Dear Data

Dear Data by Stefanie Posavec and Giorgia Lupi is not a book about conventional business charts and dashboards. This book delves into the personal data that describes the everyday lives of the authors, and all the visualizations are hand-drawn postcards, not computer-generated charts.

For 52 weeks, Stefanie and Giorgia present different aspects of their lives, offering two distinct and creative visualizations for each week. Dear Data is not a manual for creating charts in Excel, Power BI, or with D3. Neither is it a historical account of data visualization, a study on the psychology behind data visualization, a mathematical and statistical textbook, nor an exploration of how our brains perceive visual data. Instead, it stands as a source of pure inspiration.

Dear Data will encourage you to observe the data in your daily lives and to contemplate the myriad ways this data can be encoded into visual symbols such as lines, curves, circles, rectangles, and triangles. It also explores myriad ways these elements can be assembled into various forms, including arrows, flowers, and ornaments, using form, position, size, and color to encode the data.

While this book might not directly assist you in crafting a business report, it serves an important purpose. It aims to enhance your ability to perceive the data that surrounds you daily, guiding you to appreciate the diverse methods of transforming this data into visual narratives.

I like this book. However, it is placed on my bookshelf for everyone, including my children, to access. This is because it is a book about real people and real life, featuring charts that anyone can draw on a piece of paper without needing to learn Vega or D3.

And this book is about small data.

Small data is the new big data

It’s not about millions of computer-rendered dots representing “people” with no names and no souls, nor about their average behavioral patterns. It’s about a bunch of unique, hand-drawn visual elements that represent a real person, real life, real feelings, and real thoughts. It captures moments of meeting friends and smiling, moments of encountering new people and trying new things, and moments of being truly alive.

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