Why The Sopranos?
Aside from the fact I had only just finished watching it when we were given our brief for this unit so it was one of my first ideas, the show on a whole centres around the main characters humanity, as well as their lack of respect for it, while being part of a notorious New Jersey gang. The leading character, Tony Soprano, was such a eye raising one because as the head of such an organisation, you’d expect him to be cool, emotionless and brutal – and he is in front of other people. But, behind closed doors you see another side which surprises, even shocks audiences, as you see it is a mask, and he has all of the emotions us normal people have, which results him in going to therapy.
It isn’t just Tony who is under the microscope throughout the series though as you see into the lives of the other members including Christopher, with his addictions, and Vito, who is hiding the fact that he is homosexual.
From a writing and production point of view as well, the show is littered with pop culture, within the script and the music used, to make it feel more real, maybe to illustrate the point that people like this actually do exist. To show that the people within the gangs you hear about have problems like the characters within the show.
Away from the show itself, as somebody watching it, infographics would serve as a form of trivia we all seem to like and find interesting, rather than information which is beneficial in other parts of our lives.
As settled in a previous assignment, the most important feature of the info graphic is that the function is more of a priority than form, meaning that the facts and figures provided have to be correct first and foremost.
With it being a television program, there are no real organisations which dedicate themselves to documenting how certain characters within The Sopranos were “whacked” so the only really way of finding out was either to watch the series and make note myself, or use websites set up by fans.
The site listed below is a Wikia site all about the show which details everything, from the characters involved, to trivial pieces of information, and importantly for me, a list of the deaths. It goes into great detail by saying who and how they died, who done it, and which episode it was in:
Of course, these types of websites are not the most reliable of sources of information so I did some of my own digging around to try and match up the numbers.
Videos such as this one helped me to validate some of this information but it is still not 100%
(May contain spoilers if you haven’t had the privilege to watch this show yet)
Before we started looking into the design of our infographics we had to prepare by choosing two fonts, and with those fonts we had to find out information about it, such as who made it? Why was it made? What is it used for?
Once we found out this information we created graphics which shown the information which we discovered. The fonts chosen by me were Century and Verdana:
The point of this exercise was to get an understanding of the importance of fonts and how you use them within infographics, as well as thinking about how you go about designing your infographic so that it is fitting.
Before designing my own infographic I trawled through the internet to see what is already out there to get both inspiration and see what could be done a bit differently.
From the search one of my personal favourites was this one: http://cdn.rsvlts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/the-crimes-of-tony-soprano_52e6b317686ec.jpg
I like this one because it goes in to great detail about the crimes Tony committed throughout as well as being easy to navigate, read and understand. I also liked the colour scheme, because it was fitting for the show, especially the red.
Another great example of an infographic of this ilk is this one: http://th02.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/i/2012/088/c/8/the_sopranos___fatalities_infographic_by_miketheman123-d4ubtc0.png
I like how it is so simple in its use of symbols, yet within the simplicity it provides you with so much information, such as how they died, and even where exactly they were shot if their death was via gunshot.
What I did notice though was how there were no comprehensive infographics for all of the deaths. The first one looked at was the best one I found but there wasn’t any similar for all of the characters in the show, so that would be what I concentrated on.
Constructing the infographic
Before I could start the work on designing the infographic I had to make sure that I had all of the data I needed, and make sure it was all compiled somewhere I could find it later on. To compile the information I just created various tables on Excel; it would later come in handy as my Adobe Illustrator ran out so I had to make my graphs on Excel.
Before settling on any ideas for the design I drew a few sketches to test out ideas:
1. One idea was to base the design around a gun and a bullet, one of the main symbolic icons of the show due to it’s high amounts of violence and gun fights. The bullet would act as an unorthodox pie chart while the gun would house the death chart. However I feel it would cramp the style of the infographic and would constrict how much I could fit on.
2. This infographic follows the same basic principle as the last one but concentrates on the gambling aspect the characters take part in throughout the series. In this one the chips take the place of the bullet whereas the gun is replaced by a stack of cards. It would also feature an image of Tony and Paulie outside Satriale’s looking relaxed, and their regular hangout Bada Bings logo at the bottom. This design wouldn’t fit the tone or content of the infographic as relaxation/fun and death don’t go hand in hand.
3. This design was one of my favourite ones as it references a scene early on (I think at the end of season one) when the FBI show Tony’s promotion of their cork board:
The idea was to make one for each character with their statistics being listed on the yellow paper underneath, however, with the sheer amount of people who would be need to be included it would have taken up far too much space.
To create the infographic I used Photoshop:
1. First I found an image on Google which would make a great banner; it had to be simplistic and show the characters, with a dark/edgy tone to fit well with the content of the infograph. I added the Sopranos logo and changed it so it was red to stand out and so it can be associated with the main subject.
2. Next I manually made this table which lists everybody who carried out a killing, as well as taking into account natural causes, unknown causes and suicide. Each murder was symbolised via a generic logo like you’d find on a male toilet sign, with one split in half which would show when it was a joint venture. I then colour coded each one which would show which season the murder took place in.
3. I then created a key table to show which each symbol and colour meant.
4. Next I created a pie chart (on Excel; I right-clicked the chart and was able to Save As, before placing it on Photoshop) which shown the method of the deaths. I then added the writing surrounding it to show which each segment represented.
5. I then added a bar chart (again on Excel) which shown the amount of minutes there were per death in order to show the reader which season was the bloodiest.
From an aesthetic point of view I really like how my infographic has turned out, especially the connection between the banner and the chart running down the left hand side. The banner sets the tone of it perfectly, you know straight away that is it do with the Sopranos and it isn’t going to be the happiest of subjects, yet you still feel intrigued to see what it tells you, especially if you are a big fan of the show. The chart covers all of the aspects that I wanted it to – It is informative, it’s easy to read and yet simple in design.
On reflection though, I feel I used a different way of differing the seasons on it as the multicolour aspect doesn’t make it fit into a colour scheme I wanted. Having said that the pie chart is also multicoloured, something I tried to change after moving it onto Photoshop but it just looked messy. If I used Illustrator instead it would have been easier and probably would have come out a lot better.
I probably could have also found more, less grim, aspects of the show to make infographics about, or to at least add to what I have now.