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5 years ago to this day, the very first post [web.archive.org] appeared on infosthetics.com. It was a short description of how the name of this blog came to be. This was then followed by an entry detailing some sort of funky Bluetooth Christmas tree, but quickly turned into more relevant posts highlighting still timeless visualization pieces like Ecotonoha, Ten by Ten and the still impressive Degree Confluence Project. Much has happened since then. Or to be more precise, about 1950 published entries, almost each linking to a unique project, which in turn generated about 4309 (hopefully non-spam) comments.

What started out as a simple, small, personal project motivated out of pure frustration ("Why can I not find a webpage with beautifully designed visualizations?") seemed to have sparked the interest of more than 37,000 daily feed subscribers today. It would actually be nice to track down the first subscribers, if I would only know how. While back then infosthetics was the 'only' weblog focusing on the topic of data visualization, there now exist a wide range of specialized viz- and infographic blogs, and any self-respecting popular design blog now features some sort 'infographic best-of' list. The fact at least 4 beautiful books have been published around the theme of aesthetic data visualization makes it all the better. Hopefully, some day, this all might culminate into a sparkling, creative and self-directed community, as I feel many of the interesting visualization works are still shown, discussed and appreciated in disparate fields without much cross-disciplinary discourse.

The reason why this site is still up and running is truly because of your continuing interest, for which I wish to thank you deeply, my faithful reader. Although I often need to juggle the blog between my professional and family life, it does actually help this blog is exactly what I "want" it to be (well, in terms of content that is, as I try to ignore the many website bugs and missing features...). Therefore, I feel quite amazed each single day that other people find the things I personally feel very passioned about worthwhile to read. I also want to thank the site's sponsors (i.e. FusionCharts, Loop11, Morae and InstantAtlas), most of which have featured here for many, many months, and those readers who have ordered stuff through clicking the commercial links or the information aesthetics shop, for making this endeavor somehow financially viable.

As a typical "link"-blog, I have no way to experience the true "effect" of my own posts. I can only imagine how a visualization I did post suddenly gets thousands of hits, sometimes manages to appear on Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon, or gets a press request, simply through the mentioning on this blog. If I occasionally hear about this, it makes me very glad.

Sometimes, blogs like Engadget make me jealous, in how they are provided with important scoops, products to review, or relevant press releases well ahead of time. While I do get many reader suggestions, of which most are very useful, I still need to conduct an almost daily personal hunt for that "perfect" post that will eclipse all others. For instance, the fact I had to discover the somehow quite relevant book "Data Flow" through pure coincidence well after it was released, still makes me wonder, sometimes. I also do often question how I could increase the engagement and commenting on this blog.

For those who are still reading this self-indulgent post, there might be a reward. To celebrate this occasion, I will be giving three books away: The Visual Miscellaneum, We Feel Fine and Data Flow. To participate, simply add a comment below, describing why your read information aesthetics, or how it has changed some aspect of your life, or how it could become a better blog. On Monday 14th December, I will choose the 3 most original comments and let the winners choose what book they want.

Good luck!

42 COMMENTS

I just did a quick search in my email archive and I can say that I have been following you since around October 2005, although I started subscribing to the feed only later. Thank you for a great resource and happy birthday. Know that your work is making a difference, even though I rarely put in a comment, if ever.

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 2:46 PM
Jean-Michel Decombe

I'm a software engineer with a video game company. I have designed a dashboard which provided key metrics of the game, such as CPU performance, memory, disc space, etc. Nothing novel here, but thanks to infostethics I was able to educate myself in the principles of data visualization. This resulted in a clean and clear interface, which my fellow engineers and managers find extremely useful to comprehend "the state of the game" at a glance.

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 3:13 PM
luc

Happy birthday!

I'm somewhat of a new comer and must admit that I get quite happy when I see one of your posts show up in my feed reading.

The posts serve as a constant reminder to strip out the excess in design and focus on what is important. I'm about to launch a product that aims to serve overworked small business owners who need to see the forest for the trees.

No need to consider me for the running, just accept my thanks!

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 4:10 PM

I started reading your site after a work-related Google search (looking for methods to present web analytics data, or somesuch) lead me here. But I stayed because of the wide variety of interesting and unexpected subject matter covered - from flightpaths to music videos - and because there's simply nowhere else that covers the topic as well.

Happy birthday and I look forward to reading much more!

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 4:54 PM

Andrew, congrats on five years!!! Thanks for sticking it out as I'm sure it's very time consuming. I hope Infosthetics is around for many years to come.

I don't recall how I stumbled across Infosthetics, but I've been visiting the site for a long time. It's indespensible. The site keeps me on top of all forms of visual communication.

Thanks for doing so much.

(I have all of those books, so no need to consider me for the giveaway.)

Also, I don't know how to get people to engage more via comments, but I wish they would. Everyone always has interesting things to say when they do post...it's frustrating that more don't comment.

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 5:24 PM

Congrats!

And thanks for the site :)

i.

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 6:06 PM

I am a biology student at the university level in Israel. I think the scientific method is the best way of figuring out things about the world. I also think that human beings, by design, need things to be explained to them in specific ways, like visualization, and that they tend to remember unique, beautiful experiences, like a strong, well-designed picture.

Beautiful visualizations of data connect those two dots. They explain the world around us in a way we humans can understand, and they're expressed so powerfully, we're not likely to forget them. They are an island of reason and beauty in an ocean of irrationality and ugliness.

I hope I can one day express new ideas with good visualizations. In the meantime I'm learning how, by following information aesthetics.

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 7:47 PM
Aviv

Congrats Andrew. I love your blog.

Good on you mate!

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 11:22 PM

As an engineer I've always tried to find a balance in the parallels between art and science. I love information aestetics because you always provide food for "whole-mind thoughts", both left-brained data analysis and a beautiful right-brain creative story! All posts help to make sense those huge streams of information that is out there those days!
Boring raw data can be much more than a visual representation, they can be self-expressive, playful and emotive!

Happy Birthday and thank you for providing a different way to look at and think about data!

Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 11:26 PM

Happy birthday! Five years of continuous passion and dedication is quite impressive. I am currently a masters student at UNC-Chapel Hill studying interactive data visualization and HCI in the Information Science program. Thanks for the endless inspiration you provide, which allows me to baby-step into this gigantic world of information design! Happy holidays :)

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 2:01 AM

Congratulations, Andrew!! A big piece of our "success" is yours and from infosthetics'.
Best,
Bestiario Team

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 3:36 AM

I like doing some work about data visualization.I just search for jun and find this site ,It's really really exciting for me ,It broadens my horizons.I can learn a lot of useful things from this site.
appreciate your work

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 3:42 AM

Congratulations on 5 great years! Looking forward to five great more!

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 3:51 AM

I have to admit that I came to this site by pure coincidence some months ago. But the beauty of the infographics struck me at once and so this blog found its way into my newsreader.

In some way, Infosthetics.com changed my view on information. Before discovering this awe-inspiring visualizations, I always though of data as something needed, but boring. The word "database" created a picture of a telephone book in my head and when someone told me about some statistics I stopped listening.

But the visualizations showing up in this blog are the most convincing argument for the beauty of information itself: And data is the central factor in our information age.

So on that note let me thank you for your great work and the effort you put into this wonderful blog. May it continue for eternity :-)

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 4:28 AM

I was a Krack Head living rough on the streets, mugging little old ladies for their welfare checks until i discovered infosthetics.com!! now i am a normal well adjusted tax paying member of society. THANK YOU INFOSTHETICS YOU SAVED ME!!!

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 5:40 AM

Before your Blog there wasn't aesthetic value on data representation but only artworks that used data. You surely helped to build a new genre: thank you!

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 5:46 AM

Congratulations!

Happy birthday from Turkey

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 7:05 AM
Ali C.

I stumbled across your blog in 2005 while doing research for my degree in product design. Once I could remember how to spell it, infosthetics became *the* blog I recommended to anyone interested in visualisations. Keep up the good work!

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 7:26 AM
Vicky

Happy Birthday Infosthetics.

Your blog was one of the initial inspirations in wanting to work in Data Visualisation.

I can say it has changed my life this year having started FLs and your advice and counsel has been much appreciated as has your coverage of our work.

Congratulations and 5 years and best of luck in what is going to be probably the most exciting year next year!!

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 7:36 AM

I can't remember how I found information aesthetics, but I'm glad I did. I am new to data visualisation, learning all the time, and IA gives me wonderful ideas. Thanks for the blog and the next 5 years.

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 9:11 AM

Between all the feeds in my feedreader, there are only a few I always click through on, even without reading the subject. Infosthetics is one of those feeds: I can't remember a single post of which I thought it wasn't really worth the time reading.
I definitively wasn't one of the first subscribers or readers: 5 years ago I didn't know what a blog was, didn't know about feeds and even didn't know a single line of html or javascript. Since than I took on blogging, got interested in Google Earth as a visualization platform and learned a lot about vis in general, a large part through this blog. The 'About 1000 posts ago' feature is perfect for relatively new readers.
Congratulations for, in my opinion, one of the most interesting blogs on the net.

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 10:22 AM

I read your blog because I'm on my own personal journey, just like you began 5 years ago, hoping to merge the business and art worlds - information aesthetics being one aspect of that.

How can you improve the blog? Well, from day one, I've loved the simple layout... it's not the interface. The content is always great, and we have no issues there. The social involvement, that's where things could get fired up. You have a 37,000 person fan-base which wants to connect. How can a discussion or co-development occur? How can you groupsource tasks, designs, and definition our this fascinating work on the site?

Then again... what are those 37,000 people looking for... to consume, or to create? Understanding and focusing on that will continue to help you grow for the next 5 years. Best of luck!

-Adam

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 11:58 AM

Happy 5th Birthday to IA and Andrew!

I've been following for about 3 years now. Infosthetics has inspired me to create many visuals in my professional life, and eventually to start my own infographics blog. Always remember that unlike many other forms of mainstream media, all of your followers (100%) are here because they want to be. We all keep coming back because you find and share visual treats that we all love.

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 2:17 PM

long time reader. first time commenter.... Infosthetics is one of my top three visited sites and has been for many years. keep up the great work. don't let Engadget's inside pr scoops get you down. Infosthetics rocks. keep up the great work. ...and best wishes for the future.

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 2:34 PM

My favorite was the little bar charts that show the blog's stats. bring them back to improve the site :)

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 9:41 PM
Tim

Hey mate, congratulations and Happy 5th Birthday! Your blog has been a big inspiration ever since. Keep up the excellent work.

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 11:23 PM

Congratulations 5 great years! Great posts!

Mon 14 Dec 2009 at 2:07 AM

Congratulations on five years of consistently awesome posts!

Mon 14 Dec 2009 at 7:07 AM

I started following Information Aesthetics about two years ago, shortly after I started my own software company. I'm constantly looking for ideas to help improve the presentation of data in the user interface. Information Aesthetics is source for my daily dose of design inspiration.

Keep up the great work. Here's to another five years!

Mon 14 Dec 2009 at 10:48 AM

Hello and congratulations on the five year anniversary of Infosthetics!

As a design student who wants to focus on interactive data visualization I feel so lucky to have access to blogs such as yours that are constantly introducing me to new and inspiring ways to visualize data. Keep up the good work and thanks for serving as a guiding light for those of us just entering the field.

Mon 14 Dec 2009 at 1:21 PM

Congrats!!

Mon 14 Dec 2009 at 10:00 PM
Jan Willem Tulp

Time to go to kindergarten! Have fun making representational artwork with finger paint, glue and macaroni.

Mon 14 Dec 2009 at 11:13 PM
Mike

Congratulations! Your work kept me as a loyal viewer, and connected to a very interesting crowd. Information Aesthetics is a great place to go when tired of personal opinions and tendentious commentary. I hope you will keep feeding our curiosity and aesthetic needs for a long time to come.

Tue 15 Dec 2009 at 1:51 AM
Maria Barbosa

cogratulation and * * *happy birthday * * * from germany.

as graphic-designer near frankfurt i love your newsletters - and hope to get many more!


Tue 15 Dec 2009 at 2:44 AM

Happy Birthday Infosthetics and congratulations Andrew! Infosthetics has long been a reference to our growing community of Visualization enthusiasts and a key spearhead for the field's expansion. Hope it continues for many years to come. Congrats!

Tue 15 Dec 2009 at 3:31 AM

The most powerful insights are those derived from an economy of expression. Galileo is supposed to have famously muttered "E pur si muove" (and still it moves)after recanting his heliocentric theory at his inquisition. It was literally an earth shaking concept that took but four words. "Let them eat cake" Marie-Antoinette, the Queen consort of Louis XVI is supposed to have exclaimed when she heard the poor have little to eat, setting off the French Revolution. Your ability to take a whole lot of words and data and express insights in pithy visuals with a mighty punch is an inspiration. Here is wishing you too lead a revolution Infosthetics! Happy Birthday!

Tue 15 Dec 2009 at 12:33 PM
Vasant Kumar

The 3 winners have been chosen. Jean-Michel, Anna and Christian should expect an email soon.

Wed 16 Dec 2009 at 1:12 PM

Andrew, congratulations or such a great result!

All the infoviz community MUST say "thank you" for all the efforts provided till now on the magic of discovering the aesthetics of information, behind data.

Thanks,
d.

Wed 16 Dec 2009 at 8:49 PM

happy belated birthday! can't remember for how long i've been checking this blog, but just want to thank you for continuing to curate it. 5 years is a very long time in the web world and i hope there will be many more.

thanks again!

Mon 21 Dec 2009 at 6:24 PM
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Thu 21 Jan 2010 at 4:48 PM

From low-cost business promotion techniques through web site promotion, ... Want to attract new business but have a small marketing budget or none at all?

Thu 21 Jan 2010 at 4:49 PM

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Thu 21 Jan 2010 at 4:50 PM
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