- Ideas, tools, best practices about visual storytelling with corporate data - Ideas, tools, best practices about data storytelling

Debtris: a simple animation can tell you all the story

Posted on Saturday, February 23rd 2013

A simple animation with an 8-bit soundtrack, remembering an old game from 1984 and you can have a perfect story.
That’s what David McCandless published in 2011, with Debtris. It has been broadcasted on Al Jazeera. Each brick is a figure. Each figure helps you to compare value, and orders of height. You will learn for example that $21bn would save the Amazon rainforest and that Walmart revenue is $405bn. The order of each brick going down is the story David McCandless wants to tell us.
This animation doesn’t cost a lot. From the treemap, it can be created using standard animation tools. The soundtrack is simple, remembering Tetris.

This animation shows us that you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to a “design agency” to create a story and a message that everybody will understand.
Sometimes a very simple solution can have more power than a complex one.

If you want to follow David’s work, go to his website: or to

You can look at his TED presentation during TEDglobal 2010 embedded here:

I am an independent industry analyst, and author, with 20 years experience specializing in business... Know more about this author

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