How to visualise my ideas

Visualising my information was one of the key points in my process. I needed something simplistic that would convey the message in a powerful way. I looked at numerous examples of modern illustrated infographics and found hem to have a very similar theme. There was a lot of colour and vibrancy.

While many of these pieces were actually very appealing. I didn’t want to make something that simply copied their work. So I looked at the idea of using silhouettes.

One further reason for doing this was that I originally intended on making an animated piece.

Charles Burns

Charles Burns makes beautiful cutouts of people he meets with nothing more than paper and scissors. He calls himself the roving artist because he wanders around and creates his pieces in minutes wherever he finds himself.

I love the way he captures such a lot of a subjects personality with nothing more than a blank piece of paper. It is a testament to creative minimalism and harnesses the human phenomenon of pareidolia (our instinctive recognition of human forms) to be effective.

I wanted to create this effect with my work. As I had been focusing heavily on evolution. My obvious first choice was the The March of Progress, properly called The Road to Homo Sapiens. This must be the most famous representation of evolution currently.


The illustration was commissioned by Time-Life Books for the Early Man volume (1965) of the popular Life Nature Library. It prominently features the sequence of figures, drawn by natural history painter and muralist Rudolph Zallinger (1919–1995).

From all of my research. One thing I have found lacking in this illustration, is the influence of dogs. The evidence does suggest that without our interactions and subsequent coevolution with dogs, we would not be the force we are today.

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Here was my alternative. A simplified rendition of the original March of Progress with the role of dogs properly represented. Ad accurately as I could, based on the current knowledge of domestication of dogs, I have places a wolf like silhouette to show the transitional phase. And a Golden Retriever acting a docile pet to represent our current relationship with dogs.


Dogs and People – Research

Evoluionary Origins of Domestic Dogs

“Remove domestication from the human species, and there’s probably a couple of million of us on the planet, max. Instead, what do we have? Seven billion people, climate change, travel, innovation and everything. Domestication has influenced the entire earth. And dogs were the first. We’re not dissimilar to any other wild primate. We’re manipulating our environments, but not on a scale bigger than, say, a herd of African elephants. And then, we go into partnership with this group of wolves. They altered our relationship with the natural world.” – Archaeologist and geneticist Greger Larson

  • The origin of canine domestication is not well known. Various claims suggest it first happened in numerous areas of the world and that it began anywhere between in the past 30,000 years.
  • The archaeological record shows the first undisputed dog remains buried beside humans 14,700 years ago, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago.
  • Dogs appear to have been domesticated independently in various areas of the world and have then interbred with one another and wolves and this means their genetic lineage is a bit of a mish-mash.
  • The closest living relative of the dog is the extant grey wolf and there is no evidence of any other canine contributing to its genetic lineage.

  • 33,000-year-old fossil suggests dogs arose in multiple places, study says.
  • Dogs—the oldest domesticated animals—are common in the fossil record up to 14,000 years ago. But specimens from before about 26,500 years ago are very rare. This is likely due to the onset of the last glacial maximum, when the ice sheets are at their farthest extent during an ice age.

  • The United States is home to an estimated 70 to 80 million pet dogs, making up 37 to 47 percent of all American households.
  • Canis familiaris, the domestic dog, was the first species to be domesticated by humans from Eurasian gray wolves at least 15,000 years ago. What is largely unknown, however, is where. (Conflicting information on origins)

  • Researchers from the University of Chicago and several international institutions found that several groups of genes in humans and dogs—including those related to diet and digestion, neurological processes, and disease—have been evolving in parallel for thousands of years.
  • The dog was the first domesticated species and appeared more than 15,000 years before present (YBP). The dog was established across Eurasia before the end of the Late Pleistocene era, well before cultivation and the domestication of other animals around 10,000 YBP, indicating that dogs were domesticated by hunter-gatherers and not early agriculturalists. Studies support two population bottlenecks had occurred to the dog lineage, one due to the initial domestication and one due to the formation of dog breeds.

  • Europe has the oldest uncontested Palaeolithic remains and having been the centre of modern dog breed creation.
  • Most modern breeds share predominantly European ancestry.
  • The fact that dog and human populations rose together is evidence that their success is intrinsically linked.


Research – Dogs

Highest Dog Population by Country

  • 10. Romania (4.1 million)
  • 9. France (7.4 million)
  • 8. Argentina (9.2 million)
  • 7. India (10.2 million)
  • 6. Phillipines (11.6 million)
  • 5. Japan (12.0 million)
  • 4. Russia (15.0 million)
  • 3. China (27.4 million)
  • 2. Brazil (35.7 million)
  • 1. USA (75.8 million)

Extraordinary Dogs

  • Largest Litter




    The largest litter of puppies is 24, all of whom were born on 29 November 2004 to Tia, a Neopolitan mastiff, owned by Damian Ward (UK) and Anne Kellegher (Ireland) of Manea, Cambridgeshire, UK.

    They were born by Caesarian section, one was still born, three died in the first week. There were nine females, 15 males in total. Tia’s full name is Abellatino Arabella. The father is called Caesar.

  • Largest Dog Biscuit



    The largest dog biscuit weighed 279.87 kg (617 lb) and was made by Hampshire Pet Products (USA) in Joplin, Missouri, USA, on 8 July 2011. The biscuit was 1.16 m (3.8 ft) wide, 5.79 m (19 ft) long and 0.04 m (1.63 in) deep. It required a total of 10 bakers to bake it. The biscuit was baked to celebrate the company’s 10 year anniversary and when the attempt was over, it was broken into smaller pieces and distributed to dogs at the Humane Society in Joplin, MO.

  • Largest Dog ZEUS



    Measuring an incredible 111.8 cm (44 in) from foot to withers, Zeus is the same size as an average donkey.Standing on hind legs, he stretches to 7 ft 4 in and towers over his owner Denise Doorlag. The humongous hound weighs 70.3 kg (155 pounds or 11 stone) and eats around 12 cups of food a day (equivalent to one whole 30-lb bag of food!).

  • Smallest Dog (living)

Examples of dogs helping people

  • Swansea Jack (1930 – October 1937) was a famous Welsh dog that rescued 27 people from the docks and riverbanks of Swansea, Wales.
  • He was a Black Retriever

  • Frida the Labrador retriever made global headlines after the Mexican president praised her work following a deadly 7.1 magnitude quake.
  • Employed by the Mexican navy.
  • Frida belongs to SEMAR and has helped save 52 lives in various natural disasters at national and international levels.

  • Angel the 18 moth old Golden Retriever fought off a cougar about to attack an 11 year old boy.
  • Happened in Bar Boston, a small Canadian town some 150 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Happened in 2010.

  • Kelsey the Golden Retriever
  • A man who broke his neck outdoors in freezing conditions survived lying in snow for nearly 24 hours thanks to his dog, who kept him warm through the night and barked for help.
  • Temperatures of around -4C.
  • “I was screaming for help but my nearest neighbour is about a quarter mile away and it was 10.30 pm, but my Kelsey came,” said Bob.


Further Complicating Matters

As I have already outlined in my blog, I have decided to combine a website and animation as a means of showing my info graphic designs. What I have now come to the realisation of, is that I would like to add another element to this. It is perfectly easy to have, in my online maps, hyperlinks which would then show further information. My idea is to create a series of maps detailing various worldwide statistics as well as highlighting the locations and dates of certain important instances.

These would include:

  • First archaeological evidence of domesticated dogs
  • Locations of important dogs (largest, smallest, most expensive, rarest, fastest etc.)
  • Locations of news stories involving dogs (disaster response, protection, lifeguard, firefighting etc.)
  • Working breeds (hunting dogs, guard dogs, sled dogs)

Other examples may follow but these are simply off the top of my head. I may have a short time in which to do this, but now that I have inspiration I will be able to proceed quickly and efficiently. I work well under pressure.

One other advantage to this idea is that the maps could double as printed ephemera with very little extra work. I will show my research and progress in later blog posts.

Refinement of my Idea

Throughout this task I have been determined to create a website as the basis for my infographic, a linear scrolling sight which would give the information in a narrative format. What I quickly realised in researching this, was the level of coding required to do this and my lack of said skills. I haven’t been put off however.

What I have now decided to do is create a series of animations. These brief slides will contain facts and figures, combining visual and typographic media to create a visually pleasing, educational animated video.

My idea here, is to create the clips individually before slicing them together with various transition slides and then possibly recording a voice over. The clips will hopefully therefore, become a seamless video. They will also, however, have another purpose.

Having kept these clips distinct from one another, I can turn them into gifs or other handy small file formats and paste them directly into a website. Using a template company such as Wix or WordPress, I can create something akin to the site I originally had in mind while avoiding the coding problem. I do actually intend to learn coding as the skill will be invaluable to me in future instances like this. But the tie constraints mean I haven’t got a chance of learning the method and creating the sight in the allotted time.

Here is my animated logo, which will double as the intro to my video. It is brief and simplistic, but I wanted a quick and concise method of information conveyance. One thing I have found consistently in my favourite examples of infographics is that they all follow relatively simplistic graphic style, there are minimal colours used and they do not contain any unnecessary clutter. It is for this reason, my video will consist of silhouetted figures and use only the monochromatic colour scheme.

Here is my second slide. This was the logical starting place for me as it goes back to our shared origins. It simply shows the first confirmed archaeological sights of wolf domestication with the approximate date along the bottom of the screen.

I will refer to this simplified world map a number of times in my work as much of our relationship with dogs is best conveyed on a global scale. Number of dogs compared to human beings. working dogs vs pets, countries categorised by treatment for dogs etc.

My Thoughts 

In every project i have undertaken thus far, I have always been working somewhat on the fly, not knowing until very late in the game, what my final product will resemble. In this project in particular I have struggled to pin down my ideas and be clear on what I want to create. This work however, has allowed me to focus my mind and refine what I want to create very effectively. Animation is a horribly slow and intricate process even to produce something as basic as I have. But every slide I complete is one fewer to worry about

A Website about dogs

After a lot of consideration. I have decided that a very appropriate subject for me to focus on in my Info graphic project is dogs. I have always loved dogs and been fascinated by the way we we share our lives with them. I have a dog at home and it sometimes occurs to me how strange it is to have an animal living alongside us in the house who we consider a sort of person and member of the family. I also run a small business creating portraits of peoples dogs on commission.

Rather than simply looking at statistics about dogs I have decided what I would love to do is create a narrative exploring the history between humans and dogs. The origins of our shared living, the effects of humans and dogs on one another and the history of dogs as working animals. This would culminate in the modern role of dogs, largely as companions, exploring various breeds, variations in the perception of dogs across the world and possibly a few factoids about the record breaking dogs: most expensive, biggest, smallest, longest ears etc.

My idea now is to create my own animations and illustrations to go in a website I will design to show the work. I will update my blog as the work progresses.

Parallax Scrolling Website

One common theme among the websites I have been admiring and researching, is the fact that they are all ‘parallax scrolling’ websites. As the user scrolls down through the page, elements in the background move more slowly than those in the foreground giving the illusion of depth in a 2D space. This is the very first step for me if I want to create my own interactive info-graphic website.

I will be using numerous tutorial websites as well as videos from YouTube to learn more about this technique and the possibilities it provides. My first step will have to be evaluating whether this idea will be feasible in the time given. There are two weeks remaining in this project and if I need to learn to code and then build a website from scratch in that time I may be unable to finish.

One of the most beautiful examples of a parallax scrolling website I have found so far is the webpage for the video game ‘Firewatch’. It uses a simple colour scheme and a multi layered image to create very compelling and beautiful page that is a pleasure to mvoe through.

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I would love to be able to incorporate a similar effect into my own website. This page represents my best case scenario. I will update as I go regarding the progress i make in this endeavour.