DEAR DATA: A friendship in fifty-two Postcards by Stefanie Posavec and Giorgia Lupi
(Particular Books (Penguin Press), 2016)

DEAR DATA: A friendship in fifty-two Postcards

by Stefanie Posavec and Giorgia Lupi

Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec are leading lights in the growing field of information design, much sought after as speakers and exhibition contributors, both online and in the physical world. But they mark themselves out in two ways: a) they are women in what is a male-dominated field, and b) they have a preference for analogue, hand-drawn methods of communication over computer coding. Having met only twice in their lives at a conference, they decided they wanted to get to know each other better, both professionally and as friends. To that end they came up with the brilliant project, Dear Data. Over a year, they would send each other a weekly postcard on which they drew the data they had collected about their lives over the previous week.

The ways in which the project developed surprised even them. As they experimented with different types of drawing, to convey to each other – through data visualisation – the detail of their daily lives, they started to dwell upon those details more carefully, to slow down, to notice, and to enrich their friendship. The result is a series of stunningly beautiful postcards that tell a story of creativity and friendship. Having launched the project online to huge success, they are now making it into a book that will inspire people in numerous ways: to draw (even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist), to slow down and appreciate the small details of your life, and to make connections with other people.

Awards

  • Winner of the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2015

Reviews

Charming ... An intimate look at the lives of two designers as told through their personal data ... Despite the vast amount of quantification, Dear Data feels almost like an anti-quantified self project. Lupi and Posavec aren't interested in calories, steps, or heart rate. Their project explores the more slippery details of daily life. This human-centric data is the reason why Dear Data doesn't read as detached self-analysis. There are insights to be found, even in the categories they chose”
- Liz Stinson, Wired
Dear Data paints a human portrait with data ... With each graph and information map, we get a deeper sense of the authors' personalities. What emerges from this information overload is a fascinating catalogue of the complexity of daily living. By tracking such minutiae, Lupi and Posavec, who both work in information design, reveal the patterns that inform our decisions and affect our relationships”
- Washington Post
The time and the information encoded in Lupi and Posavec's postcards is not only revealing, but poignant. As well as choosing topics around items, such as the contents of their wardrobes or the number of drinks they'd had that week, the pair also scrutinised their behaviour ... Both are mind-boggling intricate. The keys to each chart are minute, cypher-like instructions, peppered with anecdotes and asides”
- Guardian
Such an information-reach year could inspire others to better calculate aspects of their lives they never thought to tabulate, with the goal of seeing patterns and perhaps fine-tuning negative behavior. And better yet, illustrating our life's data by hand can allow us to slow down and invigorate our creative selves beyond the digital”
- Vice
Through the process of examining their worlds in new ways, and noting emotions, sounds, and thoughts Lupi and Posavec, like the pre-telecommunication era Decker writes about, reveal a sense of space and time that we'd never considered. Through their weekly postcard exchange the two got to know each other, and themselves. The world around them was data to be collected, to be examined ”
- Data Matters
With each pair of postcards presented side by side, readers immediately experience Lupi and Posavec's different styles and sensibilities and witness how they influence and complement each other over the course of this year ... An utterly delightful collection of color, lines, shapes, and geometries”
- Publishers Weekly