Rick Morris – Inspiration

The biggest takeaway I had from watching Rick Morris’ “Creative Inspiration” is that he is an absolute gold mine of fantastic inspirational quotes. The one thing that is obvious is that his passion for life and his passion for design are one in the same and perhaps this is where his success stems from. He said it himself that he doesn’t see there being a separation between the personal and professional life. Here are some of my takeaways:

“If I surround myself with art its because thats what I’m keen on, thats what I’m curious about, thats what I’m forever interested in and its the same way a singer would surround themselves with music I suppose.”

“Its my personal diary of life.” (speaking of his personal drawings that he continues even past is professional work)

“You need some point of origin to anchor onto and from there you just kind of like spread out.”

“When motion blew up on the scene it was so liberating.” (speaking to how it was always implied in print, but hard to actually show)

And my personal favorite:

“Its like a perpetual style treadmill…a dog chasing its tail…I try to stay outside of that. I think my one source that I go back to, the center of it all, is that you need to have a passion and I think you need to have at least one true love, whether its in your relationship or the things you pursue or how you feel about life and you know the people you are involved with.”

The last takeaway I have from Morris piece is not necessarily related to his words, but to the space that he surrounds himself in. The piece is done in his home and it is clear that in every nook and cranny he is surrounded by art, in all forms and fashions. There is such varient in the texture, colors, and mediums seem to provide him constant inspiration. He says himself that “every fundamental of design is somewhere.” I don’t consider myself quite the artists that he is, but I do see value in surrounding yourself with inspiration that you are drawn to and I think it is important moving forward in my professional and personal life. Overall, I think Morris is inspirational himself because of his passion for life, which to him is design.

Interactive Infographic Part Two

As a group project we had to create an interactive infographic in our Visual Aesthetics class. Our group was given the category of economic figures to choose from. We settled on a comparison of the Great Depression to the current Recession in the categories of unemployment  stock market collapses, and housing values. Our design goal was to create a contrast of new to old with the comparison of the data on each page. Check out the final version here.

I think the success of this project was the overall professional look of the work and the visualization of the unemployment rates in particular. I think there are a few design inconsistencies in the piece like color schemes matching and I also think that the housing page could use a bit more development. On the whole I think it shows progress and is successful at visualizing the data.

Visualization as an artform

I think there are a lot of takeaways from the video “Journalism in the Age of Data.” The biggest I found was that data visualization often allows users to find new trends and connections in both complicated and simple data because they are using their visual sense in a new and different way. I definitely found resonance in this statement because often it is hard to find meaning in numbers. Even those who understand the numbers and know they are powerful struggle getting that across. It seems that visualization allows the data to tell its story. Something I almost missed in the video was text on a slide in the background of one scene, “Visuals are cognitively efficient.” I think this is definitely the best summary of the the data visualization field. Looking at raw data takes a lot of human processing power, but when it is boiled down into a visualization it requires a lesser amount of processing. I think this also speaks to another point of the video in that visualizations successfulness is measured in two ways, their aesthetics and their ease of understanding or using the above terminology, their cognitive efficiency. The key to these two seems to be found in both pulling in the user/audience and engaging them.

This all being said, it is also clear that making this happen effectively is an artform in itself. Making the visualization aesthetically appealing, easy to understand, and narratively rich is the task, but giving equal execution to each is the challenge and where the artform is created. All of the designers in the video seemed to stress these three points and also that the current multimedia landscape is allowing the three to marry better, most notably through motion graphics rather than static visualizations. It will be interesting to watch and see where this industry goes and how data visualizations will be used in news stories and elsewhere around the web to effectively tell the story and create open understanding.