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Data Illustrator Looks to be a Very Promising Application

I’m getting quite excited about a new application that I recently discovered: Data Illustrator. Although this new tool is still in its early stages, it looks very promising:

Ever since seeing Nam Wook Kim’s project, Data-Driven Guide: Designing Expressive Information Graphics (also check out this video), I’ve been eagerly awaiting access to an application like this. I believe applications that allow to “bind” the data to shapes and paths to affect their visual properties (area, length, colour, etc.) to be future of chart creation software.

The Data Illustrator project is a collaborative effort between Adobe and a group of academics from Georgia Tech. The project is already winning awards, as it was awarded the Best Paper Awards from the Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2018.

An application such as Data Illustrator is more idea for me because I come from a graphic design background and not from a coding/computer science one. Although I know some code, my knowledge very limited and learning new programming languages requires time and practice. But even if I were a proficient developer, I would still have to create charts in code and not draw them out visually.

My main application for producing charts and infographics is Adobe Illustrator. While this application allows for maximum freedom for drawing charts, it’s often done manually, which is tedious and can be very time-consuming. Adobe Illustrator does have tools (the Graph Tools) to generate charts, but they’re limited and haven’t been updated in years.

Data Illustrator still somewhat maintains the design interface and flexibility of Adobe Illustrator but allows you to automate part of the chart drawing process. This allows for chart drawing experimentation that wouldn’t be possible with just coding.

It’s also possible to generate multiple charts together and create complex infographics like Accurat’s piece on Nobel Laureates and Prizes. The tutorial video below demonstrates how this is possible in Data Illustrator:

I’ve already gone through all the tutorial guides under Getting Started to make sure this tool was the real deal before I write about it and promote it. I can definitely see myself incorporating Data Illustrator in my future projects and I look forward to the updates.

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