Breaking Bad is back in the public consciousness since the second part of its final season got started last week. Along with that renewed awareness comes a whole slew of infographics about the show. Some of them are actually not bad:
But many of them were created by people who couldn’t resist the urge to use a periodic table. Some of them are even currently running (fairly successful) Kickstarter campaigns to produce these tables! The data that goes into these infographics certainly doesn’t belong in a periodic table because… well, that data isn’t periodic.
And if you’re looking for originality, using a periodic table to visualize Breaking Bad is certainly not the answer (there are at least four of them already)…
So, whenever you see one of these, think to yourself about the people involved: “Did you learn nothing from chemistry class?”
If you’re a designer, deciding whether or not a periodic table is appropriate for your data really isn’t hard: Don’t make periodic tables if the data isn’t periodic. You should care about the quality of your product. Drew Skau is Visualization Architect at Visual.ly and a PhD Computer Science Visualization student at UNCC with an undergraduate degree in Architecture. You can follow him on twitter @SeeingStructure