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What Is Data Visualization Art?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Data visualization art is a general term used to describe images and video intended to convey data, usually quantitative, in an aesthetically appealing manner. This art exists most prominently as a variety of stylized charts and graphs concerning the same theme. Interactive data visualization art, stylized charts and graphs that update in real-time, and artistic videos displaying data in an aesthetically engaging manner are also popular. The precision of data presented in such art varies drastically. Some offer precise quantitative data while others only present quantitative data in the form of relative magnitudes without providing clear and precise numbers.

The main appeal of data visualization art comes from its presentation of often-complicated quantitative data in a clear, understandable, and interesting artistic form. For this reason, many people use such art to spread information about causes that they believe are important, such as government spending or scientific findings. Data visualization art is quite common in the field of visual design, and many designers produce such art for practice, amusement, or as work for a company or individual. Depending on the motivations of the artist, artistic data visualization may place particular emphasis on either the data itself or on the presentation of the data. Some artists are able to effectively combine the two without detracting from either.

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A few different types of data visualization art are particularly prominent. Many are intended to demonstrate the change of something over time and use some form of a timeline as the main organizing feature. The timeline may serve as one axis of a graph or may organize a series of graphs and charts. Other common forms of data visualization art are used to compare various magnitudes, such as the size of stars or the amount of government spending on various projects. These often function by providing icons or images of different sizes or quantities relative to the differences between the magnitudes being presented.

Though data visualization art is by no means a new art form, the development of the Internet and increased popularity of computerized design tools has greatly increased the prominence of such art. The Internet is a widely-available medium for the dissemination of information, but because of the sheer volume of information available, people are unlikely to take time to read or study something, such as a simple black-and-white graph with simple text, that does not stand out in some way. Data visualization art is an effective way to draw attention to a particular body of information by making the relevant data stand out from the vast body of other available data.

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