The Data Design Manifesto
Designers have long discussed and tried to establish universal principles that could define what the elusive concept of good looks like.
Dieter Rams, famous for his industrial design work at Braun and inspiration for Apple's design identity, curated, in the late 1970s, a set of 10 principles he considered universal in making Design good. This is also where the adage "Less, but better" comes from.
Could we do something similar for Data Design?
(image credit: Live Studio https://www.behance.net/gallery/96071663/Rams-10-Principles-for-Good-Design-Posters)
I've seen and built quite a few dashboards. I've felt the frustration when users don't understand them and the triumph when they do. I like to think I got better at it over time, but it doesn’t come automatically. I still look for guidance from time to time to make sure I’m not getting lost in all the details, missing the mark of what 'good' feels and looks like.
Inspired by the practice and theory of great designers, while navigating the chaos of poorly collected requirements, disappointed users, beautiful dashboards that lead nowhere, and confusing reports that proliferate like weeds, came the idea of crafting something that could serve as a good set of universal guidelines, that I could rely on, to make sure I’m on track - even when all feels like a bit too much.
And so, The Data Manifesto was born.
In 2019, when I started Data Rocks, I started taking note of all the thoughts that helped guide me and create outstanding dataviz.
Multiple versions later, I landed on this set of 12 principles I use to inform my decisions when developing any dataviz piece, based on everything I believe makes data design not just good but great.
And as the visual person I am, I turned them into posters to have them around to inspire me on this journey.
The visuals are inspired by 1950s and 1960s Swiss Design movement, with a modern twist.