a Data Visualization

La Lettura, preview of our visualizations. The entire collection can be found at our Flickr page

Within this collaboration we always aimed at opening new perspectives in the newspaper-editorial field, and higher aim at educating readers’ eyes to get familiar with new visual ways to convey the richness of the data stories we are telling rather than simplifying them.

Take your time!

We here try to push the boundaries of what visualization can do on data with multiple attributes and a high density: we are not going for simple diagrams to express basic concepts, we somehow instead embrace complexity.
We intend to deliver rich visual narratives able to maintain the nuances
of the data but still making all this different aspects and flavors
more accessible and understandable.

Painters in the making — explore the visualization here
The real Montalbano! — explore the visualization here
The future as foretold in the past — explore the visualization here

The clarity does not need to come all at once, however;
we also like the idea of providing several and consequent layers of exploration on the multiple dataset we analyze. We call it a “non-linear storytelling” where people can get lost in singular elements, minor tales, and last-mile textual elements within the greater visualization.

Nobels, no degrees — explore the visualization here
Geniuses, visualized — explore the visualization here

Anatomy of the process


The final fine-tuning of the piece is the necessary effort
required to please readers’ eyes:
a well-balanced image where negative space and light elements
play their role aesthetically.

Is the process always so linear? Obviously, the answer is no.
It is a constant iteration of explorations and a mixture of different approaches we can start to resolve the design problem with; with the constant goal in mind to allow people understand the stories, or, better said: see the stories.

The Brain Drain — explore the visualization here
From first published to masterpieces — explore the visualization here

Embracing complexity

Consequently, we like to think at these kind of data visualizations we presented as visual ways to convey the richness, the involvement and feelings (being engagement or concern) that we experience in our everyday lives rather than simplifications of the world.

And, as in the physical world, aesthetics plays an important role in shaping people’s reactions and responses to any products, acting as the bridge between it and people’s emotion and feeling.

Verdi and Wagner — explore the visualization here

How far can we go?

To us, elegance is not only beauty and prettiness, our intention is to make things not just understandable but also appealing, conveying the information in an effective way but also catching the attention (the eyes!) of the particular audience we are creating it for, as a trigger to their curiosity,
and to the willingness to explore the piece.

Atlases of world history — explore the visualization here

Many times standard visual models like bar charts, scatter plots, regular timelines and maps are the best way to convey data and messages indeed.
To us, that doesn’t mean they are “an end”, though.
We here simply believe that keeping on exploring the realm of possibilities in the representation of information, could lead up to refining and perfecting the core of this “science”, of this field, even passing through failures and mistakes.

My reign for a (solved) paradox — explore the visualization here

Drawing the parallel with arts such as painting and music through centuries we know how much these disciplines have been able to constantly re-invent themselves even when a reinvention was not strictly necessary, opening new worlds and possibilities. The interesting question to us here is: how far we can go?

Our full collection for La Lettura can be found here

Partner @pentagram Co-author of Dear Data (@_deardata). @TEDtalks speaker.