Conflict: Student works from our course in Aalto 2014

Apologies for the long radio silence, it has been busy times! Just before Christmas, we finished another round of our long-running course Information Design  at Aalto University. Now the assignment for the main project was the following:

“Choose a subject that fits under the topic ‘conflict’. Study your subject and find a way to explain and represent it visually.”

The project started in the end of September and working continued throughout the course. Every student was to find their own way of approaching the topic and look for relevant data sets to work with. The challenge was to find a way of representing data relating to the chosen subject that would show both qualitative and quantitative (numerical) information. To allow for a variety of subjects the final presentation format was deliberately left rather open.

(click images to enlarge)



Lisa Staudinger made this very detailed poster on how the news coverage of the ebola epidemic in a number of online newspapers corresponded to the number of cases and deaths. Key events that appear to drive media interest are marked on the graphs. At the bottom is a small multiples graphic comparing Google trends to media coverage. Lisa’s portfolio is at



(Click the image to launch the interactive visualization)
Mustafa Saifee did an impressive job of visualizing global arms trade data with an interactive Sankey diagram created using the Javascript libraries Paper.js and D3. It is striking to note how few countries import big amounts of arms from both Russia and the United States, India being the major exception. Mustafa’s portfolio:



Information Design Marija Erjavec_expanded

Marija Erjavec used Finnish food waste statistics to create a decision tree poster, that allows the reader to determine her or his average food waste and the amount of food wasted in different categories. Surprisingly, the amount of food waste appear to depend on if the buyer is male or female. Marija’s portfolio:




Akbar Khatir’s poster is a timeline of the United Nations. It shows how the UN has expanded and the dynamics of the Security Council voting. One can amongst other things see the ebb and tide of council vetoes during the Cold War and a big increase in the total number of resolutions with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On the left the Secretary Generals are listed. Akbar’s portfolio:, contact via e-mail: akbar.khatir(at)



Information design_maja tisel

Maja Tisel did a more artistic project on the conflict between daylight and night – evident in the long, dark winters in Finland. In addition to the poster, she made an interactive graphic in Paper.js based on the same data. It can be viewed here.