Data and Design How-tos

Data, design and activism: Notes on what we've learned so far

Data & Design how-tos Note 1: Where is your evidence? Published every few weeks on this site, Data & Design How-Tos will be full of observations and advice on data and design in activism. We'll try to show its inner workings, covering topics such as how to get data, how to organise it, how to tell stories with data. We'll also look at the security and ethics of working with data, along with publishing how-tos about choosing media formats, visual styles and aesthetics... continue reading

Note 1: Where is your evidence?

100s of photographs of Indian women's clothing on hangers, text messages recording street based violence, a collection of plastic objects dug out from the carcass of an albatross chick. They are all types of evidence that have become the basis of unusual and arresting visual advocacy campaigns. This Note looks at how to bring evidence into your advocacy... continue reading.

Note 2: Data basics

Data & Design how-tos Note 2: Data basics Activists and journalists will need to find data and join the dots together themselves: only rarely will the complete picture land on their desks. They need to seize opportunities and often work with very limited resources. In this Note we look at some practical starting points for collecting and working with data and look at basic, robust technologies that can help you out ... continue reading.

Note 3: Opening open data

Whether easily obtained from public sources or not, the biggest challenge for activists is still to do something useful and effective with the data they can get. In this third Note on Data and Design, we offer three complimentary takes on how to do this... continue reading.

Note 4: Visualisation basics - the three 'gets'

Visualisation can be used to help understand and communicate about any issue, but it's hard to do well. In this Data and Design How-to Note we discuss why visualisation is useful, and introduce a simple framework for presenting evidence visually ... continue reading.

Note 5: Get the idea

Funny, taboo-breaking and sometimes horrifying, some visuals pass on just enough evidence to help people get the idea. We look at the six key visualisation techniques for creating strong, simple and memorable information products that can bring your campaign to the attention of a broad audience... continue reading.

Note 6: Get the Picture

The Trouble with Metrics ReportsIn this Note, we'll help you escape the tyranny of the 60-page report. Clear and compelling stories can be told using high-quality data. They can increase people’s understanding and focus attention on the most pressing or revealing aspects of your issue. We'll look at how to craft stories, create visual executive summaries that alter your audience's perceptions. We'll also look a what makes good (and bad) infographics... continue reading.

Note 7: Get the details

Some people want all the data - the detail. In this Note we look at how to give the detail of everything between the “known knowns” and the “unknown unknowns”. We look at the work of the artists Trevor Paglen and Ai Wei Wei in uncovering traces of secret worlds. We also consider the tactics used by people who are trying to reconstruct tragic histories, increase the transparency of supply chains and corporate spending ...continue reading.