Making a Case for Data Sketching, Analog Visualization, and Prototyping

Sketching data by hand, either for a prototype or for making analogue visualizations, has its benefits. Many people spend a long time working on the code of the visualization and trying to get it to work without questioning whether a specific model is the best way to present their information. Testing prototypes by hand can be quick and relatively painless compared to starting with code right away. And, it’s important to remember that many highly successful visualizations are never coded but drawn or physically built.

Data artists like Stefanie Posavec, Giorgia Lupi, Federica Fragapane, and Mona Chalabi are well known for their hand-drawn visualizations. Analogue methods have allowed them to create truly novel works, rather than trying to fit information into existing chart forms that may be inadequate for the story you want to tell.

This section will offer a few perspectives from makers on data sketching.

A Few Perspectives from the Field

Read Further

  • If you are interested in “digital” versions of free-form sketching, you might explore Charticulator and Data-Illustrator, two digital-drawing-specific tools, the Data Ink white paper on the value of free from drawing.