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

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.