Early this year, as part of our podcast What’s The Point, we asked listeners to track their podcast-listening habits for a week, visualize the data, and send us a postcard. This was inspired by designers Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s project “Dear Data,” in which they sent data visualizations of different aspects of their lives to one another every week for a year. We were blown away by the response. The two of us got together with Lupi to look all of them over, and we’ve included a few of our favorites below. At the bottom of this page we’ve included dozens of cards we received, 77 in total from all over the world. Examining each card felt like an intimate glimpse into a hand-picked podcast library.
Nathan Palairet, New Zealand
Yep, those colored lines are threads, literally sewn into the postcard. Not since Fabre de Lagrange’s mathematical models have we been so inspired by the use of string to inform. This is a wonderfully tactile object that cannot be fully appreciated on the cold, flat computer screen, but trust us, it’s gorgeous. Add to that a thoughtful concept — “I settled on the theme of diversity, both in where the podcast is from and how inclusive it is” — and the use of the little-known but ultra-beautiful Waterman “Butterfly” map projection, and Nathan’s card is a triumph of function and form.
Pooja Bag, USA
We are completists here, so we appreciate that Pooja used every inch of space. Yet despite the incredible detail, she was able to convey certain overarching trends of her week in an instant (we tend to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, too). Pooja, we only wish we’d been invited at the end of the week to hear you recap the 66.75 hours’ worth of podcasts you’d listened to and to eat some of the food you’d been cooking for hours.
P.S.: We want to make this into a quilt.
Sarah Kay Miller, USA
In our interview, Lupi and Posavec described how they would spend time trying to figure out what the visualization meant before they flipped the postcard over to crack the code. We found ourselves tracing the lines of Sarah Kay’s entry, trying to divine what each loop, color and dot meant. “I based my design on the tangled mess that my earbud cords end up in,” she wrote, explaining why there was something oddly familiar about it. We also like that she tied it to the habits and patterns of her day: cooking, cleaning, walking to school. That’s how we listen to podcasts, as well.
Ce Manalang, Philippines
Remember when a team of nanotechnologists etched some 300,000 words of the Hebrew bible on a pinhead using a focused ion beam? Ce’s hand-drawn micro-sketches of podcast artwork is basically like that. We loved her unique data points, including subscription status and how she felt after listening. We’re happy to see What’s the Point inspired you that Tuesday!
Zach Bogart, USA
Zach’s visualization includes every possible element — there’s color, symbols, lines, space — but it still feels elegant and minimalist. We also admire that he listens to so many podcasts while lying down.