Summer Project – Dear Wendy & David

Over the summer break we’ve been tasked with a project which focuses on Information Design. The project takes inspiration from Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s Dear Data Project. I decided to start my research by looking into this year long project and the ideas and thoughts behind each design.

Dear Data was a year long project which allowed these two designers to get to know each other through the data they sent on a postcard each week. Each week they would collect their personal data which would be set around a common topic, then created these postcards with the data on the front and they code of how to read the data on the back. In the video by Somerset House (2016) both Lupi and Posavec talked about how the project made them more aware of their personal surroundings & habits. I think this is important as a designer because being aware of everything that it going on in the world means that you’re not in the dark about anything. As part of my research I listened to a keynote where both Lupi & Posavec gave a talk about their Dear Data Project. I liked how they acknowledged that these data sets aren’t all perfect, some are messy and they say that imperfection is a sign of exploration. I think this is important for me to remember when creating my own data postcard as part of the project.

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I looked at all of the postcards produced as part of the project by Giorgia and Stefanie. I found it interesting to see how all of the postcards each week we’re different, no two were the same. Some used more geometric shapes while others are simply lines. These are definitely going to be my visual inspiration for the project. One that I particularly like is Giorgia’s week 32: a week of sounds postcard. I think that it’s clever how she’s visualised the data like a music score. The fact that they are hand rendered gave this personal data an even more personal touch. 

After researching into the Dear Data project itself I thought that I should research into what information design is. We haven’t had a project like this before and I know very little about information design. According to SEGD (2014) “Information Design is the practice of presenting information in a way that makes it most accessible and easily understood by users.”  Information Design also overlaps with experiential and environmental graphic design such as signage and visual displays. It also links to symbols on packaging which are meant to communicate to the audience something such as this product can be recycled or this item must be eaten within a certain time frame.

I also looked at examples of information design throughout history Information Design is closely related to the field of data visualisation which is important to note as some of the earliest forms of this type of design data back to 1869 with flow diagram by Charles Joseph Minard of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign (1812).  I also looked at Isotype which is a technique of visualising social statistics through pictorial means. It’s still used today as a form of showing information is a visual form. As well as looking at history I looked at more up to date information design projects.The Dots completed a information design project where they highlighted where all the street/graffiti art is on Brick Lane. This was a computer generated which was a big contrast from the work produced in the Dear Data Project. It just highlighted to me that information design can take many different forms, both hand rendered or Digital. I also looked further into some of Stefanie’s other work where she’s created installation and physical outcomes to display data to people. For future work this is worthing noting that information design doesn’t always have to be 2D.


References
Dear Data (2014) Dear Data. Available at: http://www.dear-data.com/theproject (Accessed: 10 July 2020)
Somerset House (2016) Big Bang Data: Dear Data. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqaVe1MCTlA&feature=emb_title (Accessed: 10 July 2020)
Visualised (2015) Giorgia Lupi & Stefanie Posavec – Dear Data: A friendship in data, drawing and postcards. Available at: https://vimeo.com/157474716 (Accessed: 10 July 2020)
SEGD (2014) What is Information Design? Available at: https://segd.org/what-information-design (Accessed:10 July 2020)
Isotype Revisited (2020) Isotype Collection. Available at: https://isotyperevisited.org/isotype-collection/ (Accessed: 10 July 2020)
The Dots (2020) Information Design. Available at: https://the-dots.com/projects/information-design-307576 (Accessed: 10 July 2020)
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