Numbers We Leave Behind: The Design behind Data-driven Self Portraiture

By Eugene Park.

Published by The International Journal of Visual Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the much-discussed applications of data visualization has been the analysis of personal data extracted primarily from social networking sites for the ultimate goal of understanding user behaviors. From Instagram uploads to Facebook “likes,” the archive of activities that people leave behind on the internet can be organized and analyzed in quantitative fashion in order to reveal behavioral patterns and nuances that may be difficult to detect otherwise. Moving beyond the complex algorithms behind these analytical endeavors are the various artists and designers who have used data as an artistic medium to create novel forms of self portraiture. From Nicholas Felton to Stefan Sagmeister, the expressive works from these designers have challenged the conventions behind the visual rhetoric and offered new possibilities of representing and disseminating personal data through the formal elements of graphic design. This paper expands from these examples to offer organizational strategies for curating personal data as a narrative experience that attempts to reframe the relationship that individuals have with their own digital traces.

Keywords: Graphic Design, Design Education, Data Visualization

The International Journal of Visual Design, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp.19-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 851.287KB).

Eugene Park

Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, College of Design, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN, USA

Eugene Park is a designer and educator. He earned his undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of California, San Diego. During his senior year in college, Eugene interned at NASA as an image analyst where he started to gain an interest in typography and information design. Realizing his lack of knowledge and experience in these fields, Eugene went back to school to study graphic design and received his M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design. He will be joining the College of Design at the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor focused in the area of information design.