Unknown Pleasures

Sometimes beauty is inherent. Sometimes it’s familiar. And sometimes it’s both.


For me, John Cheshire’s visualization of the world’s population is both. First, there’s an elegance and economy by which the data is encoded. Then, there’s the striking similarity between his map and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures iconic album cover, which featured a plot of pulsar radio signals.


If you’re a fan of British post-punk rock and Edward Tufte – you’ll probably find Cheshire’s work beautiful in both ways. Heck, you can even order a print of his world map and hang it on the wall right next to your stacks of vinyl.

(As a bonus for R users, Ryan Brideau has a neat post on how he reverse-engineered the visualization and applied it to New Brunswick.)

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