Big Economic Ideas Explained, In Minimalist Posters

Wikipedia defines short-selling as “the practice of selling assets that have not been purchased beforehand, but which the seller may have borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical assets back at a later date to return to that third party.”


Here’s another definition:

That’s muuuuuch better. The image is one of five posters that staffers at Planet Money, NPR’s excellent global economics show, designed to give simple visual form to woolly financial ideas, from inflation and austerity to short-selling and naked short-selling (just short-selling with nips).

The tone here--like Planet Money itself--is both playful and dead serious. Take this poster, which portrays austerity as a giant butcher knife:

Funny, yeah. But also sad. How else to describe Greece’s gonzo budget cuts besides state-sanctioned slaughter?

To see econ posters designed by Planet Money readers, go here. And for more Co.Design coverage of minimalist posters, go here and here.

[Images courtesy of Planet Money]

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  • Nolan Haims

    Good design, yes. But bad communication. And certainly not even close to a "definition" in any sense of the word. The short selling poster simply says, "Happy (and presumably making money) when stocks are falling." The most basic explanation of short selling always starts there, but it's not a true definition.

    The Wikipedia definition is not good, but it's far closer to an actual definition. I wouldn't compare that with the poster...but I would put one of them on a wall. :-)

  • Loraine Antrim

    Communicating succinctly is a lost art. To combine a visual and one or two words is brilliant! There's an expression from the law that really works here: "res ipsa loquitur" i.e., "the thing speaks for itself." Nuff said! Loraine Antrim