Look (what you made me do): I illustrated 10 of my professional sins

The #distractedBoyfriend meme was such a low hanging fruit. I wasn’t expecting the 3.5K likes. I can’t handle the fame.

So, I decided to really exhaust the meme by doing enough infographic-related variations that nobody in their right mind would want to be this silly again. I’m doing the industry a favor.

Also, it’s a therapeutic way to confess your sins.

Note: In the real world, it’s more likely that my wife looks at the good-looking girl while I’m daydreaming.


I always stress this on workshops: pen and paper are your best allies. Yes, sketching with code is great, you love it, I love it —seeing that dataset come to visual life quickly is thrilling. But letting the pen on your hand wander on a blank sheet first will open your mind, allow you to imagine, and define questions. Daydream a bit.

I don’t like it when it happens, but I can’t help it. The structure can easily win me over, regardless of the substance of the plot. And sometimes, only sometimes, when I work on projects, I obsess more over the narrative than the material itself.

Ugh! Why is the data not showing what I want it to show!? How bad is it if I squeeze it a little … Maybe it’ll be ok … Just this once … Damn you confirmation bias! (Or when we tweak, normalize, contextualize the data, then choose whatever measure fits us best.)

You can also interpret it the way a non-data-driven journalist would: don’t let the data ruin your story.

You know ... the whole Bigger is better’ (The full interactive version of this graphic requires a larger screen. Trust us: It will be worth it.) Granted that it was 2014 and only about a fifth of news readers got them usually on mobile.

I may end up using a more traditional format, but I want to undo the basics so I can go back to them. I remember how on this project, I really wanted to have the audio disjointed from the video, so you could stop, replay, linger on a looping video in slow motion while the audio explanation went on —thank goodness more sensible minds prevailed.

As those who suffered me at The Guardian can attest. And age is making it worse. (Me and my wife are on a 5-class YlGnBu scheme from ColorBrewer)

I was never a gamer. Maybe that’s why? I grew up looking at so many of my dad’s super clean, architectural schematics that I first try something else. Maybe that’s why I like the perfect blend of stuff like this.

Uh! Oh! Wait, I just had an idea … ‘How hard is it to [insert crazy idea]?’ Then my interlocutor’s face twitches. (Some may not care to admit it, but last minute ideas are sometimes what makes a project.)

Or more accurately …

Also, if you thought ‘Fancy dataviz’ was the stuff of nightmares …

Let me fix that for you.

You read the headline, right? Look what you made me do …