When a bar chart isn’t enough… Morph helps you turn data into art

Simon Rogers
Sep 24, 2018 · 3 min read

Sometimes a bar chart just won’t do. Sometimes you want to see data presented in a new way, a way it just hasn’t been shown as before.

That’s where Morph comes in.

Morph is a brand new tool, built by data studio Datavized, to allow anyone to create their own computer-generated data art project.

It’s the latest in our visualising data project, where we work with the world’s best newsroom designers, guided by Miami University’s Alberto Cairo, to experiment with how dataviz might look if we applied the latest technology to it.

Morph allows the user to take a basic dataset and turn it into generative art. The project is designed to allow anybody, whether or not they’re a coder, to experiment with shapes and colours, based on the data.

It’s an experiment designed to help us think about the shape of data and maybe come up with some new visual types that could be used to represent it. Sometimes the results will be easy to understand — and sometimes not.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose your data: either from a small sample provided or upload your own.

2. Check the data — I’ve chosen the world’s biggest cities.

3. Choose which design you want to play with, from a set of standard chart types.

4. Organise the values you want for x and y axis, as well as colours and labels.

5. Hit evolve and see the shape generate — or press ‘random’ to let the algorithm decide.

6. Choose one you like the look of to edit and then export.

And here’s a few I made, all with the same dataset. It’s a fun tool that really shows the variety of ways you can represent data as art.

The project code is on GitHub and we want you to play with new datasets — we’d love to see what you can do with it.

But most of all, have fun.

Simon Rogers is Data Editor at the Google News Lab and Director of the Data Journalism Awards.

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the…

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. The News Lab is Google's effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology

Simon Rogers

Written by

Data journalist, and Data Editor at Google. Launch editor of Guardian Datablog. Author, Facts are Sacred http://t.co/bL5erqoI7z. All views my own

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. The News Lab is Google's effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store