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visual data
learning, conceptualizing + communicating data with infographics, visualizations, etc...
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Data + Design: the Case for Creating Visualizations by Hand

Data + Design: the Case for Creating Visualizations by Hand | visual data | Scoop.it

Programs like Photoshop and Illustrator prompt perfection by bringing mathematics to bear on our inexact lines, make perfect circles out of our warbly loops, and create the exact #xxxxxx for our pixelated palettes.

While technology plays a big role in the data visualization world, it can come at a loss of variation: the unique stories that only our own hands can tell.

For designers and journalists, there are a number of good reasons to design by hand...


Last week, Pratt-educated street typographer Pablo A. Medina gave a lecture at New York’s Type Directors Club. His fonts — Cuba, Vitrina, North Bergen — are as irregular as the signs from which they hail. It’s an irregularity Medina acquiesces to in his artwork, in which he paints new messages using old, found fonts. Handmade designs are more personal, more expressive, more fun.

He’s not the first to notice. Famous artists like Greg Lamarche and Margaret Killigan, as well as underground grafitti artists around the world have all realized the beauty of creating by hand. It’s not perfect — and that exactly is the point.


In general, creating graphics the old-fashioned way is great for those who have not yet mastered software, and it enables more freedom of movement and, by extension, expression.

Even if you are too afraid to let a little bit of yourself out when designing data visualizations, mock up creations by hand. Designing visualizations this way can still be faster and have fewer limitations...


Read further to learn more about how creating images by hand saves time, electricity, and unnecessary labor, while allowing more opportunities for creative exploration and expression.

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Data Visualization Techniques for Those Who Can't Draw

Data Visualization Techniques for Those Who Can't Draw | visual data | Scoop.it
In a post called, “Data Visualization and Data Art Continuum” the author quotes Stephen Few, a highly regarded data visualization expert:

“There is a distinction between data visualization (“the goal that data be visualized in a way that leads to understanding”) and data art (“visualizations of data that seek primarily to entertain or produce an aesthetic experience”).”

What he means is that there is a difference between eye candy infographics that are not conveying insights – and visualizing data. There is a tension between art/graphic design skills and visualization of ideas, insights, and concepts. He comes to the conclusion that: “There is no data visualization without graphic design and no data art without data.” I think there is a subtle distinction between “visual thinking” and drawing skills. Visualization of data requires visual thinking to be meaningful and you don’t need to be Picasso to be a good visual thinker and share your ideas in a drawing.

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Beth Kanter's comment, June 3, 2012 4:46 PM
Thanks for the rescoop.