Nicholas Felton & Moves
December 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Graphic and infographic designer, Nicholas Felton is the author of numerous Personal Annual Reports which beautifully exemplify his ability to turn mundane statistics and data into beautifully weaved maps, graphs and statistical visualisations, reflecting upon the year’s activities. He is also well known for [formerly] being part of the Facebook design team, influencing the design of Facebook’s timeline. His work spans across a vast array of publications including Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Wired, gaining the recognition as being one of America’s 50 most influential designers.
Felton gains inspiration from traveling and reading, looking upon modernist design, nature, math, patterns, geometry, science and music. In obsessiveness, language, humor, little moments, simplicity and elegance.
When designing, he begins by determining the simplest way to portray the data he’s been given, saying that things become complicated quickly, therefore there’s no point in beginning with a complex idea. Felton uses Illustrator to create a rendering of the data, or uses Processing for more complex data. Within Processing, he’s developed a range of graphing tools which quickly let him see the shape of the data he’s working with, stylin it using InDesign or Illustrator.
Nicholas’ key considerations when designing information graphics is that the finished product “be highly scannable and easily digested. For me, this means the elimination of complicated keys and fiddly connections between labels and items. Relationships should be as direct and unadorned as possible and free of unnecessary design flourishes.”
Felton is also the founder of website Daytum.com, which is used as an elegant and intuitive tool for counting and communicating personal statistics. Felton says “The promise of Daytum is that it streamlines the data collection process and removes the design obstacles. While I have to wait all year before I can see what my data looks like, with Daytum I can enter a day’s data or a month’s worth and see it immediately.”
I’ve unknowingly, until recently, been using one of Nicholas Felton’s creations, this being the app Moves. I downloaded the app over a year ago now, using it to track my movement to see what it looked like, out of curiosity. This is the app I’ve used to collect my own data set over the period of 2 months, and now looking upon Felton’s work and Annual Reports, I can see his visual style implemented into the application. Below are some screen captures of the app, displaying some of my data. The first image shows a day’s worth of data in one streamlined graphic, showing my movement in a chronological order. within the app you can cycle through the data by pressing the bubbles to display the distance travelled, the amount of time spent travelling, calories burnt and steps taken. The second image down shows each day (of which you scroll along a horizontal timeline) as a simplified data visualisation, telling me which form of transport I used, and how much which varies the size. The third image displays
the same information, but weekly. The fourth image shows a map of my movement on that day, each coloured line representing different modes of transport, I also have the option of including places I visit, I made note of my home, place of work, and University, as these are the three places I most frequently visit. The app will also inform me when I have reached a new record, be it of all time, of the month, or of the week. I’ve seen the app change over the time I’ve been using it, becoming more visually pleasing as it’s been updated. When I aquired this application it was free to install, however, a price tag of £1.99. The app can also be used in conjunction with other applications, using moves-export you can view my movement summaries in graphs and maps, by clicking the hyper-link you’ll see my own profile.
Felton also created a Processing application that utilises Moves.app API to collected this data including places, distances and gps coordinates and map it in a sketch, I am currently configuring the code to allow me to perform this sketch, however there is currently an issue with the code, which Felton is yet to amend.