The hardest working person in data visualization is, hands down, Stephanie Posavec. She calls herself a “Data Illustrator who doesn’t code,” and she spent 3 weeks marking up a copy of Kerouac’s “On the Road” to prove it. Rather than using Excel or a database, Stephanie used different colored markers and special annotation to gather the data. She hand sketches all of her concepts and hand designs each final piece. She describes this as “Obsession as a Design Solution” and I definitely think it draws her closer to her subject matter than most other practitioners in the field. She’s able to create a very personal relationship with the data and the subject. As she talked about her process, it was almost like she was figuring out what she does and how she does it while giving her talk. Regarding algorithms to do the same tasks, she remarked that what she does is unique and has no algorithms - “nobody’s figured out how to do that yet with computers, so maybe human is a good way” she quipped.