Jul 8, 2019

5 Inspiring Examples of Data Visualization

by Digital Marketing Institute

As a species, we are inherently visual creatures.

In fact, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Moreover, people that follow direction or instructions with illustrations enjoy 323% more success than those who follow text-only information.

In our hyper-connected digital age, colossal streams of data are generated every day - a wealth of insights that it’s possible to use to enhance and evolve our digital marketing efforts.

But, despite its undeniable power, big data prove daunting, confusing and convoluted.

Enter… data visualization.

By coupling digestible textual information with striking visuals, it's possible to present your insights in a way that makes it simple for your audience (both internal and consumer-facing) to digest, make sense of and ultimately, retain important data. And, this concept forms the foundation of data visualization.

Tapping into the human predisposition for the visual and turning your most valuable data into an engaging, inspiring narrative makes key insights widely accessible while presenting prime content marketing opportunities to boost brand awareness.

Infographics alone are up to 30 times more likely to be consumed than a purely text-based article.

To place the power and potential of data visualization in the digital age, below we present four very different but equally inspiring examples from some of the world’s most forward-thinking brands.

Why not take your skils even further and check out our suggested data visualization tools and tips for marketers.

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” John Tukey

1. The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People

5 Inspiring Examples of Data Visualization

This inspiring data visualization from Podio provides tangible proof that, actually, not all great minds think alike. The visualization itself gives audiences a comprehensive glance at the daily priorities, habits, rituals, and activities of a balanced cross section of history’s most revered creative individuals.

Featuring the likes of Maya Angelou, Franz Kafka, Benjamin Franklin, and Voltaire, this striking data visualization is as inspiring and informational as it is educational and shareworthy. We learn that Picasso stayed up later than most people, and Beethoven had no fewer than 60 beans of coffee in his morning cup.

Masterfully curated and presented in an easy to follow, compatible format, ‘Daily Routines’ showcases pivotal insights from the book ‘Daily Rituals’ by author, Mason Currey.

By developing a digestible color-coded bar chart, the designers of this savvy visualization have made it simple for people to compare the regular routines of these prolific creators while gaining an insight into the types of (historically-appropriate) activities that foster creativity.

A masterful use of data visualization.

2. 100 Years of Rock

5 Inspiring Examples of Data Visualization

This interactive music-themed data visualization from Concert Hotels marries glorious sketch-like timeline graphics, interactive content, and sound, into a seamless experience that not only serves up valuable information but is tailored to the individual user.

‘100 Years of Rock’ traces the roots of this legendary and wide-spanning musical movement in a family-tree-style format that showcases the intricate connections between niches, evolutions, and sub-genres.

This creation is a prime example of how data visualization can make it possible to summarize an incredible amount of information in one single page without making it confusing, conflicting, or convoluted.

Not only does this inspiring piece of interactive condense a century’s worth of musical fact into one neat package, but its wealth of clickable musical samples bestow it with an additional level of value that extends beyond visuals alone.

3. Why Do Buses Bunch?

5 Inspiring Examples of Data Visualization

An interesting question, indeed. Yes, why do buses bunch together? This innovative interactive visualization, developed by data viz specialist, Setosa, offers a game-like practical explanation to the reason that buses ‘bunch’ or get held up, causing several buses to arrive at one particular stop at one particular time.

To provide its users with a practical insight into why these frustrating instances occur, the  company used a host of complex big data sets.

After coming to the conclusion that presenting this information in a numerical format would prove messy, confusing, and frustrating, Setosa decided to change gears (so to speak) and develop an interactive visual that utilized the data that empowers the user to create delays and view the various scenarios or disruptions as they unfold. In addition to understanding the dynamics of these types of transport disruptions, consumers can also view how many passengers would be affected by these delays.

A shining example of complex numerical metrics transformed into a piece of widely-inclusive content that offers instant practical value in an engaging, entertaining medium.

4. Pew’s ‘Where Do You Stand on The Political Spectrum?’

5 Inspiring Examples of Data Visualization

Have you ever stopped to consider where you really stand on the political spectrum according to the content you endorse and consume?

While this largely leans towards American politics, this data visualization from the well-regarded Pew Research Center provides a stimulating snapshot of the political spectrum through the influence and consumption of media. Even though it dates to 2014, the graphic is still highly relevant today, if not even more so.

One of the best static visualizations we’ve seen, this clever graphic presents an easy to follow snapshot of the spectrum, helping the user to decide where their personal beliefs and outlooks fit compared to the thoughts and opinions (and preferences) of the primary digital media outlets, television broadcasters, and print publications

The table-style visual is clear, concise and easy to digest, taking a specific set of insights and leveraging the data with an approach that offers a wealth of personal value.

5. Napoleon’s Russian Campaign

5 Inspiring Examples of Data Visualization

While this particular graphic (in its original incarnation) was entirely analogue, it’s worth mentioning because it was created 150 years, and is considered by many to be the world’s most pioneering data visualization.

Created in 1882 by French civil engineer Charles Joseph Minard (at the age of 80), this detailed map-like graphic details Napoleon’s disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812-1813.

Merging six clearly defined data sets – geography, strategic movement, direction, the volume of remaining soldiers, time and temperature – this groundbreaking visualization immortalizes a critical historical moment, making it accessible to future generations.

This age-old data visualization is logical, concise and visually engaging. As such, it is revered by many as the 'greatest statistical graphic ever drawn'.

Yes, this may be a subjective statement but there's no doubt about it, Charles Joseph Minard’s graphic certainly was groundbreaking.



Data visualization is a power tool for today’s data analysts and digital marketers. By taking a collaborative approach to your visualizations and coupling the concepts of analytics, art, and creativity, you stand to boost your marketing communications exponentially - one graphic at a time.

For more data-driven tips, explore our guide to using data analytics to drive better business insights.

And for an overview of the important of paying attention to design see The Power of Design-Led Content Marketing.

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