How this travel infographic was inspired by an earth sandwich

When designing a travel-inspired infographic, Brisbane-based Jeni Bulcock was inspired by an idea from Douglas Coupland's Generation A.

Designer Jeni Bulcock is busy gaining a following down under with her bold, minimalist design work. However, when planning this bright infographic for a Lonely Planet competition, she found herself looking further afield than her native Brisbane.

Tell us a bit about this infographic...

I make an effort to try to enter at least one design competition a year, and in 2011 one from Lonely Planet caught my eye. The brief was to design a travel-inspired infographic for publication in the book How to Land a Jumbo Jet.

Where did your inspiration come from?

I guess initially it was a conversation with a friend who was reading a book entitled Generation A, by Douglas Coupland. She was telling me about one of the first scenes, where the protagonist, in Paris, is making an 'earth sandwich' with someone in New Zealand. This concept opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about global travel. Being an avid traveller myself, I thought it would be great to create a resource for people who wanted to escape their current life. What better way than to go as far away as possible?

How did you develop this idea?

I spent hours researching world cities, rating them according to population size and collecting useful travel data, such as seasonal climate, local currency, language spoken and major airport code. In the end, I had to cut out some information due to size restrictions. I originally pictured my infographic as a circular, globe-like graph system, and the final design ended up being a re-imagining of this concept. The artwork curves like the longitudinal lines on a map.

Any tricks for avoiding creative block?

I find it really helpful to talk over ideas with friends or colleagues. As well as offering a new perspective, forcing yourself to put your idea into words can open your eyes to problems or solutions you hadn’t previously seen. I would also have to advise taking a break, but not to the point of procrastination. 'Take a break' means make yourself a cup of tea or work on another project for a while, not decide that it’s time to spring-clean your house.

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 221.

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