Making the invisible visible

Data: a sample/number
Information: putting data in context
Knowledge: Information that has been published is the truth, accurated and believed

Last week we have talked about what makes a good piece of data visualisation, which is accurate, story and knowledge.

Beside “ASK”, the layout of the design is also vital to data visualisation. This week we were asked to summarise the key point from the Lev Manovich article, “5 Minute Guide: Graphic Design Princiles for Information Visualisation.

In the article, he mentioned 7 algorithims we have to pay attention to when designing information visualisation, they are:

1.Modern Design = systematic use of only a few options for each visual attribute
This is a very common design principles, in order to make the design clear, it is important to keep it simple, for example, using not more than 3 font sizes and maximum 4 colours.

2. Connect visual attributes with the semantics
When we are trying to put different set of data on one sheet, we can use different colour or fonts to distinguish them.

3. Color
Matching color is difficult, espeically when the data is complex, more colour might need to be used, we can use some reference website like “colour palette” to generate a set of colour gives similar feeling.

4. Fonts
Use only one font family.

5. Grid
It is important when we do a number of visualisation.

6. Take away everything which is not essential
One common mistake designer always have is being greedy, we don’t add element to make it pretty but with a reason.

7. Find an a well-designed visualization and apply its design to your own visualization
Looking at more reference design can give us idea on visualizating data by applying what the older works have done well to our design.


Simulation shows how your mouth works when you talk by NATHAN YAU


Above is a visualistion work by Nathan Yau. In his work, he visualized the how our voice  change when different part of tissue moved in our month. His work is interesting and interactive, the whole layout are simple that we can only find 4 colours which is white, light pink, pink, dark pink, and one font family. Also, he tried to make the design look like a 2D diagram of our mouth, which is very playful but simple.

Manovich, L. (2012). 5 Minute Guide: Graphic Design Principles for Information Visualization. [online] Google Docs. Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2017].
Yau, N. (n.d.). Simulation shows how your mouth works when you talk. [online] FlowingData. Available at: [Accessed 4 Mar. 2017].