Column Five Finds Its Niche in Infographics Design

In 2008, Jason Lankow, Josh Ritchie and Ross Crooks tried their own hands in starting a design business. Four years later, they’ve made a name for themselves, having mastered the art of the infographic and dabbling in just about everything else. Ritchie says that their success was not overnight.

“It was just us co-founders for about 6 months, working on personal projects before we got our first handful of clients, one of which was,” Ritchie says.

From there, Column Five, a creative agency specializing in infographic design, data visualization and Social PR, was able to leverage success with to court bigger start-ups. “We quickly started hiring people smarter than ourselves and gaining momentum,” he says.

While clientele still includes a number of Bay area start-ups, Column Five also works with a number of big name publications and brands. Their extensive portfolio includes work for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Facebook, General Electric, eBay and The World Bank.

Ritchie says that they don’t have a typical client, as they work with a large variety. However, a majority of their clients are from their initial focus, which was, “start-ups looking to develop and distribute infographics as part of their content and social media strategies.”

Column Five’s success on both their local and national business fronts meant that 2012 was time for an upgrade. The four-year-old company moved into their new, 5,000-square-feet office/warehouse, which is just over a mile away from Newport Beach.

“We built custom platforms and workstations before we moved in with the intention of trying to find balance between open and personal space,” Ritchie says. ” And we have a pretty great patio space where we barbecue, play ping pong, store surf boards, etc.”

Between a weekly beer Friday, planned and unplanned happy hours and something he only describes as extreme trampoline dodgeball, Ritchie says that the whole Column Five family is very interconnected.

“I’m continually impressed by the ways that everyone comes together to make this company better and do the best work possible for our clients,” Ritchie says.

Column Five’s “In Caffeine We Trust” poster, which allows the user track their own caffeine consumption and preferences by staining the poster with coffee, is one of their most well-known projects. However, their extensive portfolio of illustrations, infographics, motion graphics and presentations is seemingly bottomless, and Richie says there is more to come.

Column Five’s famous coffee poster provides a canvas to track coffee consumption data over the course of a month. The instructions outline a few calculations to analyze personal consumption trends. Once monthly tracking is complete, the drinker can use their coffee (or a stronger version thereof) to ‘paint’ their data onto the poster to complete the visualization.

“We have our sights set on a few big opportunities that we are laying the groundwork for now,” Ritchie says. “We are lucky to work with some really great people who give us the creative license we request and the end result is typically something we are all proud of.”

Check out more examples of Column Five’s infographics and data visuals below.

From the jocks to the geeks to the band nerds, even the vast world of social media comes with its own stereotypes and teenage angst. This infographic for Flowtown reflects the quirks and stereotypes of each of these social media monsters.

The blog Death by Media crunched the numbers based on aerial photos of the capitol mall and Column Five decided to visualize the probable and maximum possible attendance numbers for the major rallies since 2000.


There is a circle of life that makes the tech startup, Ecosystem, self-sustainable. In collaboration with Udemy, Column Five puts a magnifying glass up to each specimen to determine its role, predators and prey. Take caution: this ecosystem rests in a delicate balance, for your viewing pleasure only.


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