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Work and Play, by Michael Bantug

Visualization project around the millions spent by European Football Clubs and poverty.

March 6, 2013

[This is a guest post by Michael Bantug*, sharing some insights about his infographic project Work and Play.]


Money is something we all need, but more than that, it’s something we all want. For most, we make enough money in a year to get by and we’re able to get away with splurging on a few luxuries. But it’s never enough, is it? We all wonder what it would be like to be one of the super-rich, to have more money than we know what to do with.

But what about those who don’t make enough to get by? What about the people who dream not just of making ends meet, but simply of making the bare minimum?

The Work & Play project was based around these questions, which themselves were raised in a conversation about sports. Personally, I’m a huge fan of European Football, but when the offseason rolls around and clubs start to spend millions upon millions on the world’s best players, our minds start to wander.

Of course it’s fun to compare what I would be able to do with all that cash, but I’m safely tucked in the middle, I’ll be alright without it. So what if I compared the extreme ends of this spectrum? How much could the salary of one of the world’s top footballers do for the people of a third world nation?

Going in, I knew the project itself wasn’t really a realistic idea; these clubs and players shouldn’t be expected to donate all of their money to such causes. In fact, the charitable works by these organizations should be commended. For instance, David Beckham has recently pledged to donate his entire salary for his stay at Paris Saint-Germain to a local children’s charity.

It’s just interesting to see the disparity in cash flow, to see how numbers are sometimes more than just numbers to people.

In my research, it was no surprise to see the majority of the spending in European Football flow around the biggest leagues: The Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain and Serie A in Italy. What did surprise me was that the vast majority of the world’s poorest countries, 19 of 20, were located in Africa. We hear so often of people in countries struggling around the world, yet a majority of the absolute poorest are centralized on one continent.  Not just that, but the yearly salary of players at top clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester City would often cover the yearly income of up to 40 people in some of these nations.

The information itself was staggering, but displaying it in an interesting and readable format was the challenge I was faced. The project was originally just a single infographic, layed out similarly to a military strike map, but it didn’t feel like enough. Trying to figure out how to expand the design or how to expand its scope proved troublesome, but I thought back to the information itself.

The information itself, no matter how it’s presented, should always be the most prevalent. I didn’t need to expand the original design, but the project’s scope, and this would be possible as long as the information remained the focal point. This allowed me to produce the last two pieces of the design; one more direct and text based, placing all the information right in front of you, and the last a more abstract and visual piece, but retaining all the same information as the previous two pieces.

As initially planned, the designs were made to be printed as three 2’x6’-8’ pieces, but I’m now hoping to revisit the projects to add interactive or animated elements in the near future.


(infographic: Michael Bantug)
(infographic: Michael Bantug)
(infographic: Michael Bantug)
(infographic: Michael Bantug)
(infographic: Michael Bantug)
(infographic: Michael Bantug)


Michael Bantug* started in graphic design with high school classes in Chesapeake, VA, and he’s currently in his senior year at The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, where he’s closing in on his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Graphic Design). He had had the opportunity to work in print, and enjoys working in Brand Development, Logo Design and Marketing. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.