by Nicole Pierre
Data and statistics are not the sexiest subjects to talk about - and some data can be downright intimidating. In a world where we are constantly inundated with information from news channels to social media feeds, it is tempting to switch it all off.
But thanks to data visualisation, statistics are becoming more accessible - and more interesting - to us all. The human brain is known to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and designers all over the world are getting on board, using their creative skills to bring data to life. From colourful pie charts to wearable data, we love seeing what happens when art and numbers collide.
Below, we take a look at 3 creatives who are taking data visualisation to the next level.
British information designer and data journalist David McCandless is at the forefront of data visualisation. Trained as a designer and writer, David is a native creative. What’s more, he proudly wears his geeky data journalist hat around.
David’s interest in data visualisation is based on his desire to communicate the facts. David says, “I’m interested in how designed information can help us understand the world, cut through fake news, and reveal the hidden connections, patterns and stories underneath.” He adds, “Or, failing that, it can just look cool!” His inforgraphics often illustrate multiple, divergent perspectives on an issue.
He now leads a small team with the goal of helping everyone make better, clearer, more informed decisions about the world.
Have you ever considered wearing data art? Designer Stefanie Posavec has created wearable data objects including a necklace made of perspex geometric shapes. Despite the vibrant colours, the artwork deals with issues concerning climate change and air pollution in Sheffield, UK – known for its high rates of air pollution.
The necklace is based on data from sensors measuring high levels of particulates – that is matter in the Earth’s atmosphere, which can have damaging effects on human health.
Stefanie aims to challenge viewers to contemplate the impact of air pollution on our bodies. “Since particulate matter damages the heart and lungs, we felt a neckpiece was an appropriate way of communicating this data,” Stefanie says.
Stefanie is also one-half of the Dear Data project - a year long analog data drawing project with Giorgia Lupi, which captures the daily reflections of two information designers living on different sides of the Atlantic. Worth a look.
Some are born talented with both words and numbers, like Mona Chalabi. She is the data editor of The Guardian US, as well as a columnist at New York Magazine. Instead of food and coffee pics, Mona’s Instagram is filled with her own data sketches – known for being both satirical and informative (and often related to taboo bodily functions!). Her data sketch comparing the taxes for sanitary products among 20 countries went viral in 2016.
Which data art creatives do you follow? We’d love to hear from you.
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