Studies in Emotional Visualization

There’s a lot happening now with data visualization. Visually, much of the work is stunning, but there’s more impact than that. The ability to see a mapping and almost touch abstract concepts is extremely informative and inspiring. We’ve got the technology to measure the substantive data, and the technology combined with our experiences allow interpretation of the subjective data.

Recently, I watched Orlagh O’Brien’s PopTech segment about the creation of her Emotionally}Vague project. Her question to 250 participants: How do you visualize feelings ­– anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love – in drawings, colors, and words? The project produced wonderful visuals, but more importantly, insights into the similarities and differences in the ways humans perceive their emotions.

On a bigger scale, Mike Tully, a student at Parsons School of Design, took on the entire world. His project, The Weather of Well Being, is an infographic visualizing the world’s subjective well-being based on climate, GDP, and population.

Mr Tully looked at data from 40 different countries: Iceland presented as the most positive country, while Indonesia presented as the least negative. The consistently happiest country in the world, Denmark, scored in the eighth position when other factors figured in.

data visualization, infographics, visualization tools, tag clouds, data mapping

Two very telling studies constructed on emotion-based data.

What am I thinking?

On a far smaller scale, I was inspired to take a look at what I’ve been writing about in my past five blog posts. I found some great tools: two tag cloud resources and a visual thesaurus – great for quick data dumps and overviews.

  • Wordle: Language, fonts, color or custom color option, layout variations, and randomizer settings (Free tool)
  • TagCrowd: Download html for embedding, or PDF versions with options for word counts, repetition and phrasing (Free tool)
  • Visual Thesaurus: An interactive dictionary and thesaurus that creates word maps. The maps sprout meanings and branch to related words. (Free trial)

What am I thinking? Check out my tag cloud here. It’s a great way to self-check – to see what’s occupying and percolating in my mind.

Poster & detail: © Mike Tully
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