Our Second $5,000 Challenge

challenge_panic_620There’s a ton of information and data flying around about the financial system, debt crises, recession fears, Wall St occupation, currency devaluation, collapse of the markets and general END OF THE WORLD PANIC!

So we’ve teamed up with the Guardian Datablog to offer a handful of datasets that may cast light, give perspective and otherwise explain – even just slightly – what the hell is going on.

The challenge, then, is to bring some, all or many aspects of this money panic to light and help us see the problem. Or see the lay of the land. Or see the issues or data clearly.

Make the crash visible, understandable.

That might mean focussing on a small detail, a single story or visualizing the whole damn financial system. Size won’t matter. We want *clarity*.

You can enter in two ways. With a finished ‘design’ or a well-conceived ‘napkin’ sketch. We also welcome interactive and motion graphic entries. Bring it!


data for this challenge

Feel free to use any of these datasets from the Guardian datablog in this challenge.

Euro Debt Crisis: article | data
US Foreign Aid Budgetsarticle | data
Billions: article | data
Eurozone crisis dashboard

You’re encouraging to poke around the datablog and see if you can find any other relevant datasets too.

the prizes

$2000 for the winner of the design challenge
$500 each for two runners-up

$1000 for the winner of the napkin challenge
$500 for the runner up

(what’s the napkin challenge?)

+ potentially $1000 for an interactive or motion graphics entry
(that depends on how many submissions we get)

Plus winners all receive a signed copy of Information Is Beautiful and a poster.

the kudos

The winners will be exhibited on the Guardian Datablog.

(and may also be featured on the Guardian homepage!)

The Design challenge winner is immediately shortlisted for the Information is Beautiful awards. And maybe the napkin winner too. (It’s a bit of an experimental idea. So we’re not sure if that’s going to work or not)


some important dates

Mon 14th November – the challenge launches!
Mon 5th December 6pm GMT / 1pm EDT – the challenge closes
Fri 9th December – shortlisted entries released and blogged
Fri 14th December – winner announced

some guidelines for entering

  • Audience rules – Think what your audience needs to understand. The finance world is so drenched in jargon. Can you help decipher it?
  • Enhance-o-tron  – Maybe there’s a graphic out there, or a graph, that just could be better, or be more approachable.
  • Raw world – our data is in a pretty raw state. Tightly organised, it will require you to study it and draw out a story or a pattern.
  • All or nothing? – sometimes it isn’t necessary to visualise all the data. Sometimes just a story or aspect is enough. Even a small, revealing stat may be enough.
  • Extras – feel free to research around this information or come up with your own data or algorithms.
  • Metrics – we’ve used certain metrics. Do you think there are more? Is there another way of measuring or presenting these amounts?

some rules

: You’ll get a confirmation we’ve received your entry but no other correspondence until we announce shortlists & winners. Sorry!
: Only one entry per person per challenge please
: You can enter the design challenge OR the napkin challenge. Not both.
: If you want to correct your work or submit a new version, that’s cool, just send it over with the same subject line.
: Entries can be in any language.
: Entries received after the closing date and time will not be counted in the competition.
: Interactive entries are welcome. Bring it! If we get enough, we will

Good luck!

  • How Challenges Work

    Welcome to our regular visualisations challenges


    We give you a concept or a dataset. You just supply your creativity. Shortlisted entries get featured on the site. The cash prizes are awesome. The fame dazzling.


    BUT best of all, you don't need to be able to design to win one of our challenges.


    No snazzy software needed. No design degree. Just your brain, some paper and a pencil.


    Find out more about our 'napkin challenges'