Data Visualisation – How do you see the world?


Since the dawn of the first human, and throughout recorded history, our race has collected data to quench our insatiable thirst for knowledge. From the Neanderthal cave paintings of the past to the unwritten tweets of the future information from which we can draw knowledge is everywhere. When we consider our existence in this way data visualisation then becomes an incredibly powerful tool for enhancing our understanding. Whether it is a plotted graph displaying complex statistics or an infographic, like the one below demonstrating a Cab Double Cork 1440 (aka The YOLO flip), everything becomes easier to understand when it is broken down visually (Reas & McWilliams, 2010).

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(The YOLO flip, n.d.).

The foundation of the image makes use of the ‘dynamic map’ technique (Reas & McWilliams, 2010, p.141); setting out a linear plain on which the viewer can follow the move from right to left in sequential order as if following the snowboarder himself. With a basic understanding already occurring subconsciously, given our instinctive familiarity with a map, the image is then able to break down the process of the otherwise complicated trick using a ‘time-series’ visualisation (Reas & McWilliams, 2010, p. 135). By taking a series of images in constant motion and overlaying them we are able to gauge better the overall process at each individual point from beginning to end.

The turn of phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ has never been more apt.



Reas, C., & McWilliams, C. (2010). Form + code in design, art, and architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

The YOLO flip [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from






First things first – Manifesto or Manifestation?

The First things first manifesto 2000 is, on face value at least, a concise and well thought out piece that aims to re-establish designers as legitimate artists and more than just commercial marketing tools. Beneath the surface of this call to arms for designers everywhere however – or at least those, the undersigned, of the manifesto – the root cause of the authors’ issues seem to hinge more on a lack of personal recognition. Further evidence, provided by Michael Bierut (2007), even goes as far as to identify the 33 signatories of the manifesto as part of the “cultural elite” and questions whether or not they have ever even participated in any form of design for the corporate machine that they so detest.

“A Cynic, then, might dismiss the impact of the manifesto as no more than that of witnessing a group of eunuchs take a vow of chastity.” (Bierut 2007, p. 55)

Speaking in broad general terms it cannot be denied that the design industry as a whole has been impacted by globalisation and become another cog in the corporate machine. It also cannot be denied that a piece, similar to the First things first manifesto 2000, does hold some merit in helping to create a more harmonious public discourse for design as an industry. For this to be achieved, however, those who are writing it must do so from the front lines of design and not from an ivory tower.


Emigre 51. (1999). First things first manifesto 2000. Retrieved from

Bierut, M. (2007). Ten footnotes to a manifesto. In M. Bierut (2007), 79 short essays on design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.