In 2009, college friends Jason Oberholtzer and Cody Westphal started the Tumblr blog I Love Charts for themselves and friends. Over the years, the humorous data visualization blog has grown from seven followers to more than 200,000—positioning it as one of the most popular sites on Tumblr. The blog has expanded to include Twitter and Facebook social components and, as of May 2012, a paperback titled I Love Charts: The Book.
I Love Charts ranked No. 1 on The Huffington Post’s “33 Tumblogs You Need to Follow” and “23 Funniest Tumblr Blogs,” was named one of the “100 funniest Tumblrs…Ever” by the New York Observer, one of “The 90 Best Tumblr Blogs of 2011″ by BuzzFeed, one of the “10 Funniest Tumblrs” by The Guardian, and one of the “25 Genius Tumblrs You Should Follow” by CBS News.
A Brooklyn, N.Y, resident, Oberholtzer holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Music. In addition to overseeing the I Love Charts universe, he also curates the I Love Old Magazines Tumblog and writes for Forbes.com and elsewhere online. We asked Oberholtzer about the popularity and future of infographic innovation.
I remember that the first thing I did on the Internet, when my parents first got AOL, was play a Batman jigsaw puzzle game. That is a chart in a certain sense.
No, but I have been having an inordinate amount (for me) of sex dreams lately. What does that say about my psyche?
What excites me most about the future of infographics is that it won’t be the present. There is a lot of cookie-cutter garbage out there and some (yourself included) are doing good work to make infographics as interesting as the information they are designed to present.
I think chart humor and the bizarre fringes of “visualization” are where most of the innovation is happening. I’ve been really into Sarah Lazarovic’s work lately.
Somebody once told me (quoting somebody else) to “pick a dragon and slay it every day.” For I Love Charts, the dragon is boring, stiff, predictable data visualization. My vision is to keep people engaged with data and having fun with information by finding the humor—the candy coating for the bitter pill the data of the world often presents.
Based on their successful website, Jason Oberholtzer and Cody Westphal’s book, I Love Charts: The Book, uses charts and essays to discuss the central question of why we chart.
I Love Charts: The Book is available through Amazon.com.