Contest: My Annual Report II

I hate to repeat myself like this but let’s run this one again.

Throughout 2008 I tracked dozens of variables, most collected from categories of geographic location, recreation, food & beverage, and communication. I collected these data in an Excel file comprising 14 worksheets in excess of 100,000 cells. The process took minutes per day and that minimal investment is paying out huge returns here at the end of the year as I learn new techniques for data analysis, extrapolate conclusions from 2008 — some of which I knew intuitively while others surprised me — and represent them visually.

The work has been nothing short of exhilarating and I want to encourage you to undertake it also.


  1. Design information in four ways to represent 2008 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. Last year’s entries.
  2. Nicholas Felton’s 2008 Report, to which this content owes a debtTo all the armchair graphic designers hating in the comments, time to give it a shot yerselves..


  • Monday, February 2, 23h59, Pacific Standard Time


  • TBD


Prizes for First Place, First Runner Up, and People’s Choice Award. Don’t forget to declare your winnings next April, etc.


  • You own your images, though we’ll post them here (attributed) and, in all likelihood, pick several apart.
  • Let’s limit this to those with some demonstrable connection to education — students, teachers, professionals, edubloggers. Basically, no professional designers slumming it.
I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Colette Cassinelli

    January 19, 2009 - 6:14 pm

    OK, Dan … I’m in. Time to start collecting information.

  2. Mark

    January 23, 2009 - 8:40 am

    I’m in. I hope its not too late to figure out the previous days of January.

  3. Dan Meyer

    January 23, 2009 - 7:45 pm

    @Alice, kudos for prompt submission, but don’t think for a second that your fourth slide curries you any favor with the judges.

  4. A. Mercer

    January 23, 2009 - 9:31 pm

    I’m always the first submitter aren’t I?

    I did not think that pic was going to curry favor, it was just, right visually. But as always, you will either agree or think my taste was all in my mouth.

  5. Colette Cassinelli

    January 24, 2009 - 4:43 pm

    Hey Dan – Here is my submission: You should rename this contest: “How I spent Saturday afternoon when I should have been cleaning the house”. (now you know why I got it done!)

  6. Ben

    January 27, 2009 - 6:07 pm

    OK, I’m in. Now I just need to convince my wife that I’m busily planning my semester instead of creating an Annual Report. :-)

  7. Alby

    February 1, 2009 - 3:56 am

    Trackback doesn’t seem to have worked, so mine is here.

  8. Erick

    February 1, 2009 - 1:03 pm

    I had fun creating my 4 slides. I spent more time that I had but not as much as I would like to create this. Makes me wish I had some fancy graphics software and the time to learn to use it.

  9. Claire

    February 2, 2009 - 11:12 pm

    Sent my entry in by email. “Entry” loosely, I suppose, since I’d no real intention of competing. Still, it was an interesting experience. I had no idea how much time and money I spent on my cell phone.