Introduction to Data Visualization | Ben Gibson | Skillshare

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Introduction to Data Visualization

teacher avatar Ben Gibson, Co-founder, Pop Chart Lab

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Concepting & Brainstorming


    • 3.

      Conducting Research


    • 4.

      Organizing Data


    • 5.

      Starting Your Document


    • 6.

      Creating Title Type


    • 7.

      Initial Layout


    • 8.

      Refining a Design


    • 9.

      Editing & Refining


    • 10.

      Applying Dynamic Type


    • 11.

      Building Illustrative Elements


    • 12.

      Secondary Visual Elements


    • 13.

      Background Element


    • 14.

      Final Art DIrection


    • 15.

      Upload & Share


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About This Class

This class is the first in a planned series of classes on infographics and data visualization. We're excited to get more in-depth with our process as we go!

Every corner of the Internet is filled with data visualizations, but where do they come from? And why do we find them so appealing? In this Skillshare class, we'll walk through an expert's process to reveal how these complex images come to life.

Data visualization is the perfect way to use graphic design to tell complex stories. We'll cover everything from researching and collecting data to creating a layout architecture and adding style to your work. No matter your background, you'll learn how to better understand, appreciate, and interpret these images. Those with design backgrounds and experience with Illustrator will also be able to create their own large-scale visual representation of an inspiring taxonomy, timeline, or concept.

At Pop Chart Lab, our mission is to combine data with design in order to create delight. We're excited to share our process.

What You'll Learn

In six progressive lessons, we'll cover both conceptual and practical approaches to data visualization

  • Concepting and Brainstorming. You'll start this class by picking a topic for your piece and starting to brainstorm ideas.
  • Researching. Next, you'll research the topic and collect all the data you need for your design.
  • Creating the Layout Architecture. In this lesson, you'll start working on the visual design and layout of your data visualization.
  • Editing and Refining. During this phase, you'll take a look at the layout in order to make sure the design and data work together effectively.
  • Adding Stylistic Elements. Once you have the basic architecture set, you'll be able to add some more stylistic elements.
  • Art Directing the Design. You'll take a final pass of the piece and make sure everything is where it should be.

What You'll Do

  • Project Deliverable. In this class, you'll design a basic data visualization.
  • Description. Will you visualize the history of beer, depict the different trains found across the world, or organize the history of dinosaurs? You'll create a data visualization, based on a topic of your choosing, that combines design and data in an effective and fun way.
  • Specs. You'll create a single data visualization in either a vertical or horizontal poster format. In this class, you'll use mainly Adobe Illustrator.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ben Gibson

Co-founder, Pop Chart Lab


Ben Gibson opened his illustration and design studio in 2009 after working as an Art Director of book jackets at Penguin Group (USA), Inc. He graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1997 and has been recognized by Print magazine and Print's Regional Design Annual, HOW Magazine's International Design Annual, Communication Arts magazine, The Step Design 100, American Illustration, and the Society of Illustrators, among other publications and institutions. His clients have included The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic Monthly, Penguin Group, Random House, W.H. Norton & Company, and Little, Brown and Company.

Ben is the Design Director and Co-Founder of Pop Chart Lab, a Brooklyn-based design collective combining infographics and pop culture. His work for Po... See full profile

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1. Trailer: Hi, I'm Ben Gibson, I'm the creative director and co-founder of Pop Chart Lab. We do charts and data visualization and we're based right over the bridge here in Brooklyn, New York. Today, we'd like to welcome you to our first pop up shop here in Soho. This class is an introduction to data visualization and we'll be going over the steps that you're going to take to get the design off the ground. Everyone knows that charts and infographics are really popular and obviously a good fit for the information age and the age of big data that we live in, and at its best data visualization is a pure blend of style and function and tells detailed narrative stories in a way that other graphic design can't, and that brings us to, yeah, our motto: data, design, and delight. The intersection of those three things is where we try to inform. 3. Concepting & Brainstorming: So, our first step to creating a data visualization is always to come up with concepts and brainstorm ideas for topics. A lot of times, the instinct is to jump right in and start designing, making infographics on the fly but it really helps to get your ducks in a row before you get to that point. For our designs, we do for our own product line, that's a non-commissioned work, we generally start by discussing topics we find interesting, just personally interesting. You should do that too, pick an initial range of topics that you find interesting and you can start with really broad fields of interests like literature or film or tech gadgetry or martinis or culinary arts or whatever you like and just compile a list, a basic list of stuff you'd like from within those categories. So, for literature, anything from pulp paperback novels to classic literature to stuff that's been adapted for fil. For instance or from tech, you could talk about vintage Nintendo games. It helps also to pick things which are visual in nature, that is things that can be represented through illustration or graphics in a way that is natural and not forced. So, ideally, the visual and the data and textual elements can interact in a meaningful way. This doesn't always have to be the case but it's really cool and it happens. So, what I mean by that is the form that the visual takes, both in structure and style, is informed by the information being portrayed and vice versa. So, it's a little bit tough to make these calls in the early stages of a project, basically because when you're initially getting going on something, it's hard to know what shape the data may take until you get a little further into the process but as you do more infographics and visualizations, you'll be able to develop an instinct for it. Pop Chart's tagline is data, design, delight and so, we look for areas where data and design intersect. It is really another way to say form and function are united. I think a good example from our catalog is our charted cheese wheel, one of my personal favorites among the designs we've done and it's really simple conceptually, but I think a really effective blend of data and design. It's a pie chart which looks like an actual cheese wheel and divided it into sections and each section represents different main categories and subcategories and an individual examples of cheese. So, for instance, you have goat cheese, which is the main category, and that breaks down into different subcategories of hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, and soft, and then the individual cheeses themselves, the Fleur Du Maquis and the Idaho Goatster and Humboldt Fog and all those those crazily named cheeses. To further the effect stylistically, we illustrated a slight cheese board for the background, and we designed a title like a cheese label card at a cheese shop. So, it's a wheel of data that looks like a cheese wheel, basically. Form and function, they're combined in a really simple and straightforward way. Another really cool aspect about our work in Pop Chart Lab is that, essentially, the stuff we're doing, the designs we're doing and the research we're doing, it's all stuff that we would be kind of reading about or thinking about in our spare time anyway, which is how the company started, obsessed with little sort of niche topics of interest that you can spend hours getting lost in Internet worm holes looking for, but we've covered topics like coffee preparation, and cameras, and sneakers, and vegetables, heavy metal bands and comic book superpowers, artisanal cocktails and just a ton of different stuff that's been really fun to learn about and, of course, our favorite topic which we always seem to gravitate back to which is beer. We're lucky at Pop Chart lab that we can pick and choose subjects that resonate with us personally. Of course, designers can always pick and choose. So, the trick can be to take a subject matter that doesn't immediately resonate with you personally and find an interesting angle or angles via which you can become engaged. So, you have to be engaged to do a good design or illustration. So, once you have a broad topic category chosen, let's narrow that down. For this assignment example, we will choose hip-hop and let's narrow down further to the history of hip-hop and a bit further down to early '90s hip-hop and you know what? Let's go a little bit further and narrowed down to that particular bit of epic television history, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What kind of data correlates to that show? Let's think about what kind of specific data we can chart with relation to that show. When I think of The Fresh Prince, I think the first thing that comes to mind is the theme song and an opening credits which detail his journey from Philly or West Philly think to Bel-Air. So, I think we've zeroed in on charting the migratory patterns of Fresh Prince's. 4. Conducting Research: Unit two is research, both data and visual. For the data elements, we generally start with broad Internet searches, and in particular, the usual suspects like Google and Wikipedia. Now, for some of Pop Chart Labs, larger, more complicated detailed designs like a compendium of cameras or history of audio devices, we'll start by looking at an overview of literally hundreds of thousands of points of data. But for reasons both artistic and reasons practical, only so much detail can go into one piece of paper or on one web page. We try to sift through the information to create some order out of the chaos. For our example project here, migratory patterns of The Fresh Prince's, the raw data is a little more streamlined and the migration is outlined in the opening credits. So, let's pull that video and hit the pause button repeatedly and take some notes. There's really no one way to do research, it just depends on the topic you're working on and how you like to do research personally. But, the main thing is that you have to stick with it and be as detail-oriented and granular as possible, especially in the early stages of a design. So, basically, the more data you have to start out with, the better, and then you can figure out different ways to call or curate it. So, it's again, a question of putting in the time and effort and not being too quick to be satisfied with your own work. Another invaluable resource for a lot of projects can be to reach out to specific experts in the field. You either find someone, someone you find through a site like an administrator of a site or an author, or someone closer by maybe just down the street. For our superpowers design, the Omnibus of Superpowers, we reached out to a great local Brooklyn comic shop and it's Bergen Street Comics, and they helped us at our research. That expert for your particular project could also just be a friend or a co-worker or a relative or anyone really, just someone who has a lot of knowledge about that particular subject. The next step after we have our raw data, and hopefully a lot of it, and I know this sounds pretty basic or low-tech, but the next step we usually follow is to create a Word document where you can just dump all the data, all of your information. You basically have to have all the raw data or research in one place, and Word is just a simple, easy solution there and also a program that everyone has. So, for instance, if you want to share your research with someone to give feedback or edit, there are almost never any software compatibility issues. 6. Organizing Data: So, after we have our Word document data dump, we'll take the next step and create a spreadsheet, and start paring down the information and calling it. So, create an Excel spreadsheet and start to curate the information. This often involves breaking the data down into categories and subcategories. Sometimes, as was the case for our evolution of audio players, for example, the data here starts to take the shape of the main categories and that ends up starting to form the skeletal structure of the design itself. So, again, every subject matter is different, and you just need to be flexible and creative in your problem-solving to find the best solution for your particular design and concept. For the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, we're basically talking about one migratory pattern from Philly to Bel-Air. So, I think we can skip the spreadsheet. So, also in our research phase, we want to do research for the visuals as well and pull visual reference where needed or just take an overview of related images to a particular topic. So, usually, I start with a Google Image Search. I know it sounds like a common denominator approach to visual research, but it's one of my favorites. It's probably the most meritocratic way to sift through imagery and see what's out there on a given subject. So, the search results will range from award-winning designs and famous designs, to student work, to just weird crazy stuff, all of which get page hits and show up in the search. So, it's a really broad range of stuff and really interesting and informative to look at. Of course, there are also books and in particular, art and design books. They tend to be expensive, but you can always grab a coffee at Barnes & Noble or any other still standing brick and mortar bookstore in your area, and just plant yourself in the art and design section for awhile. There are also organizations like the AIGA, or the Type Directors Club, or public libraries, and these foundations also often have libraries online and at your local branch, which can be a really invaluable resource. There's also always on the street visual research. Now, there's no reason that visual research needs to be academic or media-oriented in nature. For our Cheddar cheese we'll design, for instance, I went to some local cheese shops to check out the signage and product designs, and also just to see how they display their cheeses visually, typographically. For our superpower's prints, I went to some local comic bookshops and checked out the comic books and comic book covers, but also other stuff like posters, and t-shirts, and toys, and just all the cool merchandise they had there. So, it can be a lot of fun and also really informative to get out there and pound the pavement. 8. Starting Your Document: So for unit three, we'll start to get the design off the grounds, and create a document, and an initial rough layout. So, everyone uses programs differently obviously, design software differently, and this isn't a design software class, but it's about just learning the basics and then, practicing a ton to figure out how you work best and what workflow is optimal for you. Here is how I usually do it. Our designs are often really complex, but I like to keep the technical aspects simple, when I can. Especially in the early stages of the project and design, so I can focus on the overall picture and how the design and concept interact. So I don't want to get bogged down by a lot of technical stuff at the get go. The things have a tendency to get complicated as a project develops, so it's nice to start with a clean, simple canvas. So we'll create a new document. And for this design, let's go with 12 inches by 16 inches and standardly, that's eighth of an inch for printed posters and documents. And 12 by 16, whether you're using this primarily online or printing it, this is a pretty good standard, flexible size, and proportion. A pop star lab specializes in actual printed posters and products in addition to our online work. This standard poster sizes are 12 by 16, 18 by 24, 24 by 36, and 27 by 39 and then, last one is the movie one sheet size. So, these are standard sizes that printing presses are set up to handle and also work really well for viewing online. 10. Creating Title Type: As I was saying earlier, data visualizations can be super complex designs and some of our designs that pop to our lab have literally thousands of elements. So, it's really important to set up the document in a one, in a simple way and two, in a way that you can automate as many stylistic changes and edits, automate as many as possible of those later on in the design, when it starts to get more complex. So two easy ways you can do that is by using global color swatches, and character styles for your fonts. So, I think it's really important to always use global swatches, color swatches when doing infographics or data visualizations, and I'll start a design with just two colors, black and white, and later steps will add more colors and work with different color palettes as their design takes shape. Also I usually start the design with just a couple of fonts, maybe two. One serif and one sans-serif for maybe a couple of different serifs or a couple of different sans-serifs, but just a couple to start. Okay, so clear out the swatches and turn these into global swatches, just click on "Global". And again, you go and pick some fonts to start with. It could be anything really. It doesn't matter at this point, but because we're going to be changing it quite a bit and going through lots of different versions, but I'm going to keep it simple and just go with MrEaves and MrsEaves, just to get this off the ground. Now we go to set the character styles, we go into window type, character styles, let's do a new character style, call it sans-serif and we'll edit that, so it's an actual sans-serif, MrEaves. Let's do another one another one, let's do a serif, and that is, let's use MrsEaves. Again these aren't set in stone and will end up changing them quite a bit, but just to get the design started, to have some stuff to play with. 12. Initial Layout: So, we'll start to lay out our initial range of ROV designs and that brings me to designing with the grid. You can use the grid or disregard it but I feel it's a pretty good place to start especially for data visualizations. The reason for this is that they tend to be structured somewhat precisely or mathematically. The trick is to use the grid but don't be a slave to it because even the most complex data visualization which might actually use the grid quite a bit for its underlying structure, should still feel organic and spontaneous. So, often I'll use the grid to lay out the basic elements of a design and then disregard it as the piece takes shape stylistically. So, let's turn on the grid to start our designs. Let's view Show Grid. Now, again even if you don't use it per se it helps you think in an architectural manner and plotting points which is good for this part of the process. Now, for these initial ROVs or sketches, I'll a lot of times break out, smaller versions of the design on the same art board. Again, thinking simply and just getting an overview of what the design is going to be like and usually I'll start with three. We're just worried about the basics here. We have our two global swatches and a couple of fonts and that's all we need to get going. Now, the questions we want to ask before we start designing, after thinking about the research both the data and the visual and reviewing it, spending some time with it, so the questions are really what are the basic main elements of the design going to be? For our fresh print design, that's going to be the map and the points of data on the migratory path and the title. So, usually I'll do three different designs to start. I'll do just some variations on different designs, made two design with a title up top and the art below and one design with the art at top and the title below and maybe a design where the art and title are meshed together. Just try some variations on basic layouts using what we think at this point will be the basic elements of our design. So, do one, let's try one with the title of top, will be broken into two lines. Let me play around with the fonts a little bit. Probably need something down below, just put some placeholder lines in there till we figure out what that will be. If we're going need an arrow from Philly approximately to LA, we do it at a percentage of the Swatch. So, there's a migratory path that will be in each version of the design. Then we have the second design with the art up top and put a little title down below so that turns just pretty cool just for sketches or rough designs. For the third one, let's try one where the title that's really big and integrate within the map, just to mix it up a little bit and we'll make the map a shade of that global color gray. So, there we have three different basic designs just to get this thing off the ground and start thinking about what kind of shape it's going to take. 13. Refining a Design: So, this is just some stuff to go over, those last visuals of the initial layouts. So, remember, we use our global swatches and our global fonts to a range of different options for the title. Perhaps the title is always a key piece of the design and the personality or the visualization and coming from a background in book jacket design, we feel this element sort of sets us apart from other info graphic designers and gives each of our designs a unique personality. So, let's narrow down the range and pick a direction to explore. Doing rough layouts and sketches are great but, often the only way to really know if a design work to higher degree is to get kind of get into the nitty-gritty and start to carve out the details and explore more specific aspects of the design. So, let's pick a direction we would like best. I'm going to pick elements from the first and third design. So, the title at top and the big map of North America in the middle and we'll pull some other little elements which I'm not sure what that will be yet but feels like it needs something down there so, we'll just put a few lines down there for now. Okay. So, we've got our design there starting to get a little bit more specific and we've picked elements from the first rough design and the second third. So, we have the title at top and the North American map from the second third designs. For some reason having a map of all of North America reads a little bit more sciencey or academic to me which when paired with our subject matter is funny so at pop chart lab we're always, we're fans of pairing the high-brow with the load. 14. Editing & Refining: Okay. So, now we're moving on to Unit Four, and that is Editing the Layout Architecture. We'll refine the layout to clarify how the data reads, and we'll also refine it to create a better visual. So, the first step here is to ask yourself some questions. Is there enough to hold interest, the viewer's interest? Is there enough to hold your interest? You're the first viewer, so you have to be interested in yourself first before anyone else can be. Is it informationally or editorially interesting enough? Again, we want to think about the intersection of data and design and how the two work together. Ask ourselves, what does it need? It needs something else, right? I'm, again, going back to this bottom part of the design where it seems to need a little something. Let's get rid of those lines, and why don't we break out some points from the migration? So, he starts out in Philly, West Philly, shooting hoops, goes to the airport. I think let's put a plane in there, right? Since basically the migration takes part on a plane. Now, these are just placeholders for now just so we can work out what's going to happen. Then there's a pretty cool cab ride, and then he's in Bel Air. Spell it correctly. So, maybe there's a little flowchart at the bottom. Philly to Bel Air, and these are just placeholders for now. So, in later steps, we'll build out the illustration and design elements, and we'll flash out the character of the piece and take it to the next level. But right now, we're just figuring out what all the elements will be. So, we still have our black and white global swatches that we're using. Let's add a couple of colors. Let's try a blue. Again, these are not set in stone, but rather just something to push it along a little bit. The nice thing about global colors and character styles for fonts and stuff like that, is that it's, again, really easy to edit them later on. Let's try a yellow color also. All right. So, let's try the map blue, and we'll break up the type a little bit too. Okay. Once we've sort of picked an initial color palette, what other elements can we add to the design now in this refining stage? I think we probably need to know where he's going, where he's leaving from, and where he ends up in his migratory path, right? So, let's puts some pin drops in there just to start out with West Philly and Bel Air, point 1, point 2. So, I'm starting to feel kind of good about this, and I think this is at a point where we can start to add in some more visuals and start to get into the nitty gritty of the details. 16. Applying Dynamic Type: So, this brings us to Unit Five, and that's creating and adding stylistic elements. So first, let's go back to our visual research and data research in step two and reassess. Do we have a direction here? Do we like our direction? Does it represent the data pretty well? Is it starting to look visually interesting? Do the data and design interrelate and mesh? Feeling pretty good about this, I think we're starting to get somewhere. Let's take a look at the, all the different elements in the design and see how we can take them to the next level, starting with our type. Let's break out the title type, and all the typography of the piece, but the title type in particular, and let's try some different directions for it, and see if we can get it to be a bit more interesting or a little more dynamic. Again, let's try a range of stuff. I'm just kind of zoom in, take that type we have and try to play around with it. Do it and run it in different ways. Here, center it and make it a little more dynamic in the proportions. Play around with larger and smaller type. Lets try a few different directions. Let's really center it, and try that Serif type, and maybe run a little ornament around one of the elements of the type. Let's try a third more illustrative direction. That's a bit more decorative, and maybe a little bit more playful. They're all pretty cool, and I like the playful one. All things being equal, but I think maybe we should go with a bit of a drier direction for this. So, let's try the one that looks most academic to me, and that's this middle one here. So, this is cool, but maybe it needs a little bit more personality. Let's think about the concept, and since this is at its core a hip hop piece. What kind of visual elements go along with that? Maybe we should try some graffiti. What a Fresh Prince's was, done graffiti type. So, let's try some hand-lettered type, for that part of the title. Using our Brush Tool to start out, let's draw out the F. Maybe add some graffiti drips to it. Here and here. Let's try that whole part of that title. Looks a little more dynamic, a little more interesting, so supply our color palette to this new type elements and put on our graffiti type. Make it a little bit bigger. It's a cool element. Let's make it yellow. Okay, that's looking better. 18. Building Illustrative Elements: Okay. So, our design, it's starting to get somewhere. It's looking pretty cool. Let's go in and take a look at what illustration elements we need. Off top of my head, I think we need some illustration elements for this bottom flow chart here. We need a basketball illustration and a cab, and something to represent Bel Air, and then maybe we need a plane here going over the migratory path. So, a Pop Chart Lab works in this what's usually termed flat design style of illustration, some people call it minimalism but it's not really minimal, it's more a way of working in which the detail is really carefully chosen, the detail for the illustration is really carefully chosen and the look remains graphical. It makes a lot of sense for data visualizations because the overall look of the design can be really complex. So, we want to keep some of the individual elements somewhat straightforward, but there is room for a lot of creativity within that, of course. You don't have to work this way. There's some great data visualizations that are done by hand, or done with photography or done with, I don't know, finger paints. So, it's totally up to you. But for Pop Chart Lab style, we work in a graphical style. So, we usually build out these illustrations with color blocks, doing large shapes first and then filling in particular details and to be discerning about the details you include, and it's always easy to get reference images if you need it. So, we need a cab, and let's build out the basic yellow shape, and then we'll add some wheels, and then some details, like windows type, headlights and maybe a fresh license plate. So, we build out a license plate shape and add a little detail, holes, and I think this is fresh. Let's take a look at the design with our illustration elements. Let's put them in there. There's a cool plane we did, maybe that will go there on its way to Bel Air. Its descent to Bel Air and start out shooting hoops. So, we can just fill in the different parts, put in our cab. I'm just kind of roughing this in. We can refine them later on. I think that cab had some funny dice, the fuzzy dice, fuzzy and funny, and a fresh license plate, and maybe a throne for Bel Air since Will Smith sits on a throne in the credit sequence, I believe. I'm just putting these in just to get them in there, and we can take a look, but I think this extra detail is really starting to take the design to the next level. 20. Secondary Visual Elements: Okay. So, let's step back again take a look at our overall design, and it seems like it's starting to get somewhere. This point usually I'll take a look and just figure out if it needs any secondary visual elements, illustrations or graphics, things like that. So, if we look at all the main elements in the design, the ones that we haven't paid attention to so far. That will be the arrow, the migratory path arrow, the map, and these little lines in the flowchart I think, you see the fuzzy dice appropriately go for now up top above the fresh license plate. But, let's take a look at the different elements and I think see if we can make them a bit cooler. Maybe the map for instance, could be little 3D, 3D element to it by copying and pasting, and down here drawing in some thin lines to highlight the modeling of the typography, and the face of the map probably needs to be a bit lighter so let's make it a bit of a gray, a blue-gray, a green gray, let's see. That looks pretty well, that looks cool. Let's take a look at making some cooler arrow for the migratory path, and maybe we'll also use a variation on that arrow for the path in the flow chart at the bottom of the design. So, let's put those in, maybe we'll make our pin drops yellow also. At this part we're starting to get into the more of the granular aspects of design. So, we'll go in and see how this type interacts with the map behind it, for instance our new map, they look pretty cool together, maybe we can make some of the little details in the plane adhere to our color choices and palette. Maybe we can make some of the little details on our plane adhere to our color palette and choices for the design but at this point it's starting to take shape. We'll add in our little arrows here and the flowchart is working pretty well, and the different aspects of the design are starting to come together. So, here's what we have, and starting to look pretty cool, it seems like there's some empty space up top and at the bottom, which could use just a little bit of attention or detail and what else could we add to it? Do we need anything else? Maybe we need a little something else. Since maps are often labeled with the year of the information they represent, let's do that here too. Let's label this 1990, down here where a key to the map would go, but let's make that a little better. Let's make it Circa 1990, and let's add some little ornaments to it. Grab that, and I'll put that in here, and maybe this thing needs a crown, I guess obviously, since it's about Princes. Let's do a graffiti crown, in the same style as the graffiti in our title. That crown is probably going to go at the top of the design right. So, let's put that in there, there we go. So, here's what we have, looking pretty cool. 22. Background Element: So, now we've got all of our illustration elements in place, and our typography, and our secondary graphic or illustration elements, and it's starting to really come together, I think. We can keep nudging it, moving stuff around a little bit, but now, let's step back and take a hard look at it, and ask ourselves, "Is there enough to hold the viewers interest? Is there enough to hold your interest? The designer's interest?" I think it's looking great, maybe there are a lot of little elements that are floating out there, maybe it needs to be tied together a little bit. One thing that a background element that maps often have is either a grid or some sort of topographical pattern, and I really loved those old topographical patterns, so I think maybe let's try that. We can put it in the background, and see see how it works. I think it might tie stuff together. Making a topographical pattern. This is a decorative pattern, it doesn't relate to any particular topography. But, lets use our pen tool and just really go in and draw all these lines out. We'll add some yellow too, some dotted lines to mix up the visual a little bit. A lot of this illustrative work and detail work in these designs are pretty time consuming, so, I'm not going to go through the whole thing, but you can get a sense of how it's done. So, let's take our topographical pattern and run it behind the map. Let's see what we have. It's looking pretty cool, and I really like that. Let's drop these elements down a little bit, and another thing that maps often have are rules. So, let's put it in a little rule, just a little accent element to separate the main visual up top from the flow chart, and other elements down below. And here we go, I think it's looking pretty great. I'm liking the colors, I'm liking the overall design, and all the different elements. I think it's looking sharp. 24. Final Art DIrection: So, now, that moves us into unit six, and that's Art Directing and Editing the Design. So, the main thing at this point is to really ask ourselves the tough questions and assess the overall design and be your own art director and be your own editor and take a hard and honest look. Try not to think about the time and/or effort you spent on the design, try not to think about that at all. Try to do it as if you're somebody coming to this design fresh for the first time, and just really try to assess it in an honest way. In a Pop Chart lab, we often, as a stage, have to make some really tough choices about going back to the drawing board and designs. Spending a lot of time to painstakingly rework some of the elements or even going back to the research part and doing new research to call new information that the design needs, or we might change the overall aesthetic or even scrapped the design totally, if it doesn't work. So, there are some tough choices at this stage, but you'll really benefit from them in the long run. 26. Upload & Share: So, now you've done your design. What do you do with it. We live in an information age. The age of big data and this is true whether you're talking about data on a massive global scale or on a very personal level. Data visualization is a medium perfectly suited for its age and its popularity is no coincidence. At Pop Chart Lab, we share our designs via our social media platform or if we think a design has enough merit, we produce prints and other products with it. But there are also tons of forums online where infographics can be submitted like Visually or Boeing Boeing or I love Charts. So, share stuff online, submit it to forums. Set up a blog or a website or a Flickr account or share it via social media because the world loves a good data visualization.