Project description

Published on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China, this project explores how the city has evolved since 1997 in 20 graphics, from music to politics, and fashion to infrastructure.
The goal of this feature was to present readers with a mix of quirky and serious material illustrating how the city has changed in a way that was quick to look at, and easy to absorb, despite containing a wealth of data.

What makes this project innovative?

What makes this project inventive is how dense topics were translated into deceptively simple graphics. The gist of each story can be grasped almost immediately with the reader free to invest more time drilling deeper if so desired. The design was aimed primarily at mobile phones using visual content that is easy and fast to digest.

The project’s greatest achievement is seamlessly combining a diverse selection of stories using masses of data edited and presented for fast, almost instant, consumption. Data journalism must respond to the reality that people reading online want instant gratification. This project is built for those who want the kernel of the story without any distractions

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The project was built to sew together 20 diverse stories on a single page with each item part of the whole but capable of standing alone as well. This way each graphic could be extracted and combined with and embedded into other, related handover anniversary stories, elsewhere on the website.
Released on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover, visitors spent just under three minutes on this page. We tried to make the content as diverse as the city itself to celebrate the inclusive nature of our home. On publication day the 16,423 visitors focused on different pieces, as was our intention.

Source and methodology

Some of the sources for this project are:

Public Opinion Programme, The University of Hong Kong:
This is a university programme created to release studies, polls, research reports and findings by students and conducted by tutors and lecturers at HKU. The data for this project was corroborated in reference to our own news archives.

Hong Kong Census And Statistical Department:
The methodology of work with the HK Census includes collection of data from PDF files and sometimes jpegs of data tables. Recent information is more accessible, prepared in spreadsheets. We extracted data of interest for our purposes from the records and referred to the written reports from the Census office.

Forbes, Obsoletemedia.Org, Quora.Com:
There are two kind of sources for “How your office desk looked like in 1997”: The formal sources of information is from websites and the informal was the collective memory and opinions gathered from people with more than 20 years office work experience. For a more accurate description it was necessary to investigate the technical details and features of everyday objects from the nineties. For the illustration, a linear style and only a few colors were chosen to simplify the appearance of all the objects and make them more evocative

Tourism Commission, Commerce And Economic Development Bureau Of Hong Kong:
The data is from an official report from the Government of Hong Kong, we kept the original document to support the data used. In relation to the methodology we took the data from the PDF file to create reports of visitor numbers and then selected the nationalities of tourists visiting Hong Kong

IFPI Hong Kong, And RTHK:
The information for music trends was taken from IFPI reports of the most popular music genre in Hong Kong over time. The actual songs picked for the video-graphic was provided by the public broadcasting service of Hong Kong (Radio Television Hong Kong or RTHK) from their annual award ceremony recognising local artists

Macworld, Time Magazine And Cnet:
The items in the graphic on old technology used the three publications listed above, as sources for the starting point. We kept the urls as reference only, before conducting individual research to provide facts about each item

UN Data and HK Government:
Mostly open data, we used the original file from the United Nations Data website. We collected more data from UNODC and from HK Police and annual reports. The UN reports that Hong Kong has a murder rate of 0.30 per 100,000 inhabitants, making it one of the safest places in the world along with Singapore and Japan. Data shows the murder rate since 1997 has decreased dramatically.

NOOA, USGS And Natural Earth Data:
Mostly Open Data, we keep the original file requested for the above websites. Based on that data we took reports from some local observatories to corroborate the origins of storms from the last 20 years. Based on tracings of that data we created graphics to showing where the typhoons originated and followed their tracks in the South Pacific region

Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries And Conservation Department:
The data is from an official report from the Government of Hong Kong, we kept the original document to support the data used. In relation to the methodology we took the data from the PDF file to create reports of shark fin consumption in Hong Kong which seems to be decreasing. We also found data from other sources arguing that the main problem is the trade rather than consumption. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to verify the true amount of shark fin passing through Hong Kong into Taiwan or China in recent years.

Hong Kong Observatory:
The data is from an official Government of Hong Kong report. We kept the original document to support the data used. We collected all the material from the Hong Kong Observatory of daily meteorological observations since 1884. The data collection methodology was simple but laborious because it was done manually and done in Google sheets. The base graph was made with Adobe Illustrator before being manipulated in javascript and html5

The data is from official reports from The Virtual AIDS Office of Hong Kong (Department of Health, Government of Hong Kong) and the focus is HIV surveillance and epidemiology. The data was taken from Fact sheets of HIV/AIDS situation in Hong Kong and past Issues of Hong Kong STD/AIDS, of reports from 1995 to the present. The purpose of the graphic is to show an increasing problem, the data was categorised and displayed ethnically. The base graph is made with Adobe Illustrator before its manipulation in javascript and html5

Technologies Used

Software used:
Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Audition….)
Brackets io
Corel Painter
Microsoft excel

Languages of development used:

Project members

Adolfo Arranz, Deputy head of graphics and illustration
Marcelo Duhalde, Infographics designer
Dennis Wong, Infographics designer
Marco Hernandez, Infographic designer
Darren Long, Head of graphics and illustration


Project owner administration

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