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How happy is your Happy Meal?

I thought this post was interesting and worth reposting after we viewed the tower graphic in todays class. I also thought it was relevant as an example for your next blog post assignment. The post was originally authored by Rachel Stinebring.


One of the best sites for interesting information graphics is visual.ly. It has an incredibly interesting mix of traditional graphics (bar charts, pie charts, etc.) with detailed illustrations that add a fun, cool spirit to the site. One of the best graphics I found on the site is “How Happy Is the Meal You’re Paying For?” (click on the thumbnail below for the full graphic).

The graphic does a great job combining useful and newsworthy information with fun, festive illustrations that echo the youth market that Happy Meals target. I love part three of the graphic, which compares the nutritional standards for children’s fast food meals with the nutrition facts for Happy Meals. By putting the two sets of information side by side, the reader can easily see the discrepancy between the ideal and McDonald’s meals. Additionally, I love part two of the graphic, as it adds context to the level of sales of Happy Meals in comparison with all other fast food. This portion really helps put into context how Happy Meals could be contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic (part one).

I think the graphic does a beautiful job combining fun illustration with interesting, important data. As a result, the graphic is not just visually appealing but informative as well. Additionally, the graphic adds newsworthiness by including information on laws regulating children’s meals at fast food establishments and what McDonald’s is doing to meet those standards. By including this information, the graphic does an excellent job of telling readers a story, not just data or facts. The graphic also illustrates how Happy Meals affect other facets of the world, such as: advertising, lawmaking, childhood obesity, nutritional information, etc. This adds greatly to its news value.

My favorite parts of the graphic were the portions that illustrated just how dominate a role the Happy Meal plays in the children’s fast food market. By providing this information, the graphic artist gave the reader important information that adds to the context of the story. As a result, I think this graphic is extremely effective in telling a story in a non-news format.


About MU Information Graphics

A place to post and share information graphics content.


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