Have Data? Mine Its Meaning. Showcase The Results.

McCann’s Faris Yakob (who has one of the best hairdos in advertising) offers Ad Age readers “nine aphorisms for digital communication this year.”
Here’s one that I like:

Find new ways to see
The world is drowning in data. Digital interactions on every platform create vast swathes of numbers — and we need new ways of seeing to make any sense of them. Artists like Jonathan Harris and design group Stamen have broken new ground in the aggregation and display of data from the web. Brands like Fiat are using the same technology to show you how to drive more efficiently. We are going to be seeing many, many more visualizations this year.

Here’s a sample of Stamen’s work:
All the dots on the map are rollovers loaded with deeper information.
Also click over to The Whale Hunt by Jonathan Harris for the shear beauty of Alaska and an inventive visual narrative.
The Fiat example shows how a brand benefits from visualized data streams, which is helpful.
The thing I’m struck by in all these instances is how artistic and elegant the statements can be. Social scientists have long been the data keepers, but as more artists get with the digits and make meaning from data, the trend toward interactive, multi-level visually-enhanced narrative will accelerate.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.