We were assigned both national data from the PEW Research Center about perceptions of race, and regional St. Louis data from the local study For The Sake of All about racial disparities between the black and white populations in St. Louis city and county. We were given the task of relating these two data sets, and creating a visual to represent the connections we found.
In this project, I wanted to use a hand-drawn visualization to represent (and humanize) data from both national and local sources. I wanted to highlight the high unemployment rate for African American males in St. Louis County, which is perceived to be more prosperous, as well as the continuous unemployment rates in St. Louis City, which suggests that people have to prolong retirement to earn enough money to live. I worked maintain the texture of a hand-drawn piece while adding digital elements to help maintain clarity in both my graph and poster.
I was very inspired by hand-drawn data visualizations, which had more texture and seemed more approachable than digitally made representations (especially the work of Mona Chalabi). My two initial ideas were a line graph that uses width to show percentage of unemployment, and using a mix between a bar graph and a scatter plot to show unemployment. After continuing to sketch and think through each idea, I decided to go with the modified bar graph, since I thought it would be easiest to read while emphasizing the large percentage of unemployment through the use of individual units to represent each percentage.
I explored using different symbols for St. Louis City and County, and played with simplifying different icons that I felt represented them in some way. However, I realized that using two different symbols would make it hard for the reader to compare each value, so I decided to use a single shape for both. I worked continuously to simplify and standardize how the graph was labeled and drawn, while maintaining clarity and ease of use.
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