IXD104 Visual Data Research- Charles Joseph Minard

Charles Joseph Minard

Graphic Designer Charles Joseph Minard is best known for his acclaimed graphic from 1896 which depicts the horrific loss of life that Napoleon’s Army suffered in 1812 and 1813, during its invasion of Russia.

This famous graphic is famously known as the Napoleon’s March or the Minard Graphic. Since it’s design it has received a lot of recognition and applauds in data visulisations thanks to high praise from Edward Tufte who is on of the leading designers in data visualtions. In 1983 stated that Napoleon’s March “may we be the best statistical graphic ever produced”.

Joseph Minard is still being mentioned today as the legacy of his work still lives on. He is mentioned alongside greats such as John Snow, Florence Nightingale, and William Playfair. His best work and most famous work being the Napoleon’s March which is identified worldwide.

Minard originally paired the Napoleon’s March with a visualization of Hannibal famous military campaign in 218 BC, as seen in the image below.

Minard will be best remembered in years to come for Napoleon graphic which was his greatest achievement, and he will go down in history for this alone. But this was not his only graphic/chart. He designed nearly 50 maps. He initially designed several important thematic mapping techniques as well as perfecting others, including using flow lines on a map. An example of this being the 3 maps in the graphic at the top of the post, which depicts cotton imports to Europe.

Minard begun making a couple of charts and maps during this engineering career. But it was after he retired at 70, he focused his attention on designing “graphic tables and figurative maps” as he referred to them. His last designs he made were the Napoleon and Hannibal graphics, at 88 years old.

Reference- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/charles-minard-cartography-infographics-history

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