Artwork (3.9 MB)


This data visualization project draws from Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s book Dear Data: A Friendship in 52 Weeks of Postcards. After thorough research and note-taking from given and discovered resources, students were asked to respond to the novel coronavirus and the outbreak of its affiliated illness, COVID-19. As designers, students were given the responsibility to deliver information about the current culture while also acting as a participant to history — a primary” source. The object was to document history while also allowing for moments of positivity in the midst of such anxiety and uncertainty.

Students gathered data about every time they heard or read the words “coronavirus” or “COVID-19.” They were told to keep a sketchbook handy at all times. Each time they heard or read one of the phrases, they noted when it happened; what they were doing; whom they were with; and other details. From this, they created data visualizations inspired by the examples in Dear Data.

”You are actually creating a primary source of history for others to rely on in the future,” said Misty Thomas-Trout, assistant professor of art and design. “Try to enjoy this.”

Publication Date



Digital Humanities | Graphic Design | Illustration


Artist statement: With the Dear Data assignment focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to showcase a wide range of data and represent different aspects with color. In thinking about the shape that this could take, I thought about social circles, how the virus is transmitted, and where different epicenters are depending on how populated certain areas are. Therefore, I have a larger circle that has four different layers.

Additionally, the larger the circle is, the more dots are in that day, such as if a certain place on the globe has more cases than others, the “epicenter” or circle representing the city is larger to represent the increase in cases. The layers contain different-colored dots that each represent a different source, situation, topic, mode of communication, and more. The background is yellow because “c” for “coronavirus” is yellow, and I wanted to bring in a more joyful color amidst the stress that people are feeling because of the virus. I also chose colors that connected to my colored letters for the circles and the dots.

Copyright © 2020 by the author

Data Visualization: Madeline Spicer



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