Angry Water's Hawaii

An Infographic on Ocean Related Injuries in Hawaii

[Illustrator] [Narrative Infographic] [Graphic Design]

I was tasked to design an infographic that told a story on a topic of my choice. This included defining the focus, story, goals, and tasks as well as doing any and all preliminary research. I had to ask myself, does the design successfully tell a story? Is the design a narrative infographic, as opposed to just a series of charts? Does the layout (whitespace and visual hierarchy) support the story? Does the quantitative visualization portion follow heuristic principles? Using Illustrator as the main visualization tool, I had to create a 12x16 poster to display all such information and tell my story.

I began this piece under the assumption I would create an infographic that either described surfing or surfboards. My initial idea was to create a guide for beginners learning to surf in Hawaii—when and where to go and what to watch out for. I found a number of newspaper articles on surfing related injuries and deaths, and being a surfer myself realized the inherent dangers. I pivoted my idea to surfing related deaths under the assumption that there would be a plethora of data on this topic and a good story behind it.

To my own surprise, what I found was that surfing actually contributed to a small portion of water related deaths. Moving backwards, most injury related deaths occurred in the water. I validated that these water deaths could be attributed (almost 80%) to activities in the ocean. Not only could I demonstrate that snorkeling and swimming were the leading causes (rather than surfing) but I found a marked difference in the types of deaths attributed to residents of Hawaii versus non-residents. Thus, the infographic asks, and seeks to answer, two main questions: why are there so many inury related deaths and how would we even go about preventing them? I gathered my data from two main sources: “Drownings and Near Drownings (Residents and Non-Residents)” and “Visitor Safety: How are we doing?”.

Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face