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Street trees type map UPDATE

After posting the first version of Street trees type map I had comments some of the boroughs are missing from the map and suggestions to fill them in. The first map was based on the open data from London tree map project from 2014-2015 and for various reasons the data from some boroughs are yet to be filled.

So following a tip on Twitter I approached the tree officers from The London Tree Officers Association in seven boroughs to fill the information gaps on the map. I got very quick and informative responses from most of the boroughs. The remaining I filled based on the information in the reports from the borough websites.

I had some very interesting feedback from the tree officers, overall positive. For example Rupert from Hackney thought the idea is interesting, but also suggested look at the trees based on variety and diversity. Steve Pocock and Paul Wood have developed a very good website TreeTalk, where they feature a Tree Map based on diversity and rarity.

I also received some very useful design feedback! For example Richard from Croydon noted the borough borders are not very visible so I worked the map more to give some more space around the lines. His other great suggestion was to add borough names, which I saved for the future version.

As I noted cherry has become very popular street tree in London I was curious why. Elizabeth from Wandsworth explained in her borough it’s planted because of the beautiful blossom and the small size – it can fit on most streets and even whole streets are now planted with cherries.

Working with the data on the map was interesting, but I really enjoyed this part of the project! The tree officers know best what they do and the data reflects only the fraction of the diversity of their work. And here’s the final map filled with data and personal approach.

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Graphic of iconic logo species

I got a little frustrated last time doing research for my species timeline infographic because when I googled ‘apples in London’ I got well.. ‘Apples in London’! Some of the brands just have taken over nature it represents. So this gave me the idea to make a graphic about animal and plant species that have made it to icons and write down some of my thoughts about it. šŸ¤”

It’s quite common to choose an element of nature in a brand. It’s often considered a fresh and effective way to communicate the brand message, even if the company itself has nothing to do with nature.. But should it be like this? Here are some of the examples of companies and organisations using nature in their branding.

Apple. There’s a lot of symbolism related to apples and no wonder it has become one of the most known species ever envisioned over history of company branding. Apple has build a whole industry around apple, although their logo is probably only connection to nature..

Shell. The origin of the Shell is related to company’s seashell business more than century ago. Although a controversial business idea, it was very popular with Victorians and the name remained, when company evolved to one of the a largest oil companies. Still controversial.

Twitter. Twitter Bird is inspired by mountain bluebird living in western North-America. It’s a lovely icon and perfect for a company who has built its success on ‘tweets’, but sometimes it’s just better to switch off and go listen the birds in nature instead!

Penguin. Penguin is a book publisher but penguin icon is a classic, loved by many readers around the world. Unlike apple, googling penguin results a modest company ad not overshadowing the real birds company identity was inspired. This is the way to go!

World Wildlife Fund. Probably the best logo use of nature, where all the elements have perfectly come together. The core idea of the logo is to represent the conservation of endangered species and giant panda is a perfect choice to communicate the message across cultures. Love it!

Air Canada. The maple leaf is a symbol of Canada, representing it’s 10 species of maples and it’s obvious why the company has also adopted it for its planes. But, especially in current climate the air transport and nature just do not connect..

Abercombie & Fitch. Seems the existence of the moose brand has no other reason than to be an alternative to Ralph Lauren’s polo pony. However few years ago the company decided to ditch the logos for American market. Maybe others will follow.

Timberland. Timberland brand is for outdoorsy people, therefore the tree seems to suite rather well. However Timberland means land covered with forest suitable or managed for timber.. so in the light of new environmentalism perhaps not the best use of land.

Jaguar. Jaguars represent speed and durance and are beautiful creatures, perfect icon for a luxury car brand. However, it’s another identity that has pushed nature back on internet with the aim to sell more cars we probably don’t need in the world right now.

Tripadvisor. The goggling owl on the Tripadvisor logo is quite suited for the night owls browsing through the hotel and restaurant reviews. The stylised owl is quite known these days and proudly displayed everywhere to attract unsuspecting pray.

Rainforest Alliance. Another great nature logo use for environmental NGO. The frogs are symbols of healthy natural environment and found nearly everywhere on the planet. Promoting sustainability Rainforest Alliance frog jumps out from all responsible products.

Playboy. Well….

The logos in this artwork are redrawn and for illustrative purposes only
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Greenground Map in Forbes article of London National Park City

Forbes article of What Is London’s National City Park Status And Which Other Cities Will Follow? is a story of London’s journey of becoming a National Park City and the people and ideas behind it. I was very happy to see it also features the Greenground map alongside the Urban Good‘s official National Park City map.

The author, Alex Ledsom, covers the Greenground Map’s concept later in the article.

A key part of the campaign has been to restyle London as a green city in the maps its residents and tourists use every day. The Greenground Map by Helen Ilus follows the layout of the iconic London tube map but it links green spaces instead of transport hubs. It is hoped it will encourage sustainable and healthy commutes around London by linking its green spaces, paths and cycle routes. The map also includes kayaking routes and birdwatching spots. 


I love Alex’s quote of restyling London as a green city through maps. This shows sometimes we do not need a lot to make a change – we just need new eyes to see things differently!

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DG infographics class

HNY 2019! May it bring some insightful and beautiful (infographic) stories.

December was quite a busy month for me. Earlier in the month I went to London to attend an infographic class by Delayed Gratification Magazine. DG is known by their awesome infographics and the two hour evening class covered the theory behind what makes a good infographic (in DG style: How to make killer infographics?).

The class was heldĀ in a relaxed and creative atmosphere at King’s College by Marcus, one of the editors. We went through a process of thinking the ideas of a great infographicĀ and trying our hand in making one in the group. The two hours passed far too quickly, but we still had plenty of time to grasp the main ideas.

The key idea surfacing throughout the class was ‘What’s the point?’. We looked at different infographics and tried to understand what is it they say. The good infographics convey the main idea at first sight and do not leave the audience confused. Even complicated infographics are clear of their meaning.

Here is an one quirky example of DG magazine infographic:

Infographic: BBC top-talent salaries in context from Delayed Gratification, the Slow Journalism magazine.
Click here for zoomable version.

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Infographic of awesome air cleaning plants

Here’s another infographic of air purifying plants. It’s again based on visualization, this time a scatter chart. The method is exactly the same as for previous infographic and the data sheet can be seen here.

As the air quality in offices and homes has become an issue, it’s good to know having many plants around may reduce the pollution and contribute to purifying air. Some plants are thought to have better air cleaning abilities that others, although the information is only available for selected plants.

I based the infographic on last two columns in the spreadsheet calculating the total amount of chemicals removed and toxicity to dogs and cats. The original data comes from NASA Clean Air Study and Wikipedia chart of air-filtering plants.

I have eight plants in my room and I certainly like to think they are currently busy sucking up all the harmful digital compounds emanating from my laptop as I am writing this post. And if not.. well, at least they look pretty.


Pure air plant-o-meter - infographic