As the CEO and founder of a creative interactive agency, I’m always excited about the possibilities of the ever-expanding digital world. But this week? I’m excited about the “real” world. You know, that place we see in those moments when we glance away from our screens.

The team at JESS3 recently experimented with using physical objects to add a new dimension to data visualization. We came up with the above graphic that tells a simple, easy-to-digest story about chocolate...using chocolate. It’s not complicated, but that’s what I think is so cool about it.

Limiting ourselves to what was immediately available to us (leftover Easter candy) gave us new creative freedom in our effort to make the intangible (data) more tangible. It also allowed us to answer the question: How do we connect with limited connectivity?

Okay, so the piece isn't entirely analog. One of the JESS3 designers did a great job of whipping the original photo into shape, but the point is this: there's something refreshing about stepping away from the computer and getting your hands dirty.

It works a different part of your brain, making you see and problem-solve in new ways. We didn’t just photoshop the bits of chocolate until they were perfect bars matching the percentages: we ran to the kitchen to find a knife sharp enough to actually cut the chocolate bit by bit. We learned that in the imperfect real world, it’s okay to eyeball it.

We're not alone in this endeavor. Our director of information design, Tiffany Farrant-Gonzalez, has this great Pinterest board full of real-life data visualizations, and I think everyone at JESS3 is a big fan of Moda24’s work.

With the addition of our “analog room” in our LA office, and the staple JESS3 scrappiness that may never leave us (no matter how big we get), I’m excited to see how getting back to basics can elevate all of our work.