infography

Infography is about the study, process and practice of visualising often complex information to improve the quality, legibility and clarity of thought and communication. It usually leads to the production of what is now called an infographic which in turn can usefully be sub-divided into categories such as diagrams, maps, technical/scientific illustrations, etc.

Technical subjects in particular have always held my fascination and many of the projects I was involved in had a distinct technical dimension. Researching the subject and understanding it better were always enjoyable phases of an assignment for me. When subsequently translating this understanding into visual form I tried to strike the right balance between visual impact, clarity and accuracy. Below, in chronological order, are examples of much of the technical illustration and diagrammatic work I have produced since 1978 during my professional career in The Netherlands.
See Infography 2 for instructions, maps, plans, information design and research.

technical illustrations

Technical illustrations are usually accurate representations of pieces of existing or future machinery or equipment. Sometimes the intention is simply to record what something looks like as a form of documentation. Beyond this by 'exploding' the components, progressively 'cutting away' the outer layers or 'ghosting' we can see inside and better understand how things work or fit together.

STHB_spread
1978 space traveller's handbook

Designs and illustrations of some futuristic vehicles for the futuristic Space Traveller's Hand Book.
Quarto Publishing, London 1978 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, finishing with pen, pencil by hand.

STHB_lander
1978 titan lander

An illustration of a cute little Titan lander for the same book.
Quarto Publishing, London 1978 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, finishing with pen, pencil; 25 x 20 cm

TI_2_Helicalenpump
1981 pump and steam generator

Cutaway illustrations of a helically coiled steam generator and a pump alongside one another.
Nera Engineering, The Hague 1981 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 100 x 25 cm

TI_1_Helical_steamgen
1981 helical steam generator

A detail of the extraordinary helically coiled steam generator. By peeling away layers and cutting away progressively I was able to show how the steam generator was constructed and the basic flow of steam through it.
Nera Engineering, The Hague 1981 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 100 x 25 cm

TI_11_Viscoseal
1982 viscoseal

A sophisticated sealing unit used in the pump units, By pushing oil into the bearing it is both sealed and held in the correct position.
Nera Engineering, The Hague 1982 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 60 x 60 cm

TI_12_Komter_house
1984 komter house

An exploded view in line of a house designed by the Dutch architect Auke Komter. Toine Post asked me to produce it for the New Year's card for the Association of Dutch Arcitects.
Toine Post/BNA, The Netherlands 1984 line drawing using technical pens; 35 x 25 cm

TI_13_KEMA_EenW2
1984 electricity!

I produced four illustrations for the Dutch Electricity Board explaing how electricity gets from the power station to your house.
KEMA, Arnhem 1984 Line drawing with airbrushed colours on overlay; 60 x 40 cm

TI_14_DHZ_wastafel
1984 house plumbing

Magazine illustration showing the basic plumbing system in most houses
 DHZ Magazine, Utrecht 1984 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 35 x 30 cm

TI_3_Gispen
1986 gispen office chair

A cutaway illustration of a new and ergonomic office chair for Gispen the long-standing Dutch furniture manufacturer.
Jean Cloos for Gispen, The Hague 1986 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand ; 45 x 35 cm

TI_6a_%20Canon_satellite
1987 satellite

Cutaway illustration of a communications satellite for Canon.
Canon NL, Amsterdam 1987 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 45 x 40 cm

TI_15_shell_pump
1987 shell petrol pump

An impression of the (then) new design for Shell gas station petrol pumps featuring modular units that could be assembled as desired.
Frans DelaHaye, The Hague 1987 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil; 50 x 25 cm

TI_4_SunBMW
1988 engine analyser

For a proposal they were making for BMW, Sun asked me to produce realistic impressions of the machines as they would be supplied.
Sun Automotive, Amstelveen 1988 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil; 45 x 40 cm

TI_9_Petrolpump
1989 petrol pump

Cutaway and ghosted illustration of a petrol pump as found in the base of many a forecourt consumer unit until recently.
Schlumberger Technologies, The Netherlands 1990 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 40 x 60 cm


TI_5a_Liquifier
1989 helium liquifier

A cutaway line drawing together with simple colour coding to show how the cooling fluids passed through Kamerlingh Onnes' helium liquifier.
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1989 Line drawing in ink with overlays for tints added by the printer; 50 x 40 cm

TI_6_Canon_EBuilding
1989 canon energy building

A cutaway illustration for an engineering consultancy of the so-called energy building for the (then) new European office at Amstelveen of Canon Netherlands. I chose to execute the illustration in pencil which gave the image a slightly warmer quality whilst the coloured tints were indicated on overlays and added during printing.
Tebodin Engineering, The Hague 1989 Pencil and tints; 40 x 60 cm

TI_10_Vapour_recovery_unit
1992 vapour recovery unit

This is one of the last illustrations I executed in airbrush. It is both a complex piece of machinery and illustration being not only cut away and ghosted but also partially exploded. Coloured arrows show the flow of vapours and liquids through the unit.
Schlumberger Technologies, The Netherlands 1992 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand using pencil, pen; 30 x 25 cm

TI_8_Astrolabe
1993 astrolabe

Detail of an exploded view of an astrolabe, an early navigational aid, dating from 1601. This was one of the first serious technical illustrations I executed using the computer. Since the original was so beautifully made I tried to match this in a modern way by working with clear, carefully balanced line weights and an eye for detail.
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1993 Digital line illustration produced using FreeHand

TI_19_bikebits
1995 bike components

A simple exploded view of the bearing arrangement found in a typical bike steering unit.
Op Pad Magazine, The Hague 1995 Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.

TI_17_AHM_herinr
1998 museum renovation

Exploded view showing the proposed renovation of the Amsterdam Historical Museum
CHV Architects, Amsterdam 1998 Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.

TI_18_Valkhof_stables
1999 museum valkhof

Reconstruction of Roman stables used in combination with aerial photographs to give an impression of the entire site.
Museum Valkhof, Nijmegen 1999; coloured pencil, 40 x 60 cm


TI_18a_Valkhof_kazerne
1999 museum valkhof

Isometric cutaway in line of a Roman barracks complex showing details of the accommodation.
Museum Valkhof, Nijmegen 1999; Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.

diagrams

Diagrams are simplified, schematic visualisations of processes, constructions, principles or statistics. Selecting and focussing on only the relevant information makes it clearer and easier for us to grasp. Usually diagrams are rooted only barely in accurate representation. Selection, distortion, simplification and visual coding are essential methods for visualising information in a more abstract yet understandable way.

STHB_engine
1978 rocket engine

Simple explanation of the working of a rocket engine as used for much recent exploration of space.
Quarto Publishing, London 1978 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand in pencil; 25 x 20 cm

DIA_13_hypofyse
1980 pituitary gland

One of the few diagrams I produced for the health book I worked on together with Linda who produced the visual.
Uitgeverij Het Spectrum, Utrecht 1980 Airbrushed inks and watercolours, detail finishing by hand in pencil; 25 x 25 cm

DIA_12_PFBC
1983 fluid bed combustion

By simplifying the main components and colour-coding the various flows through the plant I show the complete cycle from coal injection to generation of electricity.
Nera Engineering, The Hague 1983 Line drawing in ink + airbrushed inks and watercolours

DIA_4_warmtepomp
1984 heat pump

Large panel showing an early heat pump in Deventer, The Netherlands. Produced together with Eric van rootselaar
Warmtepomp NV, Deventer 1984 Line drawing with airbrushed colours using inks 160 x 100 cm

DIA_3_digitelef
1984 digital phone calls

 I decided to use a step by step approach explaining what happened between the spoken word at one end and how it is translated for the listener at the other.
Vorm Vijf Ontwerpbureau, 1984 airbrushed inks and watercolours , detail finishing by hand

DIA_2_Sphaera
1985 leidse sphaera

By opening it out flat I was able to show the complete drive-chain from the weight via the escapement through to the hands of the clock and the orrery itself.
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1985 Line drawing in ink using various sized technical pens  40 x 30 cm

DIA_5_UN_org
1986  the united nations

Showing the relationship of the various parts of the United Nations to one another
2D3D, The Hague 1986 Line drawing with airbrushed watercolours; 20 x 20 cm

DIA_6_dna
1988 dna

Newspaper graphic explaining DNA and the development of the human embryo.
NRC Rotterdam 1988 Line drawing with airbrushed tints; 28 x 22 cm

DIA_7_flu_gases
1988 flu gas treatment

Brochure diagram showing treatment of flu gases in power plants.
Tebodin, The Hague 1989 Airbrushed inks and watercolours; 25 x 20 cm


DIA_9_tankcleaning
1989 tank cleaning

Showing the process of cleaning ships tanks in the Port of Rotterdam. 
Tebodin, The Hague 1989 Airbrushed inks and watercolours; 45 x 30 cm

DIA_10_KOcascade
1989 helium cascade

Showing Kamerlingh Onnes' complete cascade process for liquifying helium.
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1988 Line drawing, tints added by printer 40 x 30 cm

DIA_14_zander
1989 zander equipment

Showing the operation of Zander's early physio therapy machines.
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1989 Line drawing, tints added by printer 30 x 30 cm

DIA_15_colmar
1989 colmar's calculator

Showing the ingenious design of Colmar's stepped drums for his calculator
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1989 Line drawing, tints added by printer 40 x 40 cm


DIA_1_Mac_connectivity
1990 mac connectivity

Shows how it was an almost a natural, process to connect your Mac to diverse networks and peripherals. 
Studio Dumbar in 1990 Airbrushed inks and watercolours 35 x 25 cm

DIA_18_vpn
1993 virtual private network

Showing the principle of the operation of an early Virtual Private Network.
Studio Dumbar, The Hague Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.

DIA_17_astrolabe
1993 astrolabe

Diagram to accompany the exploded view above explaing the basic concept of the astrolabe.
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden 1993 Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.

DIA_19_oilexpo
1995 oil  expo

One of several diagrams explaining how oil deposits are discovered and extracted.
Total Design, Amsterdam 1995; Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.


DIA_16_icons
1995 icon set

Set of dedicated icons used for creating (interactive) network diagrams. 
Studio Dumbar, The Hague Digital illustration produced using FreeHand.

DIA_11_Uni_network
1995 network diagram

Application of the icon library in a network diagram explaining data transmission via satellite to various types of remote locations.
Studio Dumbar, The Hague 1995 Digital images produced using FreeHand

DIA_20_gps
1995 gps

A diagram explaing how the global GPS system works that enables us to determine our location on Earth to within a metre or so.
Op Pad Magazine, The Hague 1995 Digital images produced using FreeHand

DIA_21_brander
1996 camping stoves

One of three diagrams explaining the differences between petrol, gas and multi-fuel types of portable camping stoves often used on mountaineering expeditions.
Op Pad Magazine, The Hague 1996 Digital images produced using FreeHand

DIA_23_rugzak
1996 rugzak

Showing the best way to shoulder and carry your backpack.
Op Pad Magazine, The Hague 1996 Digital image produced using FreeHand.

DIA_24_csn
1997 network diagram II

Network communications diagram produced for a computing company.
Ontwerpbureau 5D, The Hague 1997 Digital images produced using FreeHand

DIA_25_lichtdruk
1997 diazo printing

One of many diagrams produced to explain aspects of diazo printing.
Toine Post for KVGO, Amstelveen; 1997 Digital images produced using FreeHand.

DIA_22_cao
1997 labour agreement

Diagrams explaining a new Collective Labour Agreement for the KVGO
Toine Post for KVGO, Amstelveen; 1997 Digital images produced using FreeHand.

DIA_26_pnem
1997 scenarios

One of several diagrams to show the effects of various scenarios on energy use.
Code Design, Den Bosch 1997 Digital image produced using FreeHand.

DIA_27_eyes
1997 eyes

Showing how our eyes react to intense ultraviolet light in mountainous regions
Op Pad Magazine, The Hague 1997 Digital images produced using FreeHand.

DIA_28_transpiration
1997 transpiration

Showing how our bodies transpirates during hiking or mountain climbing.
Op Pad Magazine, The Hague 1997 Digital images produced using FreeHand

DIA_29_vgpicto
1999 museum pictograms

One of several pictograms produced for the new Van Gogh Museum
Pieter Roozen for VGM 1999 Digital images produced using FreeHand.

DIA_8_Speaker_support
1999 speaker support

This diagram in isometric projection shows the key parts of the system and makes it clear that it's still necessary to have an assistant scrolling the text on a laptop for you.
Pleun Vos Design, Antwerp 1992, for Scriptease BV Digital illustration produced using FreeHand

DIA_30_testrig
1999 test rig

This shows a laboratory test rig that was set up by a sunblind manufacturer to test the effectiveness of their products. It was used in a brochure for the general public.
Code Design, Den Bosch for MADO 1999 Digital image produced using FreeHand.

DIA_31_container
1999 waste container

Diagram to show the basic arrangement of one of several types of waste container that the municipal council of Amsterdam deployed for many neighbourhoods.
Gonnis & Widdershoven, Amsterdam 1999 Digital image produced using FreeHand.