The Northeast Blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage spreading throughout the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States, as well as Ontario in Canada, that affected roughly 55 million people total, making it the largest blackout to happen in the nation—and at the time, the second most widespread blackout in history. A series of human, software, and grid errors were revealed to be the causes of the blackout, exposing vulnerabilities in the North American electrical grid system and the parties that maintain and govern it.
Armed with several New York Times articles and the 228-page U.S./Canada Power System Outage Task Force Final Report released by the United States Department of Energy and the Department of Natural Resources Canada, the challenge was to design a 20” x 30” infographic poster that effectively communicated the timeline of the blackout, the complex chain of events leading up to and setting off the cascade, the parties involved, basic information on electricity and associated issues, and the effects of the blackout on the American and Canadian people.
This project was a collaborative effort with Jennifer Shen and Mackenzie Suben under the instruction of Stephen Farrell at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Pacheco, Shen, and Suben do not own any supplemental images including the New York Times front page, or any data shown in images of the final report. The New Century Schoolbook and Avenir Next typeface families were licensed for educational use through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
All other images are owned by Pacheco, Shen, and Suben.
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