Design History: Economic Trends

Ticker Tape

  • Stock Ticker
    • invented by Edward Calahan in 1860s
    • used Morse code, evolved from telegraph technology
    • makes “ticking” noise as it works
  • Edison’s Telegraph Printer
    • 1867
    • printed alphanumeric numbers, readable text
    • by 1880s, ~1000 stock tickers installed in offices of New York bankers
  • 1970s
    • stock price boards, then magnetic tape and computer terminals

  • other uses for ticker tape
    • sports scores from umpire, to announcer box, to man updating scoreboard manually
    • crop trading and selling

Bloomberg Terminal

  • 325,000 subscribers for 60 billion pieces of info from the market a day
    • accurate color scheme, concise and useful charts, clear labeling
    • less white space for more information
  • Precursors:
    • Quotron, 1960: electronic stock market prices vs. ticker tape, no transactional system or analysis
  • Blooberg revolutionized data analysis:
    • helpful shortcuts for keyboard when users were computer novices
    • chat feature that keeps no record of conversations
    • hired a separate research team to crunch the numbers and deliver analysis
    • speed of information updating shocked traders
  • Open source software are making data more accessible
    • newest challenger Symphony
    • main feature challengers don’t have: private chat in enclosed network

Pujo “Money Trust” Report

  • 1912 special Senate subcommittee headed by Head of House Banking and Currency Committee, Arsene P. Pujo
    • thought a small “money trust” was controlling nation’s finances
    • concluded groups of financial backers were abusing power
  • First major presentation of interlocking directorates controlling flow of money
    • precise relationship of size of banks (size of circle)
    • used a metaphor of an octopus or spider web


  • Bar Chart: Exports and Imports of Scotland

    • used to show data from one year by country because of a lack of historical data precedent
  • Pie Chart: Statistical Breviary

    • shows extent of population of revenues of Europe’s principle nations
  • Line Chart: Exports and Imports of Denmark and Norway


  • Isotype
    • clear, scientific expression of pictorial language
    • international system of typographic picture education

  • Xilography
    • wood carving of the negative and coating with ink
  • Munich Olympics 1972
    • in similar style
  • Graphic Symbols
    • helpful for international communication; navigation of foreign land
    • iconography is a scientific process of sociological and psychological commonalities that bonds all beings.
  • Tenets of Design
    • A: Serialization — placing many icons next to each other to show the extent of the whole
    • B. Iconicity — simplicity is abstraction
    • C: Clarity — must be read from a distance, gestalt must read
    • D: Consistency — same symbols at same size allow comparison
    • E: Color — limited color, color shows difference in category


Design History: Timelines

Strom der Zeiten (1804)

  • Fredrich Strass, German
  • “Rivers of Time”
  • metaphor of “liquidity” of time
  • Creation at top, but does not start with Biblical time
  • Asian empires on the right, uninterrupted
  • Roman Empire, takes up much of the middle of the graph
  • English translation used much bolder colors, but gained more popularity

Synchronological Chart of History

  • Sebastian C. Adams, 1871
    • influential educator
  • 23 ft long
  • commercial illustrations
  • first titled “Chronological Chart of Ancient, Modern, and Biblical History”
  • chromolithography = affordable for middle class at the time
  • time calculated based on Christian Church’s estimate of event of Creation
  • Streams represent Nations/Countries; width represents power of nation

Ladder of Divine, Catholic Ladder

  • late 12th century icon at St. Catherine’s Monastery (now in Egypt)
  • based on the theological teachings of John Climacus, John of the Ladder
  • metaphor of ladder connecting Earth to the Heavens
  • Catholic Ladder
    • Francois Norbert Blanchet and Modest Demers, 1840
    • pictogram system to teach Christian history and beliefs to mixture of Native American cultures
    • combination of ladder metaphor in Christianity, and Native American tradition of time representation on a stick
    • read bottom to top (like ascension)
    • protestant divide represented as withering branch
  • Protestant Ladder
    • Henry and Eliza Spalding 1845 in reaction
    • controversial and reactionary
    • Pope pictured as falling to Hell; Protestants rising to heaven
    • dual streams of time
    • drawing in the style of 18th/19th century European art

Jacques Bertin

  • Matrix theory of graphics; Semiology of Graphics
  • Cartographer
  • How do you encode data into maps?; developed seven variables of visual language
  • Point, Line, Area differentiation for Visual Variable
    • X/Y position
    • Size
    • Value (shade/intensity)
    • Grain (stripe/patterned fill)
    • Color
    • Orientation
    • Form/Shape

Herbert Bayer & the World Geographic Atlas

  • 1925: Bauhaus and universal type, no capitals, clean geometry
  • 1953: World Geographic Atlas
    • wide-use of symbols allows information to be understood by illiterates