ontheroadSince there is a dearth of original content here, I thought I’d send you over to Made by Many, where there’s a cool interview with designer, artist, and data visualizer Stefanie Posavec:

I wanted to find a way of communicating the complexities found in literature and highlighting the similarities and differences in the writing styles of various authors.The structure of a novel and its punctuation, parts of speech, and words per sentence were used to generate the final complex patterns. Any piece of literature can be visualised using these approaches, but the focus of the project was the novel On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, because of its importance to me while I was growing up in Denver, Colorado – a key city within the novel.

For this project I gathered all of the data by hand, counting words and sentences, and carefully dividing a battered copy of On the Road into key themes (such as Women, Parties, Sketches of Regional Life, and so on) using markers and highlighters.

I was able to reduce the entire novel into a stack of paper filled with lists of numbers. I found this process of compression incredibly satisfying. Using these numbers, I created the graphics by hand in Adobe Illustrator instead of using a specific program to generate the visuals.

Finally, the whole aesthetic of the series of posters and books was based around the time period when On the Road was written. I selected typography that referenced typefaces in use at the time, and I chose the colours used to represent key themes within the novel from 1940s vintage car paint swatches.

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