Nadieh Bremer and Shirley Wu are wondrous eccentrics. Their splendid book is the product of a collaborative experimental project, Data Sketches, that might be one of the first exponents of an emerging visualization orthodoxy in which uniqueness is paramount and templates and conventions are viewed with scepticism.
What a rare treat it is for Shirley and Nadieh to share their process so openly! We see not only the technical work—prototyping with real data, riffing from examples—but the circuitous emotional journey from rough concept to polished final product. Shirley and Nadieh are honest, entertaining, and insightful in their retrospectives. For anyone interested in visualization, their stories are a powerful lesson of how designs can be shaped to communicate effectively and with intent. And their openness and humility make the practice less intimidating, inviting newcomers to get started.
The Data Sketches collaboration is a glorious tour de force: two people spur each other along a remarkable spiral of visualization creativity, and let the rest of us come along for the ride! Nadieh and Shirley share their sketches and code, experiments and explorations, reflections and realizations, eurekas and backtracks, and infectious enthusiasm. They each bring a unique vector, voice, and style to the 12 project topics; what unites them is deep technical chops and a superlative eye for design.
This book brings the perfect blend of ingredients together for a nourishing recipe of inspiration and knowledge beneficial to beginners and experienced practitioners alike. Nadieh and Shirley are generational talents. Through their data visualisation work they relentlessly exhibit a wide spectrum of capabilities across the creative, editorial, analytical, and technical dimensions. Above all, they are wonderful communicators. They know how to skilfully communicate to audiences through data. And now, through this book, they share detailed stories of their process giving us the privilege of learning what, why and how they do what they do.
Nadieh Bremer and Shirley Wu’s Data Sketches collaboration is a great example of what you can do with data visualization beyond a standard chart. They show that visualization can be both useful and beautiful. They show the many possibilities when you put thought into the data and the visuals. The best part of Data Sketches is that Bremer and Wu documented their processes, so that you can learn the tools they used, the messiness of the data, and how they get over the bumps along the way.
Written in an approachable, first-person angle, this book is a delightful behind-the-scenes look at the process for creating any sophisticated data visualization. It provides many personal tips for every stage of development, from data collection and analysis, to sketching and final production. The authors have done a tremendous job in demystifying a normally opaque practice. They made it seem so easy you will want to start on your own project right away.
The story behind the magic is sometimes the most magical. Data Sketches is a landmark event in data visualization. Finally, Shirley Wu and Nadieh Bremer reveal how they brought it to life.
Go with two of the world’s best interactive makers deep behind-the-scenes. See how it works—and all the drafts it took to get there. Learn from many comparisons: between Wu and Bremer and across the trajectory of their twenty-four stories. After immersing yourself in Data Sketches you will emerge inspired.
As an educator focused on computational media, I consistently point students towards Shirley and Nadieh's work for inspiration. I am so thrilled and excited that they've synthesized years of hard work and exploration into Data Sketches, which is now my go-to resource for coders interested in creative expression and storytelling with data!
The work of Nadieh Bremer & Shirley Wu is some of the most beautiful and exciting data visualization work being done today. They bring incredible aesthetics to complex data to enlighten and evoke joy in their audiences. In Data Sketches we get to see some of their best, most personal work and, more than that, we get their explanation of what inspired them and how they accomplished such amazing work. This book is a treat for both the eye and the mind.
Lay-chart readers cannot appreciate the expertise and thousands of decisions that go into a single visualization, but this wonderful behind-the-scenes peek reveals how there is never just one “right” answer, but many possible answers — each of them beautiful, provocative, and shaped by the unique lens of its creator.
Nadieh and Shirley both think, design, code, and create outside of the box; we have much to learn from them and Data Sketches, one of the most prolific and creative data-visual collaborations in recent memory.