Let’s talk about CRAP!

Now, I know what you’re thinking “Man, what’s Lisa going to be talking about now?”. I can assure you it’s not poop, we talk about that enough in my house with a two year old (the word poop came out of his mouth no less than 10 times in half an hour tonight).

CRAP (also known as CARP) is a set of four design principles, and when these principles are applied well, and together, outcomes of visual designs are stunning. These principles can be applied to any visual design: slide show presentations, video games, logos, and even infographics.

As part of a graduate course I’ve been asked to analyze the CRAP principles in relation to an infographic that I find interesting. I immediately knew which infographic I wanted to critique.

Warning: Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire spoilers ahead.

Proceed when ready…





If you’ve watched even two episodes of Game of Thrones, or read any of the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series, you know that keeping track of relationships for this series is extremely difficult to do, especially in your head. After the last episode of the most current season of the television show (Season 6 in case you’re not reading this in 2016), where we supposedly found out Jon Snow’s true lineage, HBO released an interesting infographic detailing his parentage and just how complicated it is. So let’s dive in and see how well they applied the CRAP principles to help us better understand these intriguing, but confusing, relationships.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Contrast: The image does a good job with contrast. With so many different types of relationships, it was important to distinguish the lines by using different colors, and different line styles to connect the individuals.  It is not difficult, or straining on the eye to follow the lines, which is important in this type of image. Most importantly, the bright pink line draws your attention which shows who Jon’s birth parents really are.

Repetition: The images uses the same size circles to identify individuals, with the exception of Lyanna and Jon (the two most important figures in this infographic). It also uses the house sigils consistently when there is no image available (this role hasn’t been shown in the television show). The way that the lines curve are also consistent, which makes the information easy to follow.

Alignment: This infographic is obviously very strong in alignment. The whole purpose of the design to show who is interacting with who. This type of image makes the alignment principle easier to achieve.

Proximity: In terms of proximity, I think grouping similar things together would destroy the whole point of the design. If all the family houses were grouped together, the infographic would look completely different and might not illustrate the complexity of these relationships as well. Otherwise, the proximity is done well. The figures are not grouped too close, this makes it easier to figure out which lines are going where.

Overall, I think this is great infographic. I know from reading reddit that this really helped fans of the show to organize the complex relationships of the show. I do believe, even someone who has not watched the show could figure out the infographic. The image is so clear that it didn’t even get a title!