You Just Put Your Lips Together

Regarding this new contest, Ken writes:

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

Mr. K replies with the implicit mantra of this contest and of my Information Design course:

Don’t do it to win – do it to do it. I 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.

A few founts of information, if it helps get this process moving for you:

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Also worth taking a look at is your Google History ( which includes your search history from all of Google’s products as well as web history if you have it enabled. Very interesting stuff!

  2. And now I’m all Stuart Smiley: “And gosh darnit, I’ll give it a try!”

    Time for pie chart and Ken to spend some quality time together over the weekend.

  3. Er, not that I don’t believe the person who I already asked (who said no – it can’t be done. Who I trust implicitly. Who I forgot has recently subscribed to comments. Crud…)

  4. This is so funny about Ken wondering what to do because one of his comments on my blog is going to be featured in my annual report. So Ken, you are participating in this, whether you want to or not. Sorry!

  5. dan,
    thought you would want to check out the ny times website that is following the election — there are some great graphs, especially halfway down the page is a multimedia link with an interesting breakdown of the voters. btw, thanks for the graphing stories, i fed it to the algebra 1 teachers, and those who used it, ate it for lunch and were satisfied. keep up the good work.