by Infogram
Create infographics






Country: United States

City of residence: Westport, CT


  • Information graphics


  • 1994 - 2015

    Explanation Graphics


Graphic designer, information graphics designer, lecturer and author

Graduating from Royal College of Art in London in 1966, Nigel Holmes ran his own successful graphic design practice in England.

From 1966 to 1977 he worked as an freelance illustrator and graphic designer for clients such as British Broadcasting Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Island Records. His work appeared in New Scientist, Radio Times, The Observer, Daily Telegraph, and The Times.

In 1977, art director Walter Bernard hired him to work in the map and chart department of Time magazine, where Holmes later became graphics director.

After a sabbatical he started his own company, which has explained things to and for a wide variety of clients, including Apple, Fortune, Nike, The Smithsonian Institution, Sony, United Healthcare, US Airways, and Visa.

Since 1994 he has run his own business, Explanation Graphics, explaining all sorts of things for a variety of clients. These have included American Express, The Smithsonian Institution and United Healthcare. He also does graphics and illustrations for publications such as Scientific American, National Geographic and the New York Times (including a series of drawings about the Higgs Boson that won a gold award at Malofiej in 2014).

In 2009, the Society for News Design gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. A retrospective exhibition of his work was shown at Stevenson University, Baltimore in 2011.

He has written eight books on aspects of information design, including Wordless Diagrams, in 2005.

The Book of Everything was published by Lonely Planet in 2012. It’s a compendium of information graphics that range from how to wear a kilt, or deliver a baby in an emergency, to recognizing animal poop. A “sister” book, Instant Expert, came out in 2014.

His first book for children, Pinhole and the Expedition to the Jungle, was a finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Awards.

With his son Rowland, Holmes makes short animated films. Clients have included the TED conference, Fortune Magazine conferences, Good Magazine and the National Geographic Society.