Leap and The Net Will Appear…
Two weeks ago I began taking my first formal art class. The self-portrait I’m showing here is my first completed piece. I am a little scared to share it here, but I’ve decided to do so in the spirit of taking chances. Is it a Rembrant? No. But it’s progress. And that’s all I’m after for now.
Take a Chance
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” What a lovely invitation to take purposeful risks in the hopes of making yourself…better. A better friend. A better partner. A better leader. A better person. By intentionally choosing to expose yourself to the possibility of reward in the face of failure, you are saying to the world, “I am worth the risk.”
Leap and the Net Will Appear
Although the saying, “Leap and the Net Will Appear” is sometimes attributed to an unknown Zen source, it is, in fact, a quote by American naturalist John Burroughs. This blog is an example of taking a leap. When I began writing three years ago, I only had a general idea of what I wanted to talk about, namely: leadership, learning and innovation. I almost didn’t start because I only had ideas – ideas, not even content – for a few posts. What I found was, as long as I tried to be consistent, over time the material for posts naturally began to take shape. I didn’t need to plan or figure it out. The net just appeared.
The concept of taking a chance does not encourage recklessness. But it does make the important point that you must eventually act, believing that the resources you need will show up when you need them. This is simply faith in its purest form.
Special thanks to Tom Hendrich for taking a risk and inspiring me with his courage.
What commitment have you been waiting to make? You can leave a comment by clicking here
Let your ideas breathe…
How Can You Harness the Power of White Space?
Objects in a composition need to breathe. White space offers an airy canvas stage on which the parts of your design can freely dance. Just ask Mark Boulton, graphic designer and writer from the UK. Here’s my favorite part about Mark’s view on white space:
“Whitespace is often used to create a balanced, harmonious layout. One that just “feels” right. It can also take the reader on a journey through the design in the same way a photographer leaves “looking room” in a portrait shot by positioning the subject off the center of the frame and having them looking into the remaining space.”
Check out this slide show by Brand Autopsy to see some compelling use of white space.
Now, how can you use white space in your next design, web page, slide deck or thank you note to make a bold statement?
Looking forward to [the spaces between] your ideas,
Infographics: Pictures That Tell A Story…
What is an Infographic?
The term Infographic is a portmanteau of two terms, “Information” and “Graphics,” and describes the visual representation of data. Infographics help communicate complex information in a digestible manner, as they creatively present data in an understandable and engaging format.
As web users, with our diminishing attention spans, we’re inexorably drawn to these shiny, brightly colored messages with small, relevant, clearly-displayed nuggets of information. They’re straight to the point, usually factually interesting and often give you a wake-up call as to what those statistics really mean. Here are some examples to fire up your i-graph engines…
Example: An Infographic that’s all about YOU
Intel’s “What About Me?”
Intel’s What About Me? is an automatic infographic generator that connects to your own Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts to create a profile infographic about you.
Social media users know that discovery is half the fun. With What about Me? you can capture a snapshot of your social media life and create your own colorful image, full of clues and facts about one of the most fascinating subjects in the world — YOU!
The chipmaker’s new “What About Me?” app culls info from your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles to crank out a data visualization of your composite social media profile.
For instance, there’s a graphic that looks like a flower that tracks your interests based on what you tweet and write status updates about. There’s also a record of your most popular post ever and your most popular pic, your ratio of self-created updates vs. found information and “likes.”
More great Infographic examples
Free Online Tools For Creating Infographics
Hohli is an intuitive, simple online chart maker. It’s incredibly easy to pick your chart type, add some data, vary the sizes and colors and see the finished chart.
Creately lets you design easy-to-make diagrams and flow charts. You can choose from a number of purpose-designed diagram types and quickly add your data to make your own chart. The end result looks very professional.
New York Times
New York Times’ Visualization Lab lets you use statistics from recent NYTimes articles to create visualizations in various formats. You can also see other people’s visualizations and see how other people choose to display the same data.
Many Eyes lets you upload your own data or use data already stored on the site. The visualizations themselves are well-designed and very professional-looking. This is definitely the easiest way to use your own data for online visualizations.
Google Public Data
Google Public Data lets you easily take public data and transform it into an infographic of your choice. These beautiful, colorful graphics simplify and communicate the data perfectly.
You may have seen my earlier post on Wordle, which lets you create word visualizations using text you enter. There are plenty of interesting designs to choose from. Enter whole books, short passages or see what other people have used. In this example, we can see the US constitution visualised.
Free Software For Creating Infographics
Tableau is a free Windows-only software for creating visualizations. As you can see, these impressive graphs are colorful and quite unique.
Great tutorials on infographic creation:
Draw on Your Creativity…
This ingenious little app is taking the cooliverse to new levels of fun.
Now, I’m asking for your help in an informal survey. If you’re playing Draw Something, please add a comment below that summarizes why it’s so much fun.