Master Design

How to Design Stories out of Data?

Suze Swarte
Data visualization as a tool in the graphic designers toolbox.
Major Master Design
Year Second Year

Graphic designer Suze Swarte is doing design research on data visualisation and the apparent objectivity of data visualisation. Unconsciously Suze has always been attracted to this discipline: even in her drawings as a child, elements of data visualization can be found.

As part of her design research, she made a mapping of the landscape of data visualisation; which designer is doing what? By positioning herself in this landscape, she became outspoken in her professional practice about the use of data visualisation. In conversations with experts, she introduced mappings as a conversation piece. In various workshops (for example at the Algemene Rekenkamer and the Hogeschool Van Amsterdam) she sought the value of data visualization as a method. Now, when Suze is designing photo books or exhibitions, she looks for data visualization elements that will help her with her storytelling.


There is no absolute relationship between source and form. That might be tricky. You can play with data visualization deliberately as long as you do it in a transparant way.

Richard Vijgen

Research question and sub-questions
How can I, as a graphic designer, combine data visualization and storytelling to create (layered) data stories?

  • Which elements from data visualization and storytelling are important for my (layered) data stories?
  • How can I interpret (artistic) data visualization and position myself within this discipline?
  • What do my roles look like, which processes do I go through, what is the context in which I work and what is the relevance? What is the relevance of my method of working for other professionals and students?
  • How can I create awareness within the debate about the apparent objectivity of data visualisation?

Studio Suze Swarte.