Great Visualizers: Stefanie Posavec

I’ve long been an admirer of London-based data artist, Stefanie Posavec. So, when I started working on the Information Is Beautiful book, she was the first person I sought out for collaboration. By happy coincidence she lived around the corner from me.

The result is the awesome (and controversial) Left vs Right concept map.

Now available as a limited edition poster!

Literary Organism

Stefanie’s personal work verges more into data art and is concerned with the unveiling of things unseen. ‘Literary Organism’ is an amazing visualisation of the structure of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.

Here the lines divide into chapters, bloom into paragraphs, sprout sentences, and spread out into words. All are colour-coded according to the key themes.

Stefanie Posavec - Literary Organism - Information Is Beautiful

The process involved intense mark-up of the original text.

And the creation of a series of awesome visualisations.

Take a look at them in high resolution. These small screens don’t really do the detail justice. [via Notcot]

Ok Go

I’m sure you’ve seen US rockband Ok Go’s amazing Mousetrap-esque video. Here, Stefanie teamed up with Microsoft research ecologist, Greg McInerny to create a visualisation design for the album cover. They worked from the text of the album namesake ‘The Influence of the Blue Ray Of the Sunlight and of the Blue Colour of The Sky‘ by General AJ Pleasonton.

Their works in progress sprang some nice side images based on the lyrical rhythm of the album.

Entangled Word Bank

Here Stefanie produced a visualisation of the evolution of the various editions of Darwin’s opus, The Origin Of Species. I loved the organic feel of the image, like specimens pressed under glass. And the number crunching of over a million words, again by Microsoft ecologist Greg McInerny (using statistical package ‘R’, nerds).

I actually wrote a piece about this in Wired UK. (Nepotism? Je?). So you can find out more there.

Each visual approach was generated from a different ‘seed’ of DNA code. This produced a entire species of organisms, from which the final one was chosen.

Lefts Vs Right

Left vs Right - David McCandless & Stefanie Posavec - Information Is Beautiful
Stefanie did a beautiful job illustrating how political notions may percolate down from government, into society, families, individuals, beliefs and back around into institutions. This concept map has courted much controversy. Left vs Right is perhaps a old and limited way of perceiving the spectrum. But it’s mostly how it’s presented via the media – left wing vs. right wing, liberal vs. conservative, Labour vs Tory. And so maybe in our minds too…?

Get A Limited Edition poster

I love the Left vs Right. I think visualising concepts is one most exciting potentials of the information design movement. So I’m proud to announce that we’ve made a limited edition print of it.

We’ve got just 200 of the US version and 200 of the World version to sell – all numbered and signed by Stefanie Posavec and myself, David McCandless.

They’re printed on 300 gsm, FSC-certified art paper at A1 size (60 x 81 cm). (Translation: they’re gorgeous!).

You can find out more details on our Information Is Beautiful Big Cartel page. It has secure ordering.

25% of the profits will go to Ganet’s Adventure School, a children’s charity in Malawi.

You can also get some prints of Stefanie’s work here. Check out her site at