blog/Musings

Figmasset: reducing design friction while making map markers

Steve Bennett | 09.20.21

When we’re rapidly iterating on creative map designs at Stamen, one source of friction is testing new map icons in a live map. Designers often have to resort to mock-ups of marker designs on a static map, which makes it hard to see how the icons really perform. Or we go through manual steps each...

The Election Ring Map sneaks into Ken Field’s new “Thematic Mapping” textbook

Alan McConchie | 08.26.21

Last November, as part of Stamen’s 2020 roundup of presidential election maps (“We design maps for a living. Here’s who got the 2020 election right“) published in Fast Company, I sketched out the idea for a new kind of election map which I hadn’t seen implemented before. The map shows a colored ring for each...

Five days at the University of New Mexico teaching design & fermentation

Eric Rodenbeck | 07.08.21

I was lucky enough to be invited to help teach my pal Janet Abrams’ new design program, Architecture + Design Summer Academy at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque last week. I flew(!) in on Sunday, spent a week with Janet and the amazing UNM professor Francisco Uviña helping to shepherd high school students...

Diversity in Design Collaborative Launches to Take Meaningful Action to Increase Diversity in the…

Eric Rodenbeck | 06.15.21

Members Join Forces Around Commitment to Improving Representation of Black Creatives in Design, Increasing Design Career Opportunities and Focusing on the Education Pipeline to Create Long Term and Lasting Change Founding members include 2×4, Adobe, Architecture Plus Information, Aruliden, Civilization, COLLINS, Dropbox, Fossil Group, Freeman, fuseproject, Gap Inc., Herman Miller Group, Knoll Inc., Levi Strauss...

New Smithsonian Acquisition: Watercolor Maptiles by Stamen Design

Eric Rodenbeck | 05.25.21

[Last week, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum announced that Stamen’s Watercolor map tiles would be added to their permanent collection. As part of that announcement, they released a 5 minute video showing Stamen Design founder Eric Rodenbeck talking about the origins and reception of the Watercolor map. This is post is a brief transcript...

Letter to a young data visualizer

Eric Rodenbeck | 03.12.21

(with apologies & in homage to Rainer Maria Rilke and William Burroughs) From time to time I get asked for advice by young people about paths to careers in dataviz. My path to the field started over twenty years ago. There was no Masters of Data Visualization at the New School when I went there,...

Some thoughts about dataviz in the age of COVID-19

Eric Rodenbeck | 06.24.20

Dataviz is clearly having a moment in the COVID-19 and social justice crisis — perhaps a definitive moment. Every time I turn around I see another chart, set of small multiples, dashboard. Some of them are great, some of them are just so-so, and some of them are actively dangerous, just like any other form of expression...

Objects to think with: Some thoughts about the history and present of data visualization…

Eric Rodenbeck | 05.14.19

I was lucky enough to be invited to give the first talk at Visualized 2019 in San Francisco last week. Tamara Munzner, whose book we have at HQ, talked about encoding data. Vetria Byrd teaches dataviz to undergrad students and is seeking to broaden participation in the field. Steve Franconeri discussed principles for annotating visualizations...

It’s about time OpenStreetMap showed native lands on the map

Alan McConchie | 11.22.18

I’ve been using OpenStreetMap (OSM) for over 12 years now, and to this day I’m still impressed and amazed by how far this project has come. The audacity of OpenStreetMap’s core ideals — that volunteers can create and maintain a detailed map of the world, and that this collaborative map would be more democratic and fair than...

What is data visualization for?

Eric Rodenbeck | 05.04.18

“The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures.” — Manuel Lima, quoting computer scientist Ben Schneiderman “Data visualization is not your creative outlet; data visualization is making data understandable.” — OpenVizConf “[Before the Data Viz Project] there [was] no one place to go, where there are the correct answers for how the data visualizations work.” — Jeppe “Yes, you can design...