Stefanie Posavec is a designer for whom data is her favoured material, with work ranging from data visualization and information design to commissioned data art for a variety of clients. Her personal work focuses on non-traditional representations of data derived from language, literature, or scientific topics, often using a hand-crafted approach. She likes to count and calculate by hand with her trusty mechanical pencil (Rotring, in case you're wondering).

Her work has been exhibited worldwide. In 2013, she was Facebook's first data-artist-in-residence at their Menlo Park campus. Her year-long collaboration with Giorgia Lupi called ‘Dear Data’ was nominated for the London Design Museum’s illustrious ‘Designs of the Year 2016’ exhibition, and a book of this project was published by Particular Books (Penguin Random House UK) and Princeton Architectural Press (USA). The original postcards and sketchbooks of Dear Data were acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in November 2016.
Workshop: Observe, Collect, Draw!


Giorgia and Stefanie (creators of the project and book Dear Data) are in the same city for once, and together they are teaching a very special data-drawing workshop! 

Data is the raw material from which a range of outputs such as data visualization, information graphics, and data-driven artworks are created. This material is often associated with heavy programming skills, complex software and huge numbers but in fact, lots of data visualization designers use old-fashioned sketching and drawing techniques on paper as their primary design tool. How would your approach and sensibility within a data project change if you started by working with charcoal and paper instead of code and screens? Starting a data project by sketching by hand introduces novel ways of thinking, and leads to designs that are uniquely customized for the specific type of data problems we are working with. Through this workshop, you will discover how to use data as a creative material to inform any kind of design, and discover a new way of seeing and engaging with our world, where everything and anything can be a creative starting point for play and expression. 

During the day we'll explore ways of using traditional methods and materials as a starting point for creating data-driven visual systems by taking techniques from the world of art and design and applying them to data. 

We will learn how to produce and create a dataset through observing the world around us: starting from a main question we will build our own data points filled with attributes from what we notice.

Finally, we'll think about the creation of a visualisation system through using a handmade design process, exploring variability in mark-making and material as a way to communicate information, and how to take visual inspiration from what you see to guide your data drawing: learning to see and to reproduce the aesthetic traits that attract our eyes to our surroundings and translate it into visual symbols.

By the end of this workshop, you'll both better understand the data visualization design process and also have access to a different starting process for working with data and shaping its aesthetic (even if you move onto your computer / into code at a later point!)

The entire workshop will be off-screen, using nothing more than basic drawing materials.

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate


• Why draw data? Why not use software and code?

Applying a creative approach to data visualization

• Learning to see data all around you, and to become a collector in your daily life
Learning how to produce / create a dataset, with attributes and categories
• Basic data analysis as part of the design process
Introduction to rule-based drawing as approach to creating a data visualization

• How to determine the architecture of your data-drawing
Anatomy of a data visualization

• Visual inspiration as a guiding principle

Data-drawing ‘Bootcamp’ (Intensive drawing session merging traditional drawing exercises with data to build creative confidence and push experimentation).

• Feel free to bring along any favorite drawing utensils!

Anoraks and the Analogue

Six years ago (!) I first spoke at Eyeo and said I wanted to learn to code and (spoiler alert) I still haven’t quite gotten around to it, instead moving in the opposite direction with the Dear Data project…ah, well. I’m using this talk to answer the following question once and for all: why do I find an analogue, pencil-driven process for data so compelling that I repeatedly come back to it?

I’ll investigate the various esoteric and ‘outsider’ data collection processes and data visualisations that have inspired me to see observing as a form of making/creating, exploring how it both influences my creative practice and also functions as a starting point for making the concept of data more accessible to a wider audience.

In short: a talk from an American immigrant in love with investigating British ‘anoraks’, trainspotters, ‘twitchers’, and Mass Observers, with a couple recent projects thrown in for good measure.