Data Visualisation


Initially I’m rather excited about data visualisation, I love the idea of being able to show a data set through shape and colour.

From looking at the research links left by Paul and Catherine. The main graph data that I was inspired by was this piece below designed by David McCandless, Alice Cho, Dominic Busby. Timelines: Time travel in popular film and tv — Information is Beautiful. I found this to be really intriguing seeing how he had combined the timelines over a vast amount of movies, and shows the intercept points.

From my own research into data visualisation, below are some of the pieces that I have found most interesting. The Most Popular Movie Genre Combinations, I found this to be a really interesting piece, on the website it is interactive and you can see how often genres are placed together. I like the concept ant the appearance but I don’t think I want to look at movie genres.

Below is a data representation of the film ‘The Shining’. that looks at the films’ colour scheme, level of motion or amount of dialogue. I really like this visualisation of data, I feel that it is a really snazzy way of looking at a film, I would like to explore this. Although, I don’t really understand how this was created though.

So from looking at other data visualisation, I feel rather Inspired, I have a couple of ideas. One of my Ideas is to look at “Laws” such as Murphy’s law where “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” or like Hofstadter’s Law where a task always takes longer than expected. I feel like these Laws would allow for some funny sort of outputs. Another Idea that I had to look at some Film Theory, I initially started to look at; The Bechdel Test, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Mako Mori and Dawson’s Casting. All of these theories/tropes are really interesting to me and I think I might base my Project on this sort of data as it is rather surprising the concept of each theory. For this project, I hope to look at a specific idea so that I can gain a style to use throughout my data.


Below is another data visualisation based on film, I loved the concept of looking at the highest-grossing movies as I do check the list every couple of months. So the subject matter really interests me, but also the way it is composed as well as the choice of colours involved is very cool and is very easy to interpret.

I have decided to look at the concept of Dawson Casting. This is when actors are hired to play characters much younger than they are, this is very common in teen tv shows but occurs throughout the film industry. I think that I want to look at specifically teen tv shows as I will be able to compare and contrast various shows.

Introduction to Dawson’s Casting

Since deciding that I want to look at Teen TV shows, I have made a list of the shows that I want to look at. All of these shows I have watched and have enjoyed. Whilst watching, I am always made aware of the age difference between the actors and characters, due to how perfect their appearances are and how ‘un-teenage-ish’ they look. Although, I’m not saying that I think that this is a negative way of casting your TV show as; older cast would not have educational needs and would be an adult so would be independent and in control of their lives. On the other hand, I think that Dawson Casting would be more detrimental to the teens that are the audience as they are the ones comparing themselves to these adult actors.

What Shows?

The shows I have chosen are;

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Dawson’s Creek
  • Glee
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Gossip Girl
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Riverdale
  • Sex Education
  • Teen Wolf

Below are some Ideas that I have for representing my data.

Data Mapping
Data Mapping

To get this data, I had to do my own research rather than using a data set. When gathering the information, I took the character’s age and the actor’s age from their first episode and year of release, respectively. When looking at my completed data set, it was intriguing to see that the majority of the characters were 15 / 16, due to me being able to acknowledge that the older than they seem I always imagine them to be around 17 / 18, but that does not seem to be the case.

Gathering data

So I am looking at how to build a grid. Initially, my idea was to use an arc so I would be able to project the difference in age, but I’m not entirely sure how the function works, so I think I will look at the arcs a bit later in the project after I have a few completed outputs.

I’m decided to try and make use of a grid type output as I feel that it is in a sense a list, I feel like it would be a unique way to compare and contrast the data against each other. The grid took me a little while to figure out, in the end, it turned out my For statements should have been an IF. Once, I figured that out it worked instantly. I feel that it will become a solid base for some of my outputs.

Grid Producion

After many iterations I have made a grid with a layout that I think is rather dynamic and works well with the data. I started to play with the map function. I really enjoyed this experimentation as well as the outputs. I love the abstract outputs, I have achieved within the grid to the point it did not look like one. The experiments remind me of continuous line drawings as the ellipses go off the screen, it also reminds me of Spiral Art ( I will add a photo below). I really like spiral art as they are very chaotic but also elegant in what shapes and patterns they create.

Grid Experimentation with data
Spiral Art

For the design of my data representing grids; I have decided to look at the colour scheme additional inspiration that I get from each show. I kinda wish that I was going more in-depth with my decision, just as looking at colour schemes might be a tad too simple but I think it is going to be a key feature, for people to relate my work to the shows that they are connected to.

Show Board 01
Show Board 02

In order to create the colour schemes outputs, I have decided to look at each output Individually. The first show I have looked at was; Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003). For this show, I am going to look at a more dark and vampiric look.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Below is a progression of my Ideas, I have used darker and richer reds, to mimic blood which is a key component throughout the show as well as incorporating a sort of magic seal. I wanted to Incorporate more as drips or droplets of blood along with some brown to make a stake to represent the ‘Slayers’. I quite liked the experimentation of this piece, I just sometimes feel a bit lost when making anything with a darker theme as it just kinda makes me sad, as it can be rather gloomy and dank.

Buffy Developments

I brought my final processing sketching, into Adobe Illustrator, I placed all the shapes onto the canvas so that they could be seen. I played about with the effects of Illustrator as I wanted to have some representation that the show had taken place partly in the 90s, where the camera quality was not at its finest and was grainy. So I used one of the effects to do so.

Overall, I think that this data visualisation, is okay, I think I should have put in the Actor’s and Character’s Data and in retrospect not entirely sure why I didn’t. I believe that I thought it would be too messy. In terms of representing data, I can do better I hope for the next output I do so.

Buffy Final

For my second look at an individual tv show I have chose ‘Riverdale’. Initially, I wanted to look at how representing a Neon type output. As it is heavily featured in the show, through one of its main locations as well as the title card. I started by picking out some of the core colours to look at during my representation.


I don’t know how I feel about this output. I don’t really see it as representing neon, I really should do some research on how one would develop the style. I kinda want to look at individual characterisation as for at least in Riverdale many characters have their own colour or own style. However that would be the character and not the actor, I feel like I would need to think about this more clearly.

Riverdale Experiments

Now I’m going to look at Gossip Girl, this is the tv show that I am most excited about exploring and experimenting with. For choosing what I want to use to show my data, I was initially looking at high fashion and how to go from there and then I was like how does one even represent that. So I kept thinking, I then noticed that in some of the reference images that I had taken that some of them had involved plaid. In America, where this show takes place, the only schools that have uniforms seem to be private schools, of which all the characters partake in due to their family’s wealth or from scholarships. In the show, the Characters school uniforms do involve plaid, and I wanted to look at the pattern for my inspiration for this sketch output.

Gossip Girl

Below is my progression, to including a plaid style. I changed my Ellipses to Rect, to gain a line pattern. I have taken all the colours from the reference Images I have, I tried to pick colours that complement each other but also contrast much like the data. I have used the map function as I have used throughout my sketches, I have set it to look rather conservative and neat, due to the pristine nature of the characters appearances on Gossip Girl. I have set the thickness of the lines to use the difference in data from the Character’s Age and Actor’s Age.

Gossip Girl Developments

This is my favourite image that I have made throughout this Project yet! I think it has the elegance needed to represent Gossip Girl. I think the data is shown clearly and is well represented. I feel that I could have drawn more attention to the strokeweight being a part of the data representation.

Gossip Girl Final

I think I have decided that my outputs are best shown as prints, due to how static they are. I believe that the audience for my prints would be, fans of the show as they would have the most interest in them. I feel like if I were to open up the code to include a multitude of data so that it would be more clear of how common Dawson Casting is and how shocking it is. Compared to looking at how it is used in an individual show. If it was of a broader data set, it might be more appealing to others who have not seen the tv shows.

Final Mockup

I’ve decided to create an overview of all the TV Shows, as I am running out of time to make more individual outputs. I think that this overview is great for looking at all the data I have gathered overall. I have kept this sketch as simply as possible so as not to overcrowd the data. I feel like this shows the data the best as you can really compare the different casting of each show and can see what ones have Dawson Casting more prevailing throughout. I created this output through Illustrator by placing each sketch into the same document. The final piece is 900x900mm so is near A0 in size with each individual piece taking up 300x300mm.

All Data Final
Art Mockup

Overall, I don’t know how I feel about this project. I was rather excited about it at the start, but I feel as though I haven’t explored as much as I would have liked to. I think this shall be a project that I will revisit in my own time so that I can work on it better. I did like the experimentation and outputs that I have created, I just feel as though I should have had some more variation in what I have created. I think the fact I want to continue to explore data visualisation is a good thing, I just have yet to think of the next step of my exploration. What I will say is I quite liked making a presentation to then show slide by slide as I hadn’t really explored this since group projects in High School. So that was kind of fun as I had a structure to how I was showing my work, so at least something positive came out of Zoom.


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