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Contest: Your Annual Report

[Update: the final contestants & the winners]

The judges are pleased to bring you this blog’s second design contest. May you find this assignment, first and foremost, an opportunity for reflection and self-diagnosis at the end of 2007. The prizes and competition are secondary and incidental. They exist only to push forward the amateur designer who seems most inclined towards professional design.


  1. Design information in four ways to represent 2007 as you experienced it. This can mean:
    • four separate PowerPoint slides with one design apiece,
    • one JPEG with four designs gridded onto it,
    • an Excel spreadsheet inset with four charts,
    • etc.

    Feel free to use pies, bars, dots, bubbles, sparklines, stacks, or designs of your own construction.

  2. Submit your designs. Either:
  3. Post your reflections either:
    • in the comments here, or
    • at your own blog.

Illustrative Examples

  1. This slide, representing my music intake over 2007, comprises two designs, a bar chart and an ordered list:

  2. This page, representing Nicholas Felton’s travel habits in 2005, comprises four designs.


  • Sunday, January 13, 23h59, Pacific Standard Time




  • You own your slides, though we’ll post them here (attributed) and, in all likelihood, pick several apart.

How We Got Here

  1. The 2006 Feltron Annual Report, Nicholas Felton
  2. The 2005 Feltron Annual Report, Nicholas Felton
  3. Who Is Nicholas Felton?, Dan Meyer
  4. Information Design: Syllabus, Dan Meyer
  5. The New Division of Labor, Levy and Murnane
  6. The contest organizer’s raving conviction that assignments like these will be essential to math and language education in the 21st century.
  7. The contest organizer’s nagging suspicion that, in ten years time, his raving conviction will look either eerily prescient or (more likely) totally obvious.

26 Responses to “Contest: Your Annual Report”

  1. on 03 Jan 2008 at 2:05 pmMath Stories : design contest

    […] has set up a design contest that looks like it will be an opportunity to do some decent reflection on the year. Posted by Mr […]

  2. on 03 Jan 2008 at 6:29 pmNancy

    It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the contest was going to be based on yesterday’s post. Now the pressure is on—what if we had a boring year? Can we make stuff up? Can we claim celebrity status? Can we wait til you post then copy/paste? Is the winner from last contest exempt? This is very stressful.

  3. on 03 Jan 2008 at 6:41 pmjeffreygene

    my crazy january to-do list just got longer…
    +get over jet lag (second time in a month)
    +mark semester exams
    +determine semester grades
    +write out individual student comments
    +pull together another entry into dan’s design contest

    who cares about prescient or education – the last one was so much fun to enter i’m joining again!

    ps scott gets two votes?

  4. on 03 Jan 2008 at 6:41 pmken

    What if I’m all ‘thinking about design’, but saddled with an inability to convert thought to creation?


    Maybe, like Duffy Moon, I can close my eyes, puff my cheeks, and say, “You can do it, Duffy Moon” and then, like an after-school special, I’ll pull it all together and create something absolutely dazzling.

    bonus points if you remember Duffy Moon.

  5. on 03 Jan 2008 at 7:25 pmMr. K

    > What if I’m all ‘thinking about design’, but saddled with an inability to convert thought to creation?

    Don’t do it to win – do it to do it. Ii suspect the problem isn’t whether you can do it at all, but whether you can do it well enough that you’d feel comfortable showing it to anyone else (much less the world). You’re not going to get to that point if you don’t take the first step.

    So throw the data into excel. Have it draw a graph. Decide what you hate about the graph, and fix that. Already you’ll be ahead of 80% of the data presenters out there.

  6. on 03 Jan 2008 at 11:27 pmdan

    Nancy, I think the coolest part of this project is finding interest and beauty in the tedium. I spent at least 90% of my year parked behind a table at a coffee shop.

    So for my slides I’m developing a graph of my output behind that desk — words, pictures, & video.

    The winners from last contest, Ethan and Paul, have been converted into judges.

    In any case, Mr. K is right on. The point isn’t winning the thing, it’s the thing itself.

    PS. Jeffrey, got that typo fixed, thanks.

  7. on 04 Jan 2008 at 7:41 amAngie

    Here’s a great blog on design:

  8. on 04 Jan 2008 at 9:17 amdan

    Yeah, those boys are sharp.

  9. on 04 Jan 2008 at 2:55 pmArthus Erea

    Any limits on interactivity or animation? Still 4 designs, but with some interactivity (ie. zooming or hover). Or, must we once again keep it printable.

    If not, I’m thinking of breaking out the Javascript.

  10. on 04 Jan 2008 at 3:40 pmdan

    Run with it, Arthus. The judges, as I’m sure you’re aware, will give preference to signal over noise, no matter the medium.

  11. on 07 Jan 2008 at 11:27 pmNick Pernisco

    I’m done and just sent you an e-mail. The hardest part was remebering my media consumption choices… luckily I’m a create of habit so it’s not to hard to retrace my steps.

  12. […] it’s probably no surprise that I would “have a go” at Dan Meyer’s design competition No.2. The whole idea is to showcase 2007 in four information design jpg’s that utilise data in […]

  13. on 10 Jan 2008 at 8:44 amMath Stories : Annual Report

    […] So, this is my graphic annual report for Dan’s contest. […]

  14. […] Birthday Bucket idea is a hitch-hike on the “Annual Report” contest (deadline tomorrow…I probably won’t make it this year). What better idea on your […]

  15. on 12 Jan 2008 at 9:01 amJason Dyer

    I sent my entry as a mail attachment. Since I keep no details on my personal life whatsoever I had to resort to comedy. The four elements are:

    The word-association chart (with key)
    The line graph
    The scatterplot
    The highly revealing list of (2) data points

  16. […] dy/dan » Blog Archive » Contest: Your Annual Report […]

  17. on 12 Jan 2008 at 6:50 pmdiane

    Here you go, Dan. This should set the standard…high or low, is your call!

    I always enjoy your creative lessons plans and contests.


  18. on 12 Jan 2008 at 10:25 pm2007 In Review: Thoughts On Teaching

    […] I first thought of how I’d put together an entry for Dan’s contest, it struck me that Netflix stores a fantastic mine of information and no other example used that. […]

  19. […] Filed under: Mathematics, Visual Design — Jason Dyer @ 4:38 pm There’s a contest here at Dan Meyer’s blog. I considered not posting my entry here because it takes […]

  20. […] was inspired by dy/dan, who asked his readers to participate in an information design contest, and I was more than willing to do just that. It was also inspired by A Tribe Called Quest’s […]

  21. […] Review Posted in January 13th, 2008 by Dave Stacey in Misc I’m happy to reveal my entry into Dan’s 2007 Review Design competition. It’s the result of a few days pondering, and more hours with photoshop than I would care to […]

  22. on 13 Jan 2008 at 8:16 pm2007 Annual Report « Continuities

    […] Posted in General by Jackie on January 13th, 2008 Well, it is the last night for Dan’s contest. As I waited until the last day, there’s no time for a post reflecting upon the […]

  23. […] was a contest of sorts going on over Dy/Dan’s blog in which people are sharing information about their prior year in the form of an annual report. […]

  24. […] infographics which I’m pretty sure he stole from my math classes. His work inspired this blog’s annual report contest, which you’ll see again at the end of 2008. His annual report also inspired my classroom […]

  25. […] this new contest, Ken writes: What if I’m all ‘thinking about design’, but saddled with an inability to convert […]

  26. […] I want to enter this graphic design/information presentation contest, headed up by my blog hero dy/dan. So far I have ideas for 2 of the 4 pieces of information that I […]