Fathering in the Now

Musings on parenting and presence

Month: May, 2012

Meta drawing pictures with numbers

“…there is no data visualization without graphic design and no data art without data.” – Jorge Camoes, excelcharts.com, May 24, 2012

Here’s a doodle to contribute to the discussion:


I agree with Jorge’s assessment, and I also believe that representing “data visualization” to “data art” as a one dimensional continuum is a false duality that we can get caught in due to our own cognitive stress when we see data misrepresented and meanings confused by its presentation, whether the creator has done so out of intention or ignorance.

Like Stephen Few, I think there are distinctions we can make about the goals of visualization to inform and increase (or decrease) understanding, and/or appeal to emotion – whether it is the viewers’ aesthetic senses, encouraging (or enraging) people into political action, or just getting them to click on a link. It’s that “and/or” of what we are trying to accomplish with our data-based creations that makes for a multidimensional view, as in the graph above. The “best” visualizations can inform and also be beautiful.

The other kind of visualization

In my day job I take numbers and use them to draw pictures in order to help guide decisions and change behaviors. There’s another kind of visualization, though, using a different source of data:


Lilyana’s first drawing using Paper by fiftythree.