This lecture extends upon the previous lecture and discusses historical examples. It also answers the question of the functionality of visualisation. Leon advocates that it is not just for aesthetic purposes but also because it allows us to gain an understanding and an insight into complex issues.

Leon utilises a book, ‘An introduction to information graphics and visualisation’ by Alberto Cairo as an example of the topic. Leon discusses the World’s population and discusses the fertility rate of women in each country whilst outlining statistics and the debatable explanations behind them. For example:

  • Rising fertility in poor regions is the reason why the earth has to support 7 billion people now with a forecast of 9 billion in two decades from now.
  • If the replacement rate in each country is below 2.1, the population will shrink overtime. If it is much higher than 2.1, there will be a much younger population further than the road, potentially causing issues, such as being more vulnerable to crime.

The author contradicts both reasons by analysing two trends. In wealthier countries, fertility averages are low however, it is beginning to rise. Poorer countries are steadily declining in fertility. In 1950, the average fertility per woman was six. As of 2010, it is below 2. The author suggests, fertility trends will potentially drop to 2.1 in the upcoming decades and the world population will stabilise and approximately 9 billion.

Visualising data and numbers allows the observer to save time and energy. The graph makes it easier to see the trends.

Leon also compares the fertility rates between Spain and Sweden and also displays a graph that compares international trends.

In this case, the graph highlighted some wealthier countries and some poorer countries and lists the reasons for the steady decline in fertility rates. For example:

  • An increase in per average capita income
  • Better access to education
  • Shrinking of infant mortality figures
  • Better family planning

In conclusion, readers should be given enough information to be able to follow an argument or use their own intelligence to come to their own interpretation and extract their own meaning.

As designers, Leon advocates that it is essential we honour intelligence and the curiosity of the data while developing it to be engaging and visually appealing.


The graphs that were displayed in the lecture were easy to follow as they were colour coded and allowed for the observer to establish an informative conclusion. I have been told in the past that the population of earth has exponentially increased and will keep rising. I like that Cairo shows evidence that this may not be the case and that earth’s population will stabilise at 9 billion in the next two decades. He shows graphs and evidence that clearly supports his opinion, as they are labelled and are created from reliable sources.

After watching four lectures, I feel I have gained a further understanding of data visualisation and its significance. I will try to apply Leon’s advice and honour the intelligence of data in my visual projects, while using my design abilities to engage the audience and illustrate valuable information in an interpretative way.


The functional art 



Brazil’s demographic opportunity 

References in APA

Brazil’s demographic opportunity [Image] (2017). Retrieved September 19, 2017,  i.pinimg.com/736x/63/7b/22/637b22f882f9ec5f39d013e1101948c1–information-design-adobe-illustrator.jpg

The functional art [Image] (2017). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from image.slidesharecdn.com/civilhackingshort-130601124311-phpapp01/95/alberto-cairo-visualizing-data-5-principles-to-live-by-2-638.jpg?cb=1370090973