What’s the difference between a billion and a trillion?
We have an intuitive sense of the value of money when it comes in amounts we encounter in everyday life. The sudden loss or gain of £5, £500, £5000 is an event we can imagine and feel. But once we get into large numbers, we lose our sense of perspective. A $40 billion company, a €400 billion budget, a £4 trillion deficit – it is difficult to get a handle on astronomical figures.
Yesterday I was sent the following pictures. (If you are the designer behind them, please get in touch, I would love to give you full credit!). They give a visual representation of large amounts in piles of $100 bills.
Here is $1 million and its lucky owner
Here is $1 billion and the same man, looking curiously underwhelmed.
And here is $1 trillion with our rich friend cutting a tiny, speck-like figure at the bottom left.
I’ve blogged before about bringing numbers to life verbally. This is an incredibly powerful way of doing it visually.