Category Archives: History

Victorian Infographics

Check out this sampling of beautiful vintage information design over at the always-excellent BibliOdyssey:

The David Rumsey Map Collection has now been online for ten years. [This] selection of carto-curios is from the latest batch of material uploaded to the site.

Rumsey is an internet hero of the first order. Following the success of his business he was able to afford to indulge his latent interest for all things cartographic and he assembled a massive collection of more than 150,000 items.

That might have been the end of the story: rich dude spends money on secret passion in obscurity. But Rumsey wanted to share his collection with the world and mere donation of his maps and atlases to a document repository didn’t seem like it would fully satisfy his magnanimous urges. From a five year old interview on SFGate: “I realized that whichever institution I gave it to would lock it away, put it on a shelf,” he says, with mild indignation. “But just then the technology came along that would enable me to put it all up online, and it was obvious that this was the best way I could give it away to the public.”

Did You Know 4.0

XPLANE is happy to present Did You Know 4.0 — another official update to the original “Shift Happens” video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist.

As Garr Reynolds mentions over at Presentation Zen this morning, yes, this project was created with “off-the-shelf slideware” (Keynote and GarageBand, actually, along with Photoshop and Illustrator). Content by XPLANE, The Economist, Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Laura Bestler. Design and development by XPLANE.

For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit The Economist’s Media Convergence conference site at, or stop by for all things Did You Know.


Check out the short animated, “infographicy” film “Duelity,” by Marcos Ceravolo and Ryan Uhrich:

According to the records of the General Organization of Development labs (GOD) it took a mere six days to manufacture a fully-operational universe, complete with day, night, flora and fauna, and installing Adam as its manager to oversee daily functions on Earth.

That’s one story.

If thou shalt believe the Book of Darwin, t’is five billion years after The Big Bang that we behold what the cosmos hath begat; the magma, the terra firma, the creeping beats, and mankind, whose dolorous and chaotic evolution begat the gift of consciousness.

Duelity is a split-screen animation that tells both sides of the story of Earth’s origins in a dizzying and provocative journey through the history and language that marks human thought.

The BibliOdyssey Book

“It is my privilege and pleasure to announce that a book based on the this humble website is now in release and available for purchase by the general public…

As you might expect, the book features eclectic and rare book illustrations derived from many digital repositories, accompanied by some background commentary. It is not simply a regurgitation of what is here in the archives, although about two thirds of the images have appeared on the site previously.”

Bad Archaeology

“Bad Archaeology is the brainchild of a couple of archaeologists who are fed up with the distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture. We are unhappy that books written by people with no understanding of real archaeology dominate the shelves at respectable bookstores. We do not appreciate news programmes that talk about ley lines (for example) as if they are real.

In short, we are Angry Archaeologists.”

The Information Machine

A 1957 animated short by Charles And Ray Eames: “Applies graphic sensitivity to medium in cartoon form, and traces the history of storing and analyzing information from the days of the cavemen to today’s age of electronic brains.”