Global Logistics Guide 2010

Annual guide to desirable options for setting up global logistics operations. Inbound Logistics magazine (March 2010)

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The Design Challenge: Present statistical data about dozens of countries in a visual and accessible way.

The Solution: Add context to the country information by overlaying the data boxes on a map. Countries for which stats are presented are popped out in a color that matches the background color of their ranking (the big number in each data box). The map also serves as a background texture, and each data box is semi-transparent to allow show-through of the map even where it’s covered by a box.

The Technical Details: Individual country data was imported from Excel using InDesign’s Data Merge. Formatting was managed using table and cell styles. Each country data “card” is comprised of a table in an 0bject styled text frame, with the country name set to an exact first baseline value that sets it outside the box. Ranking numbers are smaller, separate tables anchored within one cell of the larger table. Attribute-level transparency allows show-through of the map behind each box, but the text is 100% opaque for maximum readability (see detail below). Rounded corners help to offset the potential “boxy-ness” of the layout and subtle drop shadows visually lift the boxes off the background.

An article about this project was featured in InDesign Magazine. You can read the online version of that article on

Detail of country data box, key, and background map