Any day now: visualizing the baby guessing game by Sam Shannon

A frozen lasagna. A cute onesie. A coupon for future babysitting. These are gifts you'd usually bring new parents.

I made this poster for my brother- and sister-in-law instead. A data visualization of baby pool guesses about my newborn niece.

If you’re unfamiliar with a ‘baby pool’, it’s a baby-guessing-game tradition, typically played at baby showers or collected by parents. From birthday to birth weight, loved ones try to intuit when and how the little one will arrive.

As a participant in my niece's baby pool and someone who works in data visualization, I had an issue with this tradition: no one saw the guesses, you just found out the winner.

So I got my hands on the guesses (still the oddest dataset I’ve worked with to date). And I decided to put a new spin on this classic baby game, visualizing the exciting experience new parents share with loved ones as they await their little one.

This print hangs in my niece’s room – a memory to look back on when she’s older. The story of everyones’ best guess of when and how she’d arrive (even though no one came close).

What started out as an unusual gift turned out to be a baby-pool-keepsake parents didn’t know they wanted, until they could see it. After improving and building on the design, ‘Any Day Now’ is now a pilot project with a few other parents-to-be.