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Infographic of the Day: Inception Contest Runner-Up

A smart, complex entry from Adam Martin.

Infographic of the Day: Inception Contest Runner-Up

Last Sunday, the deadline ran out on our Inception Infographic Contest, wherein we tasked you guys with designing an infographic that illustrated the film’s complex twists, and its plots within plots.


We got some tremendous entries. Among the best were Luis Buenaventura’s epic attempt to represent exactly how much time passed in each layer of the movie–by creating a chart where each pixel represented one week of time; and Daniel Wang’s flowchart illustrating everything that happens to each individual character.

But the contest ultimately came down to two entries: The winner, which we’ll reveal tomorrow (it’s worth the wait!) and the runner-up, pictured here and created by Adam Martin:

[Click for full-size]

Adam’s chart made it this far on the strength of some really interesting ideas about how to represent the movie’s plot devices, and for it’s sheer comprehensiveness–absolutely none of the movie’s subplots is left out, and what results is a fairly direct representation of the entire film.

A smart detail was Adam’s decision to represent the dreams within dreams of the movie as nested outlines of heads–kind of like a Russian nesting doll.


Meanwhile, each one of the planes you see on the infographic represents a single subplot or framing device–thus, each of those plates shows the interactions that went on in one portion of the film:

However, we ultimately found that Adam’s entry was a bit too detailed–the immense amount of detail ultimately got in the way of explaining the movie’s basic premise. And the infographic also lacked a full-on solution for representing how time passes differently in each dream layer.

Nonetheless, it was an outstanding entry, and for that, we’re thanking Adam offering him a choice of any two books, picked from the four that Edward Tufte has written, or the two volumes of Data Flow.

Thanks everyone who entered, and tune in tomorrow for the winner!

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.