Drawing the Data Interface

A look at using pen and paper to design innovative data visualization interfaces

Boris Müller


Photos by author unless otherwise noted

DData visualization is one of the most exciting and experimental areas in digital design. Creating complex, meaningful, and visually intriguing images is a formidable challenge for every designer. By applying strategies from information design and generative design, it is possible to create data-driven visualizations that are both insightful and enticing. The work of designers like Moritz Stefaner, Nadieh Bremer, Kim Albrecht, and Stefanie Posavec (and many others) demonstrate the power of design-driven data visualizations.

Project Ukko — Seasonal wind predictions for the energy sector by Moritz Stefaner

A common critique of design-driven data visualizations is that the designer places themself between the image and its significance, suggesting that the design influences the way we interpret the data. However, as I have pointed out before, every form of visual representation — even the most boring bar chart — is a manifestation of cultural image production. Data visualizations are always cultural images. There are no “pure” forms of data visualizations, just more common and less common ones. If you look at the history of information visualization (I…