Picturing the Past 10 Years (Phillip Niemeyer at the New York Times)

picturing the past 10 years

What It Shows

This America-focused infographic recaps the decade with a table in which the columns are years and the rows are themes, including “couples”, “noun”, “business”, and much more. It’s a summary of the major people and events of the last ten years in a simple but information filled layout.

Why It’s Good

This is the kind of infographic that could incite a lot of dispute, but Niemeyer actually does quite a good job. Either he’s remarkably culturally astute, or did his homework. In any case, the table does a great job of covering quite a lot in a relatively small amount of space, with cute humourous elements in the pictures. While the events are all, for the most part, familiar, it’s nice to see them sequenced out and have a sense of their order. The table allows a reader/viewer (what would the word be, really, for an infographic like this?) to check out a given year on its own and get into the frame of mind and see it as a whole, or to see how a particular theme has progressed across the last decade. Very good choice of format, giving a lot of options for interpretation and potential for debate.

What It’s Missing

The American Dialect Society picked “tweet” as the verb of 2009, and I have to agree that it’s a better choice than “crowdsource”. (“Google”, the 2005 selection in this chart, was the ADS word of the decade)
Also, the infographic is extremely American-centric, but that’s a perfectly legitimate intent. It would probably be quite difficult to do a global one with one year+theme square.

For the original New York Times source, click here.

  • CookingUtensil

    I can’t quite figure out why the yen is pictured with the caption, “China” in 2006 business.