sharon dayoung lee

AIGA Design Census 2017

Data visualization of the AIGA Design Census (2017)


AIGA Design Census 2017
Crafting new meanings from data — bridging the gap between the designers and the public

Spring 2018
data visualization, web design, HTML/CSS, print, visual system

5 weeks group project with Mason Shor, Serina Liu, and Robert Managad



Our goal of the project was to utilize AIGA Design Census 2017 data to communicate about design and overcome the stereotypes that are associated with design. Our print piece and interactive web piece are both attempts to overcome the stereotypes that are associated with design through a fun narrative weaving through the interaction. We focused on giving user more control over the interaction as a fun element to our project.

My Role

I was in charge of coming up with an underlying concept, visual system, and the print piece.


Website explores the group as a collective of professionals, highlighting information regarding salary, location, and education.

View website here



The print explores the census data with a more personal approach. Print piece highlights the individuality of each designers by coupling data such as favorite songs, cups of coffee designers drink a day, etc. The spreads are 6 by 8 inches that unfolds into a 16 by 24 inch poster on the back.



Delving into the Census

The 2017 AIGA Census survey was collected by more than 13,000 designers around the United States. In order to clearly understand the data, we played around the numbers on Google Sheets and Excel.

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Targeting non-designers

Our group wanted to use the census data to communicate to non-designers about the design industry.

We were able to draw relatable incidents from our lives as everyone in our team had at least one awkward encounter at a dinner table or during family gathering about having to explain and support Design as a valid profession.


Concept Development

Combining our research and our the playful tone targeting our audience, we further delved into different ways of categorizing the data such as determining which data could spark initial interest and which one should be included on either print or web.

Once the order was set, we played around with the data trying to make sense of the each information relatively to another. This was an important process of the project because we did not want to overgeneralize the census.


Crafting Narrative

Serina started writing out the narrative, weaving in the humor here and there to create an motivation for someone who may not have previous knowledge in design to be able to read through the whole story. Serina created narratives for web and print so that, in the end, each narratives complements each other.



After revising our concept from the feedbacks, we moved on to explore color and forms. My role was to explored formal qualities of the visuals. As a group, we decided that we all liked the saturated blue.


Visual System

Similar to our narrative, we wanted the visual system to be bold and casual.

Visual Variables

We thought it would be interesting to adopt the letterforms of the AIGA to visualize data. We experimented with different methods of using the letterforms to convey information such as stroke weight, weight, color, and depth.

Color Iterations

Personally, the biggest challenge of the project aroused when we were deciding a color scheme that would translate well into both web and print. Although we loved the vibrant blue, we knew it would be impossible to get the same color in the print piece.

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Website Layout

Robert and I worked together to build a basic frame for the web piece. I looked at UI elements that had to be included on the web and Robert focused on laying out the interactions and user flow.

Print Concept
We used Google’s autofill search section as a primary concept of the print piece. We thought the search bar validates our overall concept of the project — that people were curious about design. We visualized the casual tone of the project through fun typography and scribbles.


Working in a team of four, we each had different strengths. This project was an opportunity to speak up and contribute to the team my strong points or the area I was passionate about, which were concept development and visual storytelling. The team setting also allowed me to learn from others and what they were good at. Being able to learn from team members is always the greatest takeaway.