How To Build A Data Visualization From Scratch

R/GA’s data team makes an interactive data viz look easy in this exclusive video.

How To Build A Data Visualization From Scratch

There’s no single formula for creating a great data visualization. Like so many things in life, the best way to learn is to simply watch the experts.

In this exclusive video created by R/GA with Fast Company, the advertising agency’s data team explains the basics of the art and science of data viz. “We have a mantra that we say: ‘The data is the brief,'” says R/GA managing director Marc Maleh. “The data is what’s going to tell the story–everything else comes second to that.”

In a month-long project created for Fast Company‘s 2014 Innovation By Design conference, R/GA’s designers mined a data story from Amazon’s book sales API to create a stunning visualization. The result–called “Cover Stories”–identifies color palettes of best-selling titles in each of Amazon’s main genres and generates patterns based on what’s most popular among publishers. (Spoiler: in the “Romance” section, flesh-toned covers rule.) Watch the video to see how they did it.