- Making of A Year of Scrabble
- February 2, 2017
When Shirley and Nadieh asked me to make a guest post for Data Sketches, I jumped at the opportunity but immediately panicked a little because I had agreed to the daunting task of creating something like their wonderful projects over the past six months. Whether or not that happened will be left to the reader but below is the story of how it came to be.
- Making of Literary Constellations
- January 15, 2017
Literary Constellations is a series of posters designed to resemble constellation maps but instead of being based on real stars, the shapes are based on first sentences from chapters of short classic stories.
- Making of Off the Staff
- September 6, 2016
I can’t read music but I can parse it. The talent of reading music has always escaped me which is a little ironic considering I grew up in a musical family. However, I’ve always enjoyed how sheet music looks so I took a shot at visualizing the notes from musical scores and the result is a series of posters called Off the Staff.
- Making of the Weather Portraits poster
- November 21, 2015
With so many options available for visualizing weather, settling on one for my Weather Portraits poster was a challenge, but a fun one. Over the course of three weeks, I experimented with dozens of ideas—most of which are documented here for people like me who like that sort of thing and to hopefully spark some future ideas for others.
- Making of the Colors of World Flags poster
- May 25, 2015
During the few weeks it took to create my Colors of World Flags poster, I went through several iterations and ideas before settling on the final product. Experimenting with these ideas was as much fun as working on the end result and I thought others would enjoy seeing the path I took.
- Making of the National Parks of the United States poster
- November 23, 2013
I've been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to my National Parks of the United States poster. I want to thank everyone for such kind words. I also want to thank everyone who shared it with others. Several people have asked how I made it so I'll outline process, list my sources and show a few early prototypes as an extra bonus.
- Transit charts: fun with public data
- September 4, 2012
Continuing my latest obsession with data visualization, I had some fun with public transportation data. In an attempt to play around with a new color palette and put a different face on old data, I wound up creating what I call Transit Charts.
- Visualizing Metra
- August 14, 2011
When I heard that Metra was planning to cut 46 trains from its service in 2012 to make up for high operating costs, I wanted to see just how much of an impact that would have on their schedules—using a technique from 1885. How the final result came about was a mixture of curiosity and fun with a pinch of obsession.
- Why I block ads
- August 18, 2010
Ever since I found out I could block ads, I have. I've even gone out of my way to download Firefox extensions like Stylish to let me write my own styles that block ads not caught by AdBlock. I popped over to NBC Chicago's weather page to see the forecast for tonight and was painfully reminded that I had forgotten to re-enable AdBlock after disabling it for another project.
- TV cheat sheet: a design exercise
- July 5, 2010
After some recent back-and-forth with Comcast, I upgraded my TV subscription and with it came a raft of new channels with numbers far higher than I ever imagined as a kid. I don't watch TV a lot but I watch it enough to know my favorite channels but with these new options, I needed a cheat sheet. During a recent visit with my parents, my father presented me with a cheat sheet of his own and inspired me to take up the challenge myself.
- Designing Obama arrives
- June 23, 2010
Arriving home from a long vacation is usually met with bills, messages, and piles of emails but this time, an extra surprise was waiting: my copy of Designing Obama.
- Time-lapse video of Iceland volcano
- May 15, 2010
Stunning time-lapse imagery of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.
- Mandelbrot fractal art competition exhibitions
- May 4, 2010
Anyone going to be in San Sebastián, Bilbao, Buenos Aires, or Hyderabad? If you are and enjoy fractal art, take some time to check out the exhibit of 2009 Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Competition winners—including a piece from me.
- Fast Flip? Fast Flop.
- September 14, 2009
Google's new Fast Flip, released Monday, is a way to visually browse the news in a new zippy way. Sure, it may be speedy but useful? Not quite.
- Metra's new site: a review
- September 10, 2009
Metra launched a new website this week and since I'm a commuter, designer, and collector, I felt compelled to share my reaction. Any change would have been an improvement to their old site, but while there were welcomed enhancements, not everything lived up to the hype.
- Personas: What do you look like online?
- August 18, 2009
Personas, an online component of an exibit at the MIT Museum, shows you how the Internet sees you by scanning the web and categorizing you with predefined labels. It's a fun experiment, but needs some tweaking to keep people engaged.
- Who uses fly-up menus?
- August 9, 2009
The Weather Channel apparently does. I've only seen "fly-up" menus used on one other site that would have easily qualified for Worst Website Ever years ago and was amazed when I discovered they're now being used for the navigation on The Weather Channel's site.
- Bi-Level gold
- June 5, 2009
I love On the Bi-Level. It's a bi-monthly newsletter from Metra written for and distributed only on the trains throughout the fleet since the 1980s. It's one of the tiny gems that I discovered when I started riding.
- Apple's clever counter
- April 11, 2009
Apple's counting down to it's one billionth app downloaded and while that's amazing, what intrigued me wasn't the milestone but how they did that neat flipping effect with the counter. It's surprisingly simple.
- Obama's online evolution
- January 20, 2009
Barack Obama has had an amazing politcal ride and being a web designer, I thought it would be interesting to take stock of how his online presence has evolved as he has from a hopeful junior senator to our new president—with screenshots of course.