Infographics Of The Day: A Son Honors His Father’s Life With A Masterpiece

For his 2010 Annual Report, Nicholas Felton captures his father’s life in a moving series of infographics.

Infographics Of The Day: A Son Honors His Father’s Life With A Masterpiece

Each year, graphic designer Nicholas Felton creates an “annual report,” summarizing an entire year of life in a series of beautiful charts and graphs. For 2010, he’s created a masterpiece. Instead of looking at his own life, he’s captured the entire life of his father, Gunter, who passed last September.


Thanks to the son’s talents, this memorial feels like a celebration rather than a cold dissection. Gunter worked as an elevator engineer and settled in California, which in all honesty sounds pretty structured and even, perhaps, boring. In actuality, Gunter was a fascinating man who led an unbelievably textured and rich life: Here was a guy who was born into Nazi Germany, was bombed by Germans during world War II, traveled to 48 countries, met the Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, and in old age practiced Tai Chi and saw Willie Nelson play with the Yamato Drummers.


[Click on this image and those below to view full-sized versions]

The entire sweep of Gunter’s life is here, from his boyhood grades to the places he traveled to the music he listened to. As with any great and true infographic, the beauty is in the details. For example, in an atlas of the places he traveled, you see that Felton’s father saw some of the most remarkable times and places of the last 75 years, ranging from Nazi Germany, which he left in 1939, to Havana during the Cuban Revolution, to Saigon in 1970, to the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1968:


The major stages of Gunter’s life each get their own layout, replete with infographics showing what he was seeing and living at the time. Here’s his experiences as a boy in England. Note the number of German air raids he lived through during World War II:


And here he was in the prime of life, in the 1970s, traveling to places in the world that must have been hard to imagine when he was young.


And finally, in the last decades of his life, he settled down but kept soaking in new experiences, everything from new music to language. And, as mentioned above, he met Bobby Seale:


Click here to buy a copy of Nicholas Felton’s 2010 Annual Report for only $20. But hurry: Only 3,000 are being printed.

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.