Every minute, Kobe Bryant makes $162.55. By comparison, a family doctor—what most of us consider a decent occupation!—makes $1.35. In that same amount of time, an elementary teacher makes $0.43 (yes, forty three cents). And a minimum-wage worker pulls in just over a dime—a mere $0.12.
For CNNMoney, designer Bård Edlund created a fantastic animation to visualize this disparity. But rather than turning to stacks of gold or even bar graphs, Edlund rendered the data in circles. Which may not sound all that radical—but in data visualization, the area (or value) of circles can be difficult to compare.
"For designers, there are traps to avoid, like scaling [circles] by diameter instead of area, which results in wildly incorrect representations," Edlund tells Co.Design. "But the germ of an idea for this piece was the image of a clock that grows as the hand rotates…I was intrigued by the simplicity of that image and wanted to see if I could pursue it in a way that didn’t get confusing. I think the result has a kind of quiet urgency to it."
It’s true. The circles create an almost subconscious tension, especially as Bryant’s salary breaks free of the rectangular grid as if it’s gone nuclear on the competition.
"The bounding boxes set up an expectation: Here are the areas for each data point, neatly organized in a grid," Edlund explains. "When one of the circles grows past its boundary already by the 8 second mark, I think it drives the disparity home—the boxes actually help you compare the circle sizes, because they provide another frame of reference."
But before you get too down on Bryant, keep in mind: His $150 million(ish) in assets are nothing compared to the billionaire club. For them, we’re going to need a bigger screen.