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data visualisation by tom davidson


brief Research and collect a suitable data set. Develop multiple options prior to developing your written project proposal. This proposal will become your personal project brief and will be expected to identify clear personal/professional aims and objectives. It will integrate reflections derived from your previous project and the formative assessment you received. From your data set you will develop the most appropriate concept and produce a cohesive body of work. The presentation of this work may be a number of static images or designs, moving image, virtual display, animation or physical installation – as outlined within your proposal.


examples of book data visualisation As part of my initial research I looked into other people who have created data visuals to do with books. This was so that I could gather some influence and look at the kind of things that could be included in my data visualisation outcome.


digital diagrams by trevor bounford

To help with my initial research I found this interesting book on data graphics. It has a really in depth view on what makes effective data design and how to present statistics accurately. The other thing this book does is present an array of possible ways to present data – something which will be useful when looking at how to present my data. The organisational diagrams featured in the book are particularly notable; despite the content of the book being quite heavy, it really helped to give me an overview of the sorts of things I will be looking into.


1930s style library data

Whilst doing research I came across these wonderful data graphics from the 1930s. They take information about certain aspects of specific books and present them in this way. The graphics use a very limited colour scheme and what appears to be hand drawn visuals and typography. Each piece is very detailed and intricate. Although the style is quite outdated, I very much like these designs, and when I looked into the concepts behind each one I think they could be used as a resource to help inspire my visuals.


the most famous book set in every state This data graphic I find very interesting. It shows each state in North America and within each region is the front cover of the most popular novel that was set in that state. For example, ‘To Kill In Mockingbird’ – a novel set in Alabama, is the most popular literary piece that is set in that state. I like the way the graphic has used the front covers of the books for the map, and then has a reference of all the states and which book is set where.


bibliophilia

I decided to look a little bit into bibliophilia, the love or collection of books as it seems relevant to my data which is all about my collection of books. Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. Accordingly a bibliophile is an individual who loves books. A bookworm (sometimes pejorative) is someone who loves books for their content, or who otherwise loves reading. The -ia-suffixed form “bibliophilia” is sometimes considered to be an incorrect usage; the older ”bibliophilism” is considered more correct. The adjective form of the term is bibliophilic. In essence the aim of my final outcome is to contain some elements of bibliophilia, alongside categorisation, statistics and other such types of data.


mind maps on approaches

Here I have done a couple of mind maps just to sum up the two ways I’m going to approach the data visualisation of my book collection. From here on I will look at further influential artists, and create some sketches and start making some composites of how I want to visualise my data.


build - scale series Although not directly linked to my concept for the Data Visualisation Project, we were directed in our seminar to look at this series of work by London design firm Build. The designs for these look very minimalistic – something I admire in design because there is a nice concept behind the simplicity of these images. The different coloured circles represent the moon, sun, planets etc that are scaled down to the size of the canvas. For example, the Mars image is an accurate representation of the planet scaled down by 1:15244637. data.


data visualisation from the guardian Upon browsing through this section of the site, I came across this interesting data visualisation graphic on Charles Dickens novels. Created to commemorate the Dickens 200th anniversary, the team went against all of their literary instincts and tried to reduce Dickens to numbers. The results were fascinating and revealed that there just might be s secret formula at work in the great man’s work. Published on The Guardian and shared around the world this infographic is a great example of using data to tackle a well-known subject in a fresh and new way. Here I have drawn a few roughs to give myself a brief idea of layout and composition and the types of things I will include in my designs.


first attempt at solid designs

Here is my first attempt at creating the composites based on my idea.


visual editions

Visual Editions are Book Publishers from London. Their main aim is to publish books that are unique and have a different way of telling stories or getting a message across. They call it ‘visual writing’. I love the finished look of these books and the incorporation of retro graphics in what they aim to be contemporary books. Their layout and physicality of each book is presented in a somewhat distinguishable way, which you can see in the photographs of their work.


barcode bookshelf

This is an experimental piece I did for the data visualisation brief. I picked out some of my favourite design books and, using a ISBN code generator, produced these barcodes. I then developed the barcodes into this design which is supposed to resembled a bookshelf, and each different barcode is a book – which can be scanned using the Amazon mobile app. The app has a feature where you scan a barcode and it comes up with the product page on Amazon. Scanning these barcodes should take you to each individual book – although I may have to perfect it slightly because it was a bit touch and go!


print & publication map

Here I have done another visual experiment which contains a sample of my data – I looked at the print and publication books of 20 books I own and plotted them on a map, with relevant colour coding. The concept is quite simple but it’s a nice way of visualising one aspect of my data. I hope to do this for the whole collection and another one for the locations in which the fiction books I own are set.


catalogging a collection of books When a collection of books is big enough to become a library, it is helpful to catalog it. Organise into fiction, non-fiction Assign each category of books a letter Identify each book by title, author, publisher and location Check the bibliography in one of the books to use as a model A print out will become useful to note where each category lies Write or input the data Alphabetise the data Use a computer Once the catalog is there, making an update will be a simple alteration Check professional sources Be thorough – there is no such thing as too much information. The process of assembling a catalog of your personal library is methodical Libraries catalog their books by the following methods: Author, Title, Keyword, Class, Series, ISBN Number, Dewey Decimal system


thought development The barcode generation went down really well and I should develop this further (as the example I showed only contained a sample of my data). This can be done by altering and analysing the design, adding typography etc. The maps were not as good of a design concept wise. As the project is very personal it needs another side developing to it in order to make it more conceptual. Therefore as an extension to my personal data analysis, I will try to design a website – the idea of the website is to be an extension of Amazon or perhaps a software similar to Spotify which catalogues people’s book collections. It will show things such as what people are currently reading, allow them to scan in books they have that will go into their catalogue, and be an online social experience where you can review books, look at other people’s collections etc. For this I could develop a name, logo and header to be included in the design of the website. I will do some experimentation and drawings to aid this design. The personal designs need a format rather than just being single designs. I will consider perhaps incorporating the designs into a book or on the website somehow. They could perhaps be developed into more of a narrative. I have done some rough sketches to try and decide how I am going to approach these designs.


design refinement Here I have started to create these designs in Photoshop. I tried a few variations of colour to see what would work best. I have also considered materials that I could use for the outcome of the design – I’m thinking print based, handmade booklet.


I have created a few more designs for the Data Vis project – these are them for now. These are not the final designs, they will be developed slightly. More importantly, I have collected more data to make the collection more widespread and interesting. Some other thoughts I’ve had are to develop a logo for the book title – which will also feature on the web design that I create (sketches to come soon).


further design refinement I was not happy with the outcome of my designs so I decided to enhance them - I cleaned up the look, got a nicer house style and a more finished and legible edge for them. I made a total of eight designs which I can be printed in the book and used for the stylising of the web layout.


logo development for book/website I decided to create a logo that will be used for both the website and the book. I played around with different layouts, fonts and concepts until I was happy with the result.


This is the finalised logo. I used a medium point, lower case sans serif font and appropriate colours that complimented the existing amazon colour scheme.


another re-think After analysing my current designs it was brought to my attention that they still need improvement. The designs I have are too much like data graphics rather than a clear cut visualisation of data - many of them simply display facts rather than showing a diagram of some sort that you can draw a conclusion from. Therefore, I will start sketching out new ideas using the data I have and continue my research - hopefully this will improve the outcome of my designs.


nicholas felton

Nicholas Felton is a New York based designer and Product Designer at Facebook. These designs are selected from his annual personal reports regarding several aspects of his life. The designs are incredibly intricate and detailed and have inspired me to delve further into my data to pull something visual like this from the information I collcected.


edward tufte

I was lucky enough to be loaned two books by Edward Tufte - one of which, - ‘The Visual Display of Quantitive Information’ and ‘Envisioning Information’ - both an in depth look at how to accurately create visuals for a set of data. The books are a visual collection of statistical graphics, charts, tables. Not only this, they include theory and practice involving the creation and design of data graphics. They also present designs showing the format of high-resolution displays and give directives on how to edit and improve data graphics. Wonderful books and a useful aid to my development.


new designs Here I have started to look at different methods of visualising my data. I created a bubble comparison chart where the circles are equivalent to the percentage value of each data set. They are also colour coded for easy visual distinction.


colour scheme & bubble comparison

I have chosen a colour code specifically to use throughout my designs. This is to make my designs appear consistent and give them a more finished look. The colour code will also compliment the chosen house style.


semi-polar grid radars

Here are screenshots of a visualisation technique I plan to use for one of my data sets. I created these polar grids in Illustrator. The coloured lines represent the number of pages. Each stem on the radar represents one of 97 books I have read from my collection. The circles show how many pages each book has.


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I developed this idea further by making it more clear where the points lay within the quantity of pages this was done simpy by labelling the points on the radars. Along with the key that will feature on the bottom of the poster, it should be clearer what this image is trying to depict. ¢œœ


tree maps These diagrams are called tree maps. Using the same colour coding and scheme, I developed my own to show each category of data but also, using a texture I split each aspect into male and female authorship ratio.


survey results


Here are the results from an online survey I sent out to 18 - 21 year olds on Facebook to look at reading trends amongst the student age group. The questions were all based on the aspects of data that I had collected. These results will be used in my final designs as part of the collection.


final designs After many different designs and development, I have finally come to six solid designs which I feel are a good way of visually representing my data. To do this I have used a different technique for each poster that I feel is visually interesting enough and that ties down the meaning I want to get across with my data. I came up with a title for each design and used a specifically chosen colour scheme through so as to be consistent. I am much happier with these designs; I think they look more detailed and sophisticated compared to my first attempts. I also added an interactive element to one of the posters - this was developed from one of my previous ideas (barcode bookshelf) which I incorporated into one particular poster where you can scan the barcodes to find out my most read books in the data set. The final poster is a series of web designs which I had the idea to create as an off shoot of the amazon book section of the website - a book cataloging service.


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