Pentagram's new undertaking exhibits the human aspect of statistics through the corona virus

Many of us who are stuck in our makeshift WFH offices trying to escape the desolation of the daily death toll have had daydreams by the window in the past few months.

While dreaming out the window and imagining what the future might look like, Pentagram's Giorgia Lupi came up with the idea for her team's new lockdown project, Happy Data, which highlights some of the most uplifting statistics related to the pandemic.

"We are looking for happy data far and wide: small but powerful numbers, which are insignificant for the more urgent statistics on the number of viruses, but help us to imagine a new reality after the pandemic," said Lupi and one of the others of the project's creator, Phillip Cox, tell CR. "Heartwarming, surprising, encouraging – we hope these numbers will brighten people's day and help us all deal with this unprecedented moment."

Lupi, who joined Pentagram's New York office in 2019 as a partner, has a background in information design, but her work is far from what you can imagine at first. When she recently spoke to CR about her designs, she said, “I believe that data, when viewed as an abstraction of reality, can reveal hidden patterns of our own human nature and society that we can understand better and through design experiences can understand. ”

This approach can be clearly seen in Happy Data, in which Lupis shows hand-drawn graphics and diagrams that are overlaid with real views from the windows of the users. In one picture, Lupi's own view of the New York skyline is accompanied by towering skyscrapers made of gold coins, which represent the donations that professional athletes make in these difficult times. In another case, the blue sky above a block of flats in Milan turns into a graph that shows the huge drop in air pollution since the pandemic started.

"We wanted to make the data types we visualized as comprehensive as possible," said Lupi and Cox. "The only connecting factor is that all data is publicly available or in some way" hides in sight ". While more depressing statistics on Covid-19 mortality and positive cases dominate the headlines, we wanted to highlight stories that are still happening in the world and that are reported, even if we don't always notice them. "

In the coming weeks, the team behind Happy Data will submit photos for the project and experiment with other publicly available resources such as the Google search data found in Google Trends to publish more visualizations from around the world.

The practical and ethical challenges of data visualization during the corona virus are currently a controversial issue, as CR recently explored when we talked to data journalist Mona Chalabi and information is beautiful founder David McCandless about how it was right now to infographics create.

Lupi is all too aware of how difficult it is to work with data in these uncertain times, and she has carefully considered that with Happy Data. "As data practitioners of all kinds, we have to take into account the level of data competence of our public and develop it specifically for target groups who are not necessarily used to looking at diagrams every day," she says.

"How do we invite them? How do we make sure that they understand what is in the data, where it comes from, how it is collected, what is left out, what context it is in? How do we engage them to come back and stay informed? Then how do we visually ensure that what is in the numbers speaks to our human nature and to the stories and lives they represent? Only then will people relate to numbers and feel moved by them. At the same time, the accuracy, accuracy and truth of the data is obviously maintained. "

Read the CR interview with Giorgia Lupi here.