Project 05 – Infovisualization (initial homework)

(FINAL PRINT DUE OCT 25. More of the project will be explained next week.)

Read this short article for class Monday.

Choose a dataset – textual, image or otherwise – of a substantial size. Devise a query of your set that you can carry out manually or with computer aid, a query that produces between 25 and 50 results. Then design at least 3 secondary queries that you can pose of those results.

Bring to class your dataset, your query, your three sub-query questions. In class, we’ll design a visualization that reflects the answers to this query and subquery.

Some examples would include:

DATASET: The Holy Bible, King James Version
QUERY: Where does the word “measure” appear?
SUB QUERY 01: What book does it appear in?
SUB QUERY 02: What is being measured?
SUB QUERY 03: Is this for real?

DATASET: My Facebook friends
QUERY: Whom did I add just to be polite?
SUB QUERY 01: Where did I know this person from?
SUB QUERY 02: How many mutual friends do we have?
SUB QUERY 03: Would this person listen to Prince?

DATASET: Google Image search for “first”
QUERY: What are the top 40 results?
SUB QUERY 01: What color distribution is represented across these 40?
SUB QUERY 02: How would I categorize these images?
SUB QUERY 03: What words come after “first” for each one?

I’ll present in class some examples of how you might visualize these results, using Illustrator. We’ll have some time to sketch and begin working on the project.


Tech Session: Adobe Illustrator intro

Create a New Document ( FILE >> NEW )
– set size and orientation

Create some basic shapes
– rectangle
– circle
– click and drag to set size
– shift-click and drag to keep proportional/square
– double-click: manually set specific size

Alter the shapes
– color, stroke
– Selection Tool
– Move
– rotate
– scale (shift scale)
– copy, paste (EDIT >> COPY or EDIT >> PASTE)
– undo (EDIT >> UNDO or command-z)
– multiple select ( shift select)
– group / ungroup ( OBJECT >> GROUP )
– align

Advanced shapes
– Direct selection tool
– Pen tool (for angles and curves)
– Add anchor point, delete anchor point
– compound shapes

Grouping, ungrouping


Slicing, merging dividingshapes (for cropping especially)
– (pathfinder panel)

Placing images (sample image here)

Some sample rules

Here are some links to sample rule sets, from all over the map. More to come.

Project 04 – Instructional Graphics (the universal)

Instructional graphics attempt to distill visual communication to its smoothest, clearest form. Whenever possible, they avoid symbolic or indexical forms of representation, aiming for iconic imagery in the plainest sense – everything in a instructional graphic must not only look like the essence of the thing it represents, it must look like ALL instances of that thing.

For this project, you will create a series of instructional graphics that take us with great clarity and simplicity to summing up the most universal aspects of life. Select or invent four rules or slogans to follow for life – either separate rules, or an ordered set of four to follow – and create an instructional graphic for each.

You will output the results as a single poster, featuring your four instructional graphics, captions, and a title.

Your first step in this process is to decide on the following:

1 – Four “rules for life,” found or authored
2 – an idea for modeling/illustrating these four rules in an internally consistent, non-symbolic manner.

Once you’ve devised answers to these, you will create photographs for each of your four pictures, and then use them as guides for creating vector graphics.

Special Option

If you want to work with a partner, you can create a total of 6 instructional graphics for the same 6 “rules for life,” resulting in a single poster.


Mon 9/27 – final prints due for Project 03. Worksheets due for Project 04. tech demo for vector graphics
Wed 9/29 – have taken your photographs to use for Project 04. Bring to class for use in creating Vector graphics
Mon 10/4 – review work in process for Project 04. Review poster strategies
Mon 10/6 – final prints due

test post


Images for tech session 9/15

The Essay due read for 9/20

Travels in Hyperreality” (1975) by Umberto Eco

This influential essay is one of the most readable explorations of what has come to be thought of as the “postmodern” aesthetics of authenticity. (It’s long in page length, but goes quickly.)