The Place of Infographics in Today’s Information Society

The web traffic surrounding the release of the 18 Flavors of Whisky Infographic has settled down. I want to thank Popular Science magazine for publishing the 18 Flavors of Whiskey. Their support alone was responsible for nearly 12,000 website views, hundreds of twitter posts, and tens of publication reprints! The website, as a whole, has now received over 20,000 views.

I am so grateful for the support of my family, friends, and customers for helping to make this little venture turn into a very real business. One of the unexpected joys of creating Sean Seidell Art + Science is the people I meet as a result of creating these infographics. They bring wonderful insight and ideas about what could be done better or differently. With all of the excellent ideas pouring in I could be very busy for years creating infographics… which I fully intend.

With four infographics released on the subject of food, I am finding that these infographics are being warmly received as an information resource to help guide people in a world filled with a multitude of choices. My art teacher Donna Graver taught me that for artwork to be successful it must communicate to people’s commonly shared experience. Without realizing it, I stumbled on a what might be our most commonly shared experience, food. I think Chef James Beard said it most eloquently when he said, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

Today, in our information age coupled with abundant international trade, a trip to the supermarket can be an overwhelming ordeal of choices. I often find myself hesitating while shopping for food. I am unsure which apple to buy. Apples. This should be simple. Apples are apples right? Just pick up a bag of apples and move on. However my local supermarket, depending on the time of year, sometimes carries more than 5 different varieties of apples including: red delicious, golden delicious, gala, fuji, pink lady, granny smith, macintosh, jonagold, gravenstein, winesap, and so on. Each type of apple has it’s own unique set of textures and flavors. They all share some apple-like commonality, but side by side they are so much more different than they are similar. If you’d like to see how different apples can be try tasting a fuji next to a granny smith. (Note: Apples are on the list of infographics to be created in the near future).

Currently I am working on creating the next infographic. Just as it was with Whiskey, there’s a ton of information to compile, sort and process. It’s going to be an excellent challenge. The next infographic is going to be about Chocolate. I just wish that I’d thought of doing this in time for Valentine’s Day.

Right now I’m trying to differentiate flavor profiles of Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario cacao beans from 20 degrees north and south of the Equator. It’s really amazing how much scientific research has been devoted to Chocolate. Milk chocolate Hersey bars are only the beginning. People have spent their entire lives studying chocolate, and continue to find new aspects of chocolate to explore. If all goes well the next infographic should be ready for release in the next couple of weeks!


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