Data visualization is a burgeoning area of graphic design that is being used by many major corporations to convey complex information graphically. A cousin of information graphics, data visualization uses technology interactively to transform and update, crating new levels of understanding.
I attended a two week intensive at the School of Visual Arts MFA Interactive Design program this summer. Hilla Katke led our intrepid group as we were instructed to mine data sets that related to New York City. I chose to analyze and visualize department of labor data on the creative industry. I now consider myself an expert on navigating the US Department of Labor website, which was no easy task; it was one of the worst user interfaces imaginable. (Note to President Obama, call Mayor Bloomberg and get his team to overhaul all of the us.gov websites.)
What did I learn? A few facts and no surprises. First, since 2000, there has been a substantial migration of creative industries to Brooklyn from Manhattan. Second, web design agencies flourished during the recession while other creative businesses declined. Third, if you are a printer or a photographer, you are probably on unemployment. The printing industry began its decline almost 25 years ago, but the photo industry in particular has shrunk by 20% over the last ten years.
Here are the visualizations: