Creative constraints for data visualisation practice by n/a

Bio: I am an information designer and data sonification artist. I'm passionate about creating short, impactful data stories as well as nuanced, complex data-rich long reads. Throughout the design process I try to be guided by a key principle. The words, data visualizations and pictures presented to the audience should work together in harmony. A harmony which is developed iteratively, collaboratively and over time. My professional background is in academic research and statistics. I live in Leeds (UK) and love to spend my spare time on experimenting with, and making, music.

Project description:
This visual essay, including interactive data visualisations, was created as part of a personal project for my portfolio. The essay can be found at It is not optimised for mobile, so best viewed on a larger screen.

In summary: In the essay I show how setting myself arbitrary constraints helped me to be more creative in my data visualisation design practice. Constraints like working in greyscale and working with only a single chart type. The idea came from my practice as an electronic music producer, where for the last few years I have used arbitrary constraints to help me to come up with musical ideas. The visualisations within the essay show a well-known dataset from environmental economics. A dataset that tracks the relationship between the wealth of a country and its carbon emissions.

The target audience: data visualisation practitioners who are interested in learning more about novel techniques for promoting creativity in their practice.

Process: I started by setting myself some arbitrary constraints. Then working within these constraints I developed a series of interactive data visualisations. I then iteratively developed an essay reflecting on, and sharing, my experiences of working within the constraints. I received helpful feedback throughout the process from the Elevate Data Viz community.