Design 4

Stefanie Posavec

“When envisaging a typical data visualizer at work, you’d probably conjure up images of a person slaving over rows of numbers and wrangling spreadsheets. But Denver-born and London-based data designer Stefanie Posavec is of a different breed. Rather than simply turning a set of numbers into an information graphic, she finds data in things we wouldn’t normally associate with this type of information.

She calls this ‘hidden data’, and it could be found in something as unexpected as a novel or a song lyric. Take her Literary Organism series she completed as part of her MA at Central Saint Martins. Armed with a set of highlighters and a ballpoint pen, she set about colour coding, reconstructing and presenting Kerouac’s seminal On the Road in an entirely new way. Each sentence and paragraph was highlighted a different colour based on subject and sentence length. With this information, like the anatomy of a flower, the book was transformed into a graphic design of beautiful and detailed florets. Part One is broken into chapters, chapters into paragraphs, paragraphs into sentences, and sentences divide into words…”
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(Pr) Stefanie Posavec from Protein® TV on Vimeo.

Learn more about this designer’s work at

Examples of her work

Highlighted pages from On The Road, by Jack Kerouac

All of the sentences in On the Road are represented here by the lines, but have been organised according to the number of words per sentence. The sentences are colour-coded according to theme.

As a designer she uses data to uncover both unexpected information by asking questions that may not seem to hold much promise, but in fact reveal both beautiful information and unexpected knowledge.

The book Rhythm Textures was created to examine in depth this method of visualising rhythm and punctuation within writing. Three chapters from On the Road were represented, one sentence per page. The paper used was transparent, allowing the reader to examine each sentence alone, while also being able to see this sentence in situ with its surrounding text.

The Writing Without Words book explains two approaches to analysing On the Road: the Literary Organism patterns and the Sentence Drawings.

Below is a further exploration of this idea of Rhythm and texture in a poster format.
Exploring ways of visually representing sentences by using their punctuation to create circular diagrams. Each word is represented by a line, and the thickness of the lines (and the space between the lines) radiating outwards from the center point provides a record of the pauses and empasis created by the punctuation.

Take a look at this elaborate information graphic comparing left vs right wing politics in the United States. It was created by Posavec in collaboration with the folks at Information is Beautiful

Learn more about this designer’s work at


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This entry was posted on 2012 February 28 by in Art, Artist, Data, Data Visualization, Design, Designer, Graphic Design, Information Design, Interesting.

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Welcome to the Design 4 Blog

This blog is for inspiration and education related to the Parsons Design 4 Information Design and Visualization course taught by Andrew Robinson. The objectives of this class are to help students in the Strategic Design Studies program to learn how to create effective information design as a tool for communication. Beauty in form and function, which communicates ideas effectively, is our goal.
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