More charting.

Another quick exercise to get us thinking about how to visualise data. By doing it really quickly and using what is to hand is really useful because sometimes you can come up with quick yet effective ideas. I think this will come in useful later on when thinking of ideas/trying to experiment with different methods to come up with quick results to see what would work best.

We were put in teams and assigned a random topic. Ours was sports. As the only sporty one in the group everyone seemed to be a bit lost apart from me. But in reality, I realised you don’t necessarily need to know a great deal about the topic, as long as you have a vague direction the ideas can flow. This has made me think a bit about my topic of choice.. do I not want to do something completely random and out there and earn a lot about something new or should I play it a bit safe and stick to what I know?

Back to the point. Sport. We started brainstorming some ideas as to what we could do:
- Most attractive sportsman?
- Most popular sport?
- The amount of calories consumed by sportsmen compared to different sports/ regular people?
- Amount of calories consumed compared to the amount burned by a sportsman?
We then decided to simplify this data because we found quite a lot of figures on it and decided to just find the average calories consumed by sportsmen of a range of sports. We then started to think how we could visualise calories. Our initial thoughts were some kind of food, then people, food with the equivalent weight of the calories burned, pizza, a pie chart made from actual pie and then this made us think of butter or lard. We decided on this because this is seen as a high calorie food.

We then thought about how we could use this – a butter bar chart. Which led to grease stains. Bearing in mind we only had half an hour we were beginning to panic that we were running out of time. Anyway we sent out some people to get butter and then we kind of split in 2.




Chris began to make a small bar chart, using thin paper to show the grease stains through, keeping it quite simple. I like the way the grease marks work but they aren’t clear enough. He later wrote on the data needed, like the axis and scale but we decided that in reality, it looked better in its most simple form. The information just cluttered it up, in someone that believes in the simplicity of design anyway I agree with this testament in general anyway, but in this case less was definitely more. So we decided take this theory onto the big version. 


A close up of the data. We smeared the butter onto black thick paper so the grease wouldn’t spread through the paper. Because the butter stuck on top of the paper we were able to carve the figures into the butter. Personally I think this works really effectively close up and eliminates the need for a big axis down the side of the page which in this case would be quite distracting. We did try a ribbon (to mirror the stereotypical start line) as an axis but it pulled away from the data, which was obviously the main feature.


I don’t think that this does the chart justice. It worked better in person because you could see the butter in detail and the data sets carved in as well. Overall we were pretty happy with it considering the time restrictions. It showed us how quickly it can be achieved if you just dive in an almost don’t think about it.

I liked the end result, but we could have done it butter. 

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