Free Form

Our previous assignments have been characterized by either the data or the form being pre-determined. In this final visualization project you will choose both the subject matter and the ‘rules’ by which it will be visually represented.

Your projects should draw on both the standard language of information graphics used in your early assignments and the physically-embodied representations you have developed more recently. The key is let the data determine the spatial, spectral, or aural characteristics of your visualization.

First steps

In week 1 of this assignment, you are to come up with three potential topics. For each topic, bring to class:

  • a testable question that you will try to answer through your investigation of the data
  • rough pencil sketches of how you intend to graphically depict the data
  • links to potential data sources

The data you choose for this assignment could be based on your own empirical measurements, but there is a wealth of pre-formatted data available to you in various places on the net. As you research your topics, try adding the word ‘database’ to the end of your search query; you may be surprised at what’s already out there.

For instance, here are some interesting places to start poking around:
The Guardian’s spreadsheet collection
RISD Annual Summary PDFs
The CIA World Factbook
Thomas Pikketty’s economic data
Providence OpenData
NYC OpenData
Gapminder raw data