Here’s a frightening new book from Jonathan Barnbrook. It seems that his studio has jumped on the infographics bandwagon and produced a compendium of awful graphics like the one above.
I find this piece extremely dangerous, as it shows the strength of this language to influence and the power of ill-formed graphics to deceive. The book establishes its authority with the title “The Little Book of Shocking Global FACTS”, so while sources are not provided, these are facts so we shouldn’t worry.
The bigger problem is that basic tenets of information design aren’t followed. No numbers are provided for this map, but a little analysis using the key shows that these circles were drawn using diameter or radius as an input rather than area. And because the data is not included, it can’t be redrawn to illustrate the distortion created by this mistake.
Finally, the whole thing is printed, which gives it additional credibility*, and then makes it impossible for it to be fixed.
*Unlike JPEGS, printing costs money, so you tend to fact-check and proofread printed materials before releasing them.