.