100 infographics

exploring our world and its history

The Infographic History of the World is the result of a collaboration with data journalist James Ball. It’s our attempt to narrate history in an unconventional way.

From our earliest times as human beings, we have attempted to describe and explain the world around us and the world inside us, their past present and future. Rather than looking to define the world’s history, this book looks to leverage the power of infographics and refresh an age-old subject for the general public and the specialist alike. Data, images, and words work in a system to simplify information, reveal interesting patterns and engage readers in an unconventional narrative.

Year 2013

Harper Collins, UK
National Geographic, Germany
Firefly Books, USA
Somoto-sha, Japan
Alpina Books, Russia,
Marabout, France
Fontaine Uitgevers B.V., Netherlands
Briefing Press, China
Minumsa, Korea

James Ball, Co-author
Craig Adams, Editor

Book promo

The nutshell

This book offers a new take on the narration of natural and human history. Nearly 14 billion years information condensed into this visual feast of infographics – facts, trends and timelines – illustrating historic and modern topics in a contemporary tone.

The intent

Rather than looking to define the world’s history, this book looks to leverage the power of infographics to refresh an age-old subject for the general public and the specialist alike. This book’s intent was to take readers on a journey, allowing them to review the topics, interpret the data and to find the implications that resonate with them. In this way, readers can read the book story in either a linear or a fragmented way. Each infographic is designed to achieve both within-context and stand-alone readability.

The process

Representing billions of years in 224 pages is a daunting task and the full complexity of the data has been highlighted in the book’s appendix. Beyond the consultation of history and science books, many economic and governmental reports were referenced. Naturally, the Internet facilitated the research process and it also helped locate a handful of helpful contributors. In order to organise our research efforts, collect the data and fashion a cohesive presentation, the content was arbitrarily divided into four chapters. Each corresponding (roughly) to certain phases of history: before humanity, before civilisation, before 1900 or thereabouts, and the modern era.

The cover

The amount of content dedicated to each era is inversely proportional to the number of years that each period covers. This can be seen on the book’s cover and highlighted in its introduction. The book’s cover itself contains an infographic: the spiral on the front cover approximate the volume of time each chapter cover, while the bars on the back cover show the number of infographics dedicated to each chapter.

The visual index

Content SpreadContent Spread

What sets this book apart from other infographic books is that is not a compilation of infographics edited together. As a matter of fact, I designed almost 100 infographics from scratch and James researched the same amount of datasets to create these visual stories. Only six of the hundred visual stories were previously created by other designers. A pretty epic effort especially when considering the timeframe we had – 100infographics in eight months!

Evolution as a theme

Illustrations for the chapter openersIllustrations for the chapter openers10_silhouttes

To illustrate the passing of time, I adopted the imagery of mankind’s evolution to form a visual timeline. Four illustrations open each chapter and period-specific silhouettes are featured in an evolving footer to provide an amusing reference guide for the reader’s journey.

The book design

The visual grammar of the book evolves with its content. Changes in typography, colour palettes, paper stock and illustration styles give distinct identities to each of the four historic chapters. The content break, between past and present, is also leveraged by the change of paper stock as well as the use of other visual cues.

Each spread shows a unique infographic. Every effort was made to find a balance between visualising in a way that best illustrates each story and also providing sufficient variety throughout the book.

Content overview


British Edition
British Edition

The Infographic History of the World.
HarperCollins, Jun 2013

German edition
German Edition

Da war doch was …
National Geographic, Oct 2013

North American Edition
North American Edition

The Infographic History of the World.
Firefly Books, Nov 2013

British Edition
Dutch Edition

Wereldgeschiedenis in infographics
Fontaine Uitgevers B.V., Oct 2014

Chinese Edition

The Infographic History of the World
Briefing Press, Dec 2014

Russian Edition
Russian Edition

История мира в инфографике
(The Infographic History of the World.)
Alpina Book, May 2014

French Edition
French Edition

L’histoire du monde en infographie
Marabout, Sep 2014

Japanese edition
Japanese Edition

インフォグラフィックで見る138億年の歴史: 宇宙の始まりから現代世界まで
Somoto-sha, Apr 2014

Korean Edition

The Infographic History of the World.
Minumsa, May 2014


This book does nothing less than chronicle nearly 14 billion years of Earth’s history […] all rendered in clever, topic-specific graphics.
Fast Company

The book is a delight.
The Economist

This new book, packed with beautifully and cleverly laid out infographics, provides a refreshing exploration of the history of the world.
Creative Review

A new book that continues to push the field of infographics forward.

Not only is this book a chock full of rich visuals, but the organization is an artform in itself. Small details […] make this a delightful read from cover to cover.
Core 77

A beautiful, useful and important book that will, with an almost certain prediction, become of coffee-table importance to anyone who wants a broader and better understanding of the world’s past, present and future.

History will never look the same.
History Book Club

The book is chock full of facts and figures relating to various aspects of our lives, our world, and our very existence, all presented as stunning editorial designs by D’Efilippo.
The Book Design blog


In a world where data is a routine part of each day, this publication has taken on the gargantuan task of telling the story of the History of the World using a custom designed infographic vocabulary that not only communicates thoughtfully, but is absolutely stunning to experience as a reader. It showcases the true essence of visual communication on an unimaginable scale.
Paul Roelofs

This is a conflation everything the world needs right now: a rediscovery of the joys of reading and the printed page; seductive and clever graphic representations of historical data and a joyful immersion in learning. The seemless video helped this one past any hurdles. Bonus points for being an attractive product that will appeal to absolutely anyone!
Mark Mushet

I loved this book! I wanted to hold it and read it and pore over every single graphic. The designers did a great job of bringing a huge variety of material together into an eclectic but cohesive whole.
Shelley Gruendler

This book tackles factual subjects with beauty and humour. Infographics in a wide range of styles, both whimsical and concrete are displayed with accessible commentary.
Marian Bantjes