Data rings: A community of data viz creators

The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards is an annual awards ceremony that celebrates the work made by the data visualization community. This year as I looked through the shortlisted submissions, I wondered: who are the people and groups making these data visualizations? Are they media companies? Individuals submitting passion projects? Academics and students?

Data Rings legend

With a bit of digging through the 101 shortlisted submissions, I categorized each project by who created it into five categories: University & Research, Media, Studio, Independent, and Misc. To answer these questions, I created a hand-drawn visualization of all the shortlisted projects. Each ring is a project, with the number of authors, visualization-type category, and award(s) received visually encoded via stripes, color, and size. Rings are then grouped into one of the five author-type categories.


I found certain types of visualization categories were dominated by certain types of authors. Media companies monopolized the Breaking News, Politics and Global, and Maps, Places and Spaces categories, but had almost no submissions in the Unusual and Visualization and Information Design categories.

Of the ten projects that won gold awards, eight were submitted by media companies.

All projects that included a collaboration—with people or organizations that also submitted other shortlisted work—won an award (these are rings linked by lines in the chart).

Nearly all of the special awards, like Outstanding Individual, or Best-non-English-language, were given to projects that didn’t place with gold, silver or bronze. The two exceptions are National Geographic’s Simulated Dendrochronology of U.S. Immigration 1790–2016 which took gold, as well as Most Beautiful, and Reuters for Outstanding Outfit, which refers to the full body of work they submitted, including projects that received gold and bronze awards.

Congrats to all those whose work made it into Kantar’s 2018 award ceremony—your work is so inspiring! And cheers to all those who are making great work in this data viz community. It’s exciting to see this industry evolve, change, and progress. Can’t wait to see what gets made in 2019.