American Titans

Infographic

I designed “American Titans,” an infographic about the top 30 U.S. companies based on revenue according to the Fortune 500 list in 2017. The infographic contains two informational sections: “Locations of Headquarters” and “Rankings & Details.”

Locations of Headquarters

This section has a map of the contiguous United States marked with the cities that hold the primary headquarters of the top 30 companies.

My reason for choosing 30 companies in this infographic rather than 40 or some other amount was that 30 was a round tenth number that comfortably fits a large number of logos circling around the map. Adding more logos would require all of them to be shrunken down for making more room, and the smaller size would make many of the logos harder to recognize.

Rankings & Details

This section of the infographic is a grid of “cards” which each display information about a top 30 company. The cards are arranged by the companies’ 2017 revenue, ordered from biggest to smallest.

One of the pieces of information on each card is the economic sector that the company participates in. Of the companies shown in this infographic, there are eight total sectors, and each is symbolized by a monochromatic icon. I designed all of these icons, except the health care icon which was a public-domain copy of the Rod of Asclepius (the international symbol of medicine).

Design

Because this infographic is about money, naturally its design should use the colors of money. The green color used throughout could be called “dollar bill green” because it was sampled directly from the bright green shapes of a U.S. dollar bill. Likewise, the off-white background is sampled from the paper color of a dollar bill.

The font I used for headings in the infographic is Bebas Neue. I selected this font because it appears bulky and tall, making it seem massive at a large size, which plays on this infographic’s “titan” theme regarding these companies with enormous revenues.

The font I used for the smaller text (including the city labels on the map) is Overpass. I chose this font because it’s legible at small sizes, and it also happens to be a typeface based on the one used on American highway signs. So, this font is spelling names of U.S. cities whether it’s on highway signs or this infographic’s map.

I created the infographic in Adobe Illustrator at a HD resolution (1,920 pixels wide) and exported as a PNG (a standard file format for images). For the sake of easier viewing on screens with a smaller resolution than full HD, I shrunk the infographic down by a third to 1,280 pixels wide.

An observation of mine: After some testing, I’ve discovered that Adobe Photoshop apparently has a better image resizing algorithm than Adobe Illustrator. I think that’s strange, considering both apps are made by the same company. Photoshop’s PNG resizing keeps the edges of shapes and letters crisp, whereas Illustrator’s PNG resizing makes them a little blobbyish, making small text less legible. So, with this in mind, after I completed the infographic in Illustrator, I opened it in Photoshop to shrink it to a smaller size, and exported it as a PNG from Photoshop.

Scope

“American Titans” was a personal project of mine, as I enjoy looking though infographics and maps, and this project involves both which I got to create myself.

When I set out on making this infographic about the largest companies, I originally intended a worldwide focus rather than an American one. My main reason for this is because a few months earlier I had created the web app “U.S. State Information” which was another project containing a map of the United States, and I wanted to avoid repetition in my projects.

However, as I was researching the data to create the global map, I realized there wasn’t nearly as much variety as I hoped. Of all the companies there are throughout the world, it turns out too many of them are headquartered in either one of only two countries: the United States or China. Worse (from the point of view of not wanting to create boring maps), the Chinese companies were all located in a single city, Beijing.

So, I abandoned the global map and did a U.S.-only one instead, because the U.S., along with the European continent, were the most interesting areas for a map of this kind. (I may consider creating a European edition of this infographic in the future.)

Other Observations

I had almost no knowledge of companies’ headquarters before I started making this infographic. After finishing it, I’ve got a few personal observations about the data:

  • I think it’s surprising that Florida, which is the third most populated state in the U.S., has no headquarters of any top 30 company. Similarly, the Los Angeles metropolitan area in California, which is the second most populated metro area in the U.S., also has zero top 30 companies. Meanwhile, some states with fairly small populations such as Arkansas, Indiana, and Rhode Island do have one.
  • Several of these companies aren’t headquartered in major cities, but in small cities located close to a major city. I’m guessing these companies are evading the higher taxes or stricter regulations of the major cities while still taking advantage of the large workforce living within the area.
  • Apparently blue logos are all the rage for companies in the Midwest.
  • The only Western states with any top 30 companies’ HQs are California and Washington. The rest of the West has zero. I think the reason for this is simply that the western side of the U.S. has a relatively small population compared to the eastern side.
  • I think I’m not alone in this, but at least I personally have never heard of the company named Berkshire Hathaway, even though I felt like I should’ve been aware of what’s the second biggest company in the United States. After some quick research, I discovered Berkshire Hathaway is run by the multi-billionare Warren Buffet. His company is a conglomerate that owns a wide variety of subsidiary companies including GEICO, NBSF Railway, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, Kraft Heinz Company, American Express, and more.
  • Some people might be wondering how Google is absent from this infographic. It’s not absent; it exists through Alphabet. Alphabet is the parent company that Google created for itself in 2015 for the purpose of having a different corporate name to expand into other industries besides Internet services.