By Calista Lynn

Infographics have long been aiding visual learners through its representation of data (Featherstone). Infographics assemblage text, numbers, charts, graphs, maps, and characters to display data in a visually accessible argument (Featherstone). In the 1980s, infographics were used in newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and reports to support a story, but they also have an extensive history in medicine and particular epidemiology (Siricharoen, Featherstone). Infographics were popularized in newspapers in part thanks to Peter Sullivan, a graphic designer who used infographics in his work for The Sunday Times from 1970s to the 1990s (Siricharoen).

Peter Sullivan. Zeebrugge ferry disaster. March 1987.

Tableau de L’Histoire Universelle is one example of an early infographic from Paris (Rogers). It was published in 1858 to illustrate the history of humankind starting with the creation of Adam and Eve (Rogers). Individual cultures are depicted as rivers in this visualization (Rogers).

Unknown. Tableau de L’Histoire Universelle. 1858.

Instead of just assisting a story, today more and more infographics take the primary narrative (Siricharoen). In the digital age, infographics find a greater place in circulating information (Siricharoen). They are able to display the same information but in a visual way that is quicker and more successful at conveying information to the masses (Featherstone). Research data often gets forgotten in scholarly publications (Featherstone). These days many of us first hear of news through different social media platforms. As hundreds of things compete for our attention daily, we need things to immediately catch our eye for us to pay attention (Siricharoen). One study shows that visual tweets, such as those with photos or videos, get more online mentions and generate more media traffic than text-based messages (Featherstone).

Some ways that infographics have been modernized is through the use of 3D rendering and animation or GIFs (Siricharoen). Jing Zhang is an example of a successful contemporary graphic designer and illustrator who uses these techniques in her infographics.

Jing Zhang, Starwood Infographic, 2015
Jing Zhang. Starwood Infographic. 2015.

Infographics are a significant form of graphic design as they require a great amount of information to be communicated in a visually efficient way. I hope to see more people utilizing infographics as they make complex information not only accessible and easy to read, but also enjoyable (Siricharoen).


     Featherstone, Robin. “Visual Research Data: an Infographics Primer.” Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal De L’Association Des Bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, vol. 35, no. 3, 2014, p. 147., doi:10.5596/c14-031.

Gadney, Max. “Training the Big Guns.” Eye Magazine, 2012,

“Jing Zhang Illustration.” Jing Zhang Illustration,

Rogers, Simon. “Infographics Old and New: Top Data Visualisations, in Pictures.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Mar. 2012,

Siricharoen, Waralak V. “Infographics: The New Communication Tools in the Digital Age.” Research Gate, Sept. 2013,

The Design History of Canadian Coinage

The Design History of Canadian Coinage

By Calista Lynn

Even as cash and coinage approaches obsoletion, people around the world are still collecting coins. Combining text, and sculptural illustration, it is a marvel of graphic design that is often over looked in our day-to-day.

Unknown, Gloriam Regni, 1670
Unknown. Gloriam Regni. 1670.

Canada’s first coins were the “Gloriam Regni” silver coins that were brought to all of the French colonies in the Americas around 1670 (Willey). It isn’t until 200 years later in the 20th century when we began seeing coins that resemble the ones we are familiar with today (The Royal Canadian Mint). In 1931, Canada established the Royal Canadian Mint to take the place of the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint (The Royal Canadian Mint). Canada began putting pictorial designs on all of their coinage six years later (Willey). Those designs were the basis of the ones we see today with the one major replacement of George VI with the portrait of Elizabeth II (Willey). Even later still, Canada didn’t introduce the loonie until 1987 and the toonie in 1996 (The Royal Canadian Mint).

G.E. Kruger Gray. One Cent Coin. 1937.
G.E. Kruger Gray and Susanna Blount. One Cent Coin. 2004.

Designing coin faces which are rounds and no more than 3 centimetres in diameter can be quite difficult. Each coin carefully balances the circular composition with carved images and necessary text. Canadian coins have featured a variety of artists from Alex Colville to those not officially working as artists (such as in the Royal Canadian Mint’s “Create a Centsation” coin design contest) (The Royal Canadian Mint). With innovations in minting technology, coins have been able to show incredible amounts of detail–some collector coins featuring colour and even holographic elements (Willey). Consideration has also been given in the design for those with limited sight (CNIB). Each coin is a unique size with different edges (CNIB). Variations include geometric sides as well as ridged and smooth borders (CNIB). There is a reason why people pay thousands of dollars for a coin that isn’t supposed to represent more than a couple dollars. Coinage is not only a representation of our history but also a celebration of the now with Canada’s ever growing series of collector coins. Coin design should not only be revered as beautiful pieces of art, but also a master in technical design and a reflection of our ever evolving technology.

Works Cited

“1 Cent 1937.” Coins and Canada, Coins and Canada,

“1 Cent 2004.” Coins and Canada, Coins and Canada,

“BR 502, Gloriam Regni 5 Sols, 1670A (Paris).” Online Auctions,

Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Identifying Canadian Coins with Low Vision or Blindness. Youtube, 23 May 2014,

“Royal Canadian Mint Currency Timeline.” The Royal Canadian Mint, The Royal Canadian Mint,

Willey, R.C. “Coins and Tokens.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, The Canadian Encyclopedia, 29 July 2013,