Easy as Pie Chart

Behind the scenes of making the “Real Pie Chart”

Ivan Dianov
Published in
6 min readSep 25, 2019


Hi there! We are Kompany. We visualize data, build interfaces, and maintain a Telegram channel on the topic. This summer we had the pleasure of working on the very fun “Real Pie Chart” project for the amazing team from Stamen. Below I’ll tell the story of making it and share some takeaways to help other designers who work in small teams.


The Stamen team eats a pie or two every week. They call it “Pie Day Friday” and have carefully collected data about every pie eaten for more than a year. We were granted access to their Google spreadsheet containing all the details and were supposed to make something fun out of it. No specific goals.

The Process

I started sketching up ideas first, trying on crazy combinations of T-SNE, BioFabric, and On brodway:

There was an overwhelming number of ways to organize the data, but I wanted the project to be easy to understand. So I picked the simplest option possible: a timeline of pies.

But that wasn’t fun enough. We still had more data to depict! So I thought of user scenarios:

  • have a birds eye view to all the pies at once.
  • find out changes in the team taste.
  • learn more details about a specific pie.

So we needed to add filters at least!

The Fillters

No, the double “L” is not a mistake :–)

We decided we wanted to create a way for users to filter the data in order to view specific pies. There were two fields in the table: primary and secondary fillings. We knew we could make an adjacency matrix to filter out any combinations.



Ivan Dianov

Data visualization and user interface designer