This month's WWII Magazine graphic looks at the Spitfire fighter plane.
The story is that despite improvements to the Battle-of-Britain-winning-plane, the thin wings that enabled its superiority also prevented it from carrying much fuel - rendering it less useful for the longer range missions as the Allies progressed into Europe.
Below are some issues that arose during its creation.
I am developing some ideas based on the architectural principle of 'parti'.
This is the 'unifying principle' of the building.
In graphics I see it as the unique compositional distinction - the basic idea of the graphic - as manifest in the underlying composition.
It goes beyond the satisfying swoosh of a knapkin sketch. It is similar to affordance in interaction design - an immediate clue as to the workings of an object - although as well as this functional cue, the parti in information graphics informs the reader of the purpose and basic thrust of the facts.
It can be as simple as in a graphic about recession, a sense of 'downwards' should prevail.
The spitfire graphic is about improvement - that is why the plane on the right is soaring up - and the shape of the whole is progressive.
Ill be writing more about this.
I first read it in 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School - quite a nice primer on such matters - and gold dust for me in the parti bit.
It doesn't seem to be mentioned in other architecture books much - apart from knapkin sketches from long lunches. Matt J was a good sounding board on this - and also told me I needed a propeller ellipse (I was sticking to my guns that the prop would be invisible - but was consistently shouted down by him and others)
The central images are the cutaway Spitfires.
I started off wanting to compare the guns, engines, other important variables in the planes but at this scale, they look fairly similar and so there was little point.
I was very keen to show the pilot's place in the plane - in order to show the vulnerability of those flying these machines.
These fighters were just engines with wings and guns with pilots were slotted in behind the fuel tanks.
I wanted this to show the pilots as supported aloft by these machines with not much between them and the elements.
(I was also inspired by a bit in the Freak Brothers underground comics where an accomplice of the protagonists hallucinates that he is flying in a sky filled with see-through-planes flown by naked women.
Not many military technology information graphics blogs can say that.)