For those of us using and studying data every day, the opportunity to make something visually beautiful with numbers is enticing and rewarding. It’s even better to be recognized for it. So we’re happy to have been short-listed for the Kantar Information Is Beautiful Awards, which recognizes excellence and beauty in data visualizations, infographics and information art.

Held in London each year, the 2014 Kantar awards will be announced on November 12th at what we’ve been promised will be a glitzy party.

Picture showing IIB Awards Shortlist badge


Our Entry

Our entry on the Evolution of Trade Agreements looks at the over 700 trade agreements passed globally from 1948 until 2009. The interactive visualization reveals the global evolution of trade agreements over 60 years and highlights the increase in the number of agreements and country connections over time. The tool used to create this graphic also allowed us to use color to visualize the sharp rise in average depth of commitments since the 1990s.


Chart visualising the Evolution of Trade Agreements

Try the beta of the interactive tool yourself at

Grouped by continents, intra-continental agreements appear outside of the disc, while the inside shows inter-continental agreements. (The underlying dataset (Dür et al., 2014) comprises 587 preferential trade agreements, among them customs unions and free trade agreements.)

Data can be sorted by trade agreement to show the depth of each agreement (an index of 7 key provisions that can be part of a PTA (e.g., provision on services or provision on competition) to help revisit the question of “to what extent PTA’s impact trade flows”.

By enabling researchers and interested parties the ability to look at trade agreement individually or in subsets by depth, we can add to the body of knowledge of economic trends, as well as the connections linking one trend to another.