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The Crisis of Credit Visualized

This short Flash film with clear graphic design visualizes the root causes of the American credit crisis.

The credit crisis. Everyone has heard of it or even been hit by it, but few people know exactly how it came about. Jonathan Jarvis, a student at the American Art Center College of Design in California, decided to visualize the credit crisis for his graduation project.

His short animated film uses simple symbols to explain what went wrong with the American financial system. Easily understood diagrams connect homeowners with investment banks and insurance companies. We come to understand why the effect of “collateralized debt obligations” and “credit default swaps” on the collapse of the global economy should not be underestimated.

What becomes all too clear is that this crisis had been waiting to happen for years, and the companies were concealing increasing debts by selling them on to the next investor, while continuing to grant mortgages. This continued until they could find no more Americans to palm off another mortgage on.

Jarvis is part of The New Mediators, a group of designers who use graphic design, journalism, and narrative analysis to reduce complex situations to their essence.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Project details

Year of development :2009
Created by:Jonathan Jarvis

Available formats