Information Design Workshop at HEAD 2015

Tell stories and imagine futures with data

Information design aims at explaining facts of the world that leads to knowledge and informed action. In this workshop we introduce different ways of extracting insights from data and convey a message effectively, rather than just attractively or for artistic expression. Participants will become familiar with techniques of data science, data visualizations and interaction design using Quadrigram, a tool to create data-driven websites. Over the week, they will produce two hands-on projects that tell stories and imagine fictional solutions based on real world datasets.


  • Become familiar with theories and practices related to data science, data visualization, information design and design fiction
  • Acquire a hands-on experience with a data visualization software
  • Practice telling stories with data
  • Practice imagining a future service, product, solution based on data
  • Develop a critical eye on the use of data


Participants can use the following datasets for their projects. They will explore their quantitative, temporal and geographical dimensions and their relations.

The World's Best Restaurants

The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, this is made with the votes of about 1000 experts organized into 26 panels divided into as many parts of the world, who vote their 7 favorite restaurants. In total more than 6000 votes serve to make the final list.

  • What are the trends (e.g. emerging markets, traditional centers of haute cuisine)
  • Is there a new geography of haute cuisine?
  • Is there a tendency for restaurants to "swallow or kill" their own proposals?

The Day of a Bike-Sharing System

According to some researchers, the bike sharing public system of Barcelona (Bicing) saves 12 lifes and avoids the emission of 9,000 CO2 tons per year. They suggest that the associated benefits of using bike for urban travel are much higher that the environmental risks and traffic accidents.

  • Are is the system distributed geographically?
  • What is the dynamic of the system on a regular day (e.g. peak hours, busy areas)?
  • What are the different dynamics between bike stations?

San Francisco Police Insidents

The San Francisco Police Department reports daily the incidents in the city. This allows people (e.g. community groups and neighborhood watches) with an interest in public safety to easily produce maps and reports of incidents from data contained in SFPD police reports.

  • What is the geography of crime?
  • What is the temporality of crime?
  • What are the shortcomings of this dataset?


Near Future Laboratory is a thinking, making, design, development and research practice based in California and Europe.

Our goal is to understand how imaginations and hypothesis become materialized to swerve the present into new, more habitable near future worlds. Our practice involves working closely with creative, thoughtful experts within various domains of work depending on the needs of any particular project. Our associations with a wide network of well-respected and accomplished practitioners makes it possible to work from concept development to construction of unique digital designs.