Our Top Infographics of 2017
It’s that time of year again, and 2017 is almost in the rearview mirror.
With another year biting the dust, we are excited to present a curated list of our favorite infographics, charts, and data visualizations that we posted over the course of 2017.
If you’re new to Visual Capitalist, this annual countdown is one of the best ways to get acquainted with what we do. It tallies the year’s most powerful visuals that explain the world of business and investing. If you like what you see below, don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list or connect via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to get our free content daily.
It’s also worth mentioning that many of these below graphics will be included in our upcoming book, which you can still pre-order today.
Below are the top infographics of 2017. But first, a few quick notes:
- Images below are small preview images for each large infographic and article
- To view any post in full, click the image or link in the text. All links open in a new tab.
- At the end, we’ll link to some honorable mentions, as well as the year-end lists for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Enjoy the countdown, and we wish you the best in the new year!
– The Visual Capitalist Team
17. The Future of Battery Technology
The final installment in our five-part Battery Series, this infographic covers what is coming down the battery technology pipeline in the future. It looks at the near-term advancements that will be made with lithium-ion batteries, as well as more unproven, distant technologies like Li-S, Li-air, and Na-ion batteries.
16. The 100 Websites That Rule the Internet
Ever wonder who owns the 100 most popular websites in the world? This massive infographic links it all together, and allows you to see the powerhouses that rule the internet.
15. The Richest People in History (Part 1)
This infographic shows the world’s richest people, with a focus on the pre-modern era that occurred before the Industrial Revolution. In it, you’ll find details on the fortunes of famous names like Augustus Caesar, Mansa Musa, King Solomon, Genghis Khan, and the Medici family.
14. How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions
Do you know how tech giants like Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon make their money? This chart breaks down the revenue streams for each company in an intuitive and simple manner.
13. These 35 Chinese Cities Have Economies as Big as Countries
It’s often difficult to comprehend the size and scale of the economic boom in China.
That’s why it’s a topic we approach quite often with our visualizations – and we felt this one really hit the mark. Using a mind-boggling map, we compare each of China’s 35 biggest cities with the economies of entire countries. How many of these massive Chinese cities do you think you can name?
12. Bitcoin’s Journey to $10,000
It was a landmark year for cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin’s ultra-quick journey from under $1,000 to $10,000 in just 11 months was the centerpiece of the excitement. This nifty infographic documents the ascent, as well as the major events that happened over the course of the year in the space.
11. Visualizing the Massive $15.7 Trillion Impact of AI
Artificial intelligence is going to impact every facet of our lives, and this infographic summarizes the impact and potential breadth of possibilities that AI will bring once it is ubiquitous.
10. Donald Trump’s $20 Trillion Problem
The year started with the controversial inauguration of Donald Trump – and this video, which was released around that time, sums up a major issue he faces during his presidency. How he approaches the country’s record-high $20 trillion national debt will be an important factor in whether he is able to make America “great again”.
9. Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Giant Infographic
Has it been your lifelong dream to see every one of the existing 188 cognitive biases mapped out and organized in a useful codex? If so, then today is your lucky day.
8. Measuring Global Competitiveness
What makes an economy competitive at the global level, and why?
This useful animation shows how countries compare using the Global Competitiveness Index – and then later in the post, the factors influencing competitiveness are explained and compared.
7. The Crypto Universe
Back in September 2017, when a bitcoin was only worth $4,000, we made this chart to make sense of the cryptocurrency universe. It compares the differences between Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, and Ethereum Classic – and it shows key metrics around volume, market capitalization, and transactions.
It’s all fairly out of date now, but that’s how the crypto space rolls.
6. $63 Trillion of World Debt
There is now a total of $63 trillion in global sovereign debt, and this colorful chart breaks it down by country and debt-to-GDP ratio. See the large version in all its glory here.
5. The Early Years of Warren Buffett
This marvelous infographic tells the story of Warren Buffet’s early years, including his various childhood business pursuits, his first stock purchase, and other events that have helped shape the Oracle of Omaha’s career. This is the start of our five-part Warren Buffett series, which will continue through 2018.
4. The World’s Top Brands
What are the world’s most valuable brands? This big chart counts down the companies with the most brand value in 2017, and also gives historical perspective (shown above) on the most valuable brands over time.
3. The Origin Story of Tesla
Today, we know Tesla as an important leader in the green revolution, developing everything from electric semi-trucks to Powerwalls. However, Tesla’s success wasn’t always a given – and this beautiful infographic tells the story of Tesla’s early vision, the company’s strategy to shed the stigma around EVs, the cost overruns in developing the Roadster, and the company’s narrow escape from the brink of bankruptcy.
It was the first piece of our three-part Rise of Tesla Series – the rest will be released in early 2018.
2. Walmart Nation
This memorable chart shows that Walmart has the most employees in a whopping 22 states. With nearly one million views and 75,000 social media shares, this was our most-shared post of the year.
1. All of the World’s Money and Markets
A remake of our 2015 graphic that “put us on the map”, this is the latest update to All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization.
Including stats from both versions of the graphic, this visualization has now been seen by more than 1.5 million people on our site alone.
The Jeff Bezos Empire in One Chart
Made after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, showing all the companies that Bezos has invested in or bought.
The Numbers Behind the World’s Closest Trade Relationship
Statistics behind USA-Canada trade
Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power
This crazy chart made in 1931 isn’t ours, but it’s super interesting.
How Billionaire Investors Hedge Against Geopolitical Black Swans
Why geopolitical risk is higher, and what billionaires are doing to protect their wealth
The $74 Trillion Economy in One Chart
The global economy visualized
And lastly, don’t forget to check out our roundups from previous years!
The Top 16 Infographics of 2016
The Top 15 Infographics of 2015
The Top 14 Infographics of 2014
And if you haven’t subscribed to our free mailing list or social feeds, make sure you do so below.
Have a great 2018!
Our Top 22 Visualizations of 2022
In this ninth edition of our yearly round-up, we highlight visualizations that broke new ground in design and data-driven reporting.
The world was a complex and volatile place in 2022.
In our signature style—combining art, data, and storytelling—we helped millions of people make sense of unfolding events, from geopolitical flare-ups to stock market turmoil. Our growing team ranked, mapped, and visualized hundreds of new infographics on a multitude of topics.
This year we continued to refine classic concepts such as All the World’s Money, Global Happiness, World’s Richest People, and Prediction Consensus.
See what hundreds of experts are predicting for 2023 with our Global Forecast Series.
In this ninth edition of our yearly round-up, we’ve highlighted a small selection of our work, as well as pieces made by talented members of our Creator Program. The following visualizations were selected because they reached millions of people, sparked lively conversations, or pushed boundaries in design and data-driven reporting.
Now, let’s dive in to the top 22 visualizations of 2022.
Editor’s note: Click on any preview below to see the full-sized version of a visualization.
The $100 Trillion Global Economy in One Chart
IMF projections from earlier this year suggested that we would hit a new milestone for global economic output: $104 trillion. This voronoi diagram carves up the global economy by country.
One more insight from this graphic. While China’s GDP growth has slowed in recent years, projections still indicate that the country will overtake the U.S. by 2030, dethroning the world’s economic leader.
#21 CREATOR PROGRAM
Visualizing Earth’s Seasons
The Earth’s changing seasons radically affect the world in different ways. Some regions experience four distinct seasons, while others experience only two or as many as six.
Many people think the seasons are dictated by Earth’s proximity to the Sun, but this isn’t the case. It’s the Earth’s tilt, not its closeness to the Sun, that influences our seasons and causes massive changes in weather and ecology.
This animated map by Eleanor Lutz visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how the temperature changes impact ice levels in the Arctic, as well as the growth and shifting of vegetation. It also highlights the cloud cover and sunlight each hemisphere receives throughout the year, with each frame in the animation representing a month of time.
Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine
As columns of Russian tanks began snaking their way toward Kyiv in early 2022, the world’s eyes became fixated on Ukraine. While outlets like FT and NYT provided real-time invasion updates, we focused on geography, infrastructure, and points of interest using our Map Explainer format.
Visualizing the World’s Largest Oil Producers
The conflict in Ukraine had broader implications on the global economy, and the world hit its first energy crisis of the 21st century. This infographic looks at where oil is actually produced around the world.
The OPEC countries are the largest oil producers collectively, with Saudi Arabia alone making up one-third of OPEC production.
10 Years of Tinder
With its user-friendly interface and popular features like “swipe right” to indicate interest, Tinder has transformed the way people meet and date. When the dating app reached its 10th birthday this year, we leaned into a wacky design that reflects the twists and turns the company has taken on its journey from hackathon project to billion dollar business.
The Salary You Need to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Cities
Where one lives has big implications on how realistic home ownership may seem. This graphic offers a broad view of affordability, mapping out the annual salary needed for home ownership in 50 different U.S. cities.
San Jose came out on top as the most expensive city, while Oklahoma City and Cleveland ranked as some of the most affordable.
The Relationship Between Wealth and Happiness, by Country
Throughout history, the pursuit of happiness has been a preoccupation of humankind. Of course, we humans are not just content with measuring our own happiness, but also our happiness in relation to the people around us—and even other people around the world.
We crunched the numbers and visualized the data to see if money really does buy happiness.
Animation: The World’s Biggest Wind Turbines
Over the past 20 years, wind turbines have grown in size, and are now generating much more energy per unit. Today, the tallest turbines can reach over 200 meters (650 ft) in height and cost more than $12 million to manufacture and install.
This animated infographic, produced by our Elements team, shows them side-by-side with iconic landmarks to help show the scale of modern wind energy infrastructure.
33 Problems With Media in One Chart
One of the hallmarks of democratic society is a healthy, free-flowing media ecosystem. Unfortunately, the modern news media ecosystem is under fire from a number of angles, from a shrinking pool of ad revenue to declining trust from readers.
Many of the problems identified in the infographic are easy to understand once they’re identified. However, in some cases, there is an interplay between these issues that is worth digging into. One thing is for certain, the topic generated a lively discussion on how to fix the problems that plague mainstream media.
#13 CREATOR PROGRAM
Visualizing S&P 500 Performance in 2022, by Sector
Tracking indices over the course of a year reveals a lot about market trends and sentiment. The S&P 500’s performance over the course of 2022 is a great example.
Throughout the year, inflation rates have remained high and interest rates have likewise been climbing around the world. Accompanied by the looming threat of a recession, some sectors have been hit harder than others.
This animation from Jan Varsava shows U.S. dividend-adjusted stock performance for each company in the S&P 500 index in 2022, from the start of the year through the end of September.
Animated Map: Where to Find Water on Mars
The European Space Agency has long been looking for water on Mars, and this year it looks like they’ve found it…in rocks!
Special rocks called hydrous minerals are believed to contain remnants of a large but now lost Martian ocean. The ESA released new data confirming the geographical locations of these rocks, suggesting places where water may still be present deep beneath the red planet’s surface.
All the World’s Military Personnel
With conflicts in Ukraine, Iran, and other places making war and violence unfortunately prevalent in 2022, we assessed the military capabilities of countries worldwide.
This visual breaks down all the world’s active duty and reserve soldiers with each soldier icon representing 10,000 soldiers. Although China has the largest active military, Vietnam took the top spot as the country with the biggest military worldwide when including reserves and paramilitary numbers into the mix.
#10 CREATOR PROGRAM
The Yuxi Circle: The World’s Most Densely Populated Area
If you wanted to capture over 55% of the global population inside a circle with a 4,000 km (2,500 mi) radius, which city would you place at its epicenter?
Mapmaker Alasdair Rae went digging through population data, tracing circles around 1,500 cities worldwide to find out how many people lived within a 4,000 km radius. Out of all possible options, he discovered that the The Yuxi Circle, based on a city in the Yunnan province of China, was the world’s most densely populated area.
A Lifetime’s Consumption of Fossil Fuels, Visualized
In this graphic, we visualized exactly how many fossil fuels are used in an average American’s 80-year lifetime, putting the coal, gas, and petroleum into scaled cubes and comparing them to the size of a human being.
The end result? It turns out that we use a lot of fossil fuels as individuals—over 119 tonnes of coal, 236 tonnes of petroleum products, and 2,007 cubic meters of compressed natural gas.
Every Song With Over 1 Billion Spotify Streams
Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming service with over 450 million users across 183 markets. With that kind of scale, songs can rack up some serious streaming numbers.
In this ambitious data visualization, we looked at every song with more than one billion streams on the platform, and served the data up by decade and artist.
A Decade of Elon Musk’s Tweets, Visualized
Even before Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, the entrepreneur was already a power user of the platform, using it to share news about his companies, chat with users about technology, and, of course, post dank memes.
To better understand Musk’s Twitter usage over the years, we decided to scrape his entire tweet history and visualize the results. The result is a unique radial timeline design that highlights key topics as well as the overall volume of tweets. Our article also features the highlights (and lowlights) of Musk’s growing body of microblogging work.
#6 CREATOR PROGRAM
Nature Timespiral: The Evolution of Earth from the Big Bang
Not much is known about what came before the Big Bang, but we do know that it launched a sequence of events that gave rise to the universal laws of physics and the chemical elements that make up matter.
How the Earth came about, and life subsequently followed, is a wondrous story of time and change. Over the course of about 14 billion years, history has seen the creation of the universe, the expansion of the cosmos, and the spawning of galaxies, stars, planets, and eventually, life.
In this amazingly detailed visualization called the Nature Timespiral, Pablo Carlos Buddassi illustrates this journey, depicting the various eras that the Earth has gone through since the inception of the universe itself.
All the Metals We Mined in 2021: Visualized
“If you can’t grow it, you have to mine it” is a famous saying that encapsulates the importance of minerals and metals in the modern world. The sheer volume of raw materials and metals that factor into our everyday life often goes overlooked.
This visualization takes these unsung heroes and puts them center stage. Of the 2.8 billion tonnes of metals mined in 2021, iron ore, which is used to make steel, made up 93%. Over on the other end, rare metals like rhenium are tiny by comparison.
#4 CREATOR PROGRAM
Countries Grouped by Their Largest Trading Partner (1960-2020)
Which countries are the central nodes of the global trade network? The answer to this question has changed over time, with China becoming the latest nation to dominate global trade networks.
This series of “netgraphs”, by Anders Sundell, connects countries to their primary trading partner, using data that includes both imports and exports. It’s no secret that the U.S. has seen its trade dominance slip in recent decades, but seeing it visualized in this unique way really drives the point home.
The Top 10 Largest Nuclear Explosions, Visualized
Threats of a nuclear war outbreak have been populating headlines this year ever since the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. We examined the top 10 largest nuclear explosions in history, charting their explosive yields, their height, and the size of their destructive radii into one graphic.
Though humans haven’t seen devastation from the likes of nuclear weaponry since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the explosives that came after leave much to the imagination in the face of developing world events.
FTX’s Leaked Balance Sheet
The high-profile collapse of crypto exchange FTX will stand as one of the biggest—and most lurid—financial stories of the year.
When FTX’s leaked balance sheet was published by the Financial Times, the large numbers it contained were tough to truly appreciate. We saw an opportunity to visualize the data to better understand the size of the company’s hole, and the breakdown between liquid and illiquid assets.
Graphic design aside, the results were not pretty.
The World’s Population at 8 Billion
In mid-November of this year, the eight billionth human being entered the world, ushering in a new milestone for humanity. In this series of voronoi diagrams, we look at the current distribution of humanity, by country and by region.
In just 48 years, the world population has doubled in size, jumping from four to eight billion. Our team also dug deep into this topic in a full report and webinar for VC+ members.
According to projections, 2023 will bring another major population milestone. The world will soon have a new largest country, as India’s population will surpass China’s.
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