Every Sunday for 52 weeks straight-out, Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec strolled to their respective mailboxes and fell a postcard in the mail. The postcards always came from the same place–Lupis from Brooklyn, Posavecs from London–and though they outlined, in fine detail, the mundanities of their daily lives, the mailings involved very little actual writing.
In one early correspondence, Lupi sent a card with an illustrated music staff whose notes represented every time she complained. In reaction, Posavec mailed a explode of colorful lines that communicated the same thing. In another, each sent a map of their respective cities — Lupi opting for an angular grid, while Posavec described hers with colorful circles.We didnt speak English or Italian( Lupis native tongue ), Lupi says. We spoke data.
It was a peculiar kind of correspondence, but it constructs sense. Lupi and Posavec are information designers, and their preferred media are facts and figures. I find data as another material, like paint or paper or clay or marble, says Posavec. Whatever people use to communicate a message. When they met at a design conference in 2014, the pair wonderedif they could get to know one another through their data alone. They started sending each other postcards illustrated with interpretations of data they had assembled over the week–how many complaints they induced, what animals they watched, which voices they heard, for instance–and called the project Dear Data.
Now they’ve compiled the postcards into a book of the same name. Its an intimate look at the well-being of two decorators as told through their personal data.
The book itself is charming, filled with hand drawn postcards and full-page spreads with insights about how it feels to keep a microscope on their own lives for an entire year.( The takeaway: it can get fairly uncomfortable .) Every postcard is printed in the book as it was sent in the mail, and comes with a detailed legend, explaining how exactly its meant to be read.
Throughout the year the designers documented–then illustrated–all forms of data: their jealousies, the doors they walked through, the positive supposes that passed through their minds.Despite the vast quantity of quantification, Dear Data feelsalmost like an anti-quantified ego project. Lupi and Posavec arent interested in calories, steps, or heart rate. Their project exploresthe more slippery details of daily life. This human-centric data is the reason why Dear Data doesn’t read as detached self-analysis. There are insights to be found, even in the categories they chose. Counting something means it matters, Lupi says.
After ayear, Lupi and Posavecnow view Dear Data as a( very public) publication. To them, datais a toolto help makesenseof “peoples lives”, to an extent thatmight not otherwise is the possibility.” Data is a way to filterreality in a way that words cannot ,” Lupi says. Lupi doesn’t mean the data she and Posavec collected is objective–far from it. What she means is taking stock of quotidianhabits, the ones we often dismiss, can sometimes lead to beautiful insights.