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See the Most Captivating Infographics of the Last Century

Selections from 128 years of “National Geographic” magazine’s best charts, maps and diagrams.

The first issue of National Geographic magazine, published in October 1888, was vastly different to the magazine we know today. It contained no photographs or illustrations. The cover was brown, with just the title and symbol of the National Geographic Society.

The following year, the magazine published a four-color foldout map, the first step towards the all-color charts and diagrams that have since become synonymous with National Geographic. “We’re in the business of using art to explain,”  Kaitlin Yarnall, Deputy Creative Director, explains in the introduction to National Geographic Infographics.

Since then, National Geographic has become renowned for the infographics it uses to break down complex information. The new book, published by Taschen, brings together the best infographics from the magazine’s 128-year history. 

 Falcons and Hawks, December 1920.
Falcons and Hawks, December 1920.
The World of Flowers, May 1968.
The World of Flowers, May 1968.
Sources of Energy, November 1972.
Sources of Energy, November 1972.
Airplanes, January 1981.
Airplanes, January 1981.
Columbia Spacelab 1, September 1983.
Columbia Spacelab 1, September 1983.
Dinosaurs, June 1996.
Dinosaurs, June 1996.
The Secret of Sleep, May 2010.
The Secret of Sleep, May 2010.
Cleopatra’s Alexandria, July 2011.
Cleopatra’s Alexandria, July 2011.
Cancer, October 2011.
Cancer, October 2011.
Skiing Through History, December 2013.
Skiing Through History, December 2013.
China’s Supercaves, July 2014.
China’s Supercaves, July 2014.
How They Hunt, July 2015.
How They Hunt, July 2015.
Amazonia, Vital and Fragile, November 2015.
Amazonia, Vital and Fragile, November 2015.