The article that initiated my idea for the Ginfographic project appeared in FastCoDesign way back in October – Let AutoCAD Show You How To Mix More Than 70 Classic Cocktails, which showcased the work of engineer Shaan Hurley.
He has depicted nearly 100 classic cocktails using AutoCAD, and instantly I loved it, as its an almost programatic and logical way to depict drinks, its almost a manual. There is some standardisation with colour/pattern when it comes to the depiction of fluids and liquids, so there is uniformity to the illustrations of drinks. Although introduced as an infographic by FastCompany, I genuinely see it as a schematic for drink creation above other design tags. For example, just by glancing at it, it is easy to see that ice appears in most cocktails, as do varying liquids, some appearing more than others, giving a representation of an inkling towards what the cocktail will include, and which ingredient is more common.
Then, I started thinking how wonderful it would be if they were generated directly from data as opposed to being ‘hand drawn’. Which then led to me laughing at the fact I considered AutoCAD ‘hand drawn’, that drawing the images using software was somewhat archaic and long-winded, that generating them would elevate the usefulness, and how could I even begin to attach ideas of replicating fluidity and volume to entities that are digital representations of a real thing.
Around then I started working on a recipe-book project (for work outside of university) that considers the representation of flavour pairings and the process of making recipes->menus->cuisines. To this point, I have been reserving the actual graphical representation of flavour for my final project, and have been discovering that the idea of flavour pairing is just so vast. I thought it would be great to gather data about food, food pairings, food preparation from the public and using that data to do metrics on the idea of ‘flavour’, based on public-descriptive data (as opposed to solely seeking journals). By this point the project idea was just so huge, so I decided to reign it in and focus on just one ingredient, and that turned out to be Gin, and incorporate my idea of generating schematics of gin drinks.
Now i’m starting to get my head around what I actually want to achieve from this project. I knew I wanted it to be a celebration of gin and flavour, I knew I wanted people to be involved, but thanks to (much needed) direction from my lovely tutor Angus, I’m beginning to regain focus.
This representation was designed for Information Is Beautiful, an infographic book released in 2012. It is similar to the AutoCAD cocktail schematics in the way that it represents a type of drink (coffee), and depicts the ingredients as ‘layers’, distinguished by differing proportions and colours. Each drink is contained within a coffee-cup image, forming cohesion before the reader looks further into the text. However it does not include specific measurements as such, although it isn’t always important in coffee making, but as an instructional image, the reader would require a little more information. Therefore it is probably more useful as an ode to coffee-making, being able to distinguish coffee names and describe what is in it, but then maybe that is the nature of an infographic. Information is selected, prioritised and omitted for the purpose of the final graphic.
Again appearing in FastCoDesign, this is a tongue in cheek periodic table of alcohol designed by Area 52, which brings awareness to the units of alcohol. It was actually commissioned by an American College organisation, so using a scientific model is quite a clever tool to use in relating to academia. FastCoLabs boldly claims that “In a very real way, the Periodic Table of Elements is the first great infographic.”, although I argue it probably isn’t the first real infographic, it is certainly a fantastic one. Also, a point I’d like to consider in my project, is at what point does a modern, simplistic, intuitive data visualisation become an infographic? Is it when it ‘thinks’ it is an infographic, when its self aware of what it is trying to accomplish?
There are many more alcoholic infographics similar to these above, and I guess talking about them will yield similar responses, FastCompany proves fruitful for these.