Giorgia Lupi is an information designer whose work takes a humanistic approach to data. In her practice, she challenges the impersonality of data, designing engaging visual narratives that reconnect numbers to what they stand for: stories, people, ideas. She is a pioneer in exploring new and inventive ways that information can be displayed, communicated and used to enlarge our understanding of the world.
She joins Pentagram from Accurat, the acclaimed data-driven research, design and innovation firm she co-founded in 2011, with
offices in Milan and New York. She will further Pentagram’s recent efforts to
expand beyond the traditional graphic design world.
“I am incredibly excited for this new adventure,” says Lupi. “I join Pentagram to expand and further my practice and explore how data visualization can be integrated as part of our daily experiences, in the things that we use, consume, wear, see.”
At Accurat, Lupi built rich, visually driven experiences around data for clients including IBM, Google, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Starbucks, United Nations, World Health Organization, Triennale Milano Design Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, World Economic Forum, Knight Foundation, LVMH Group, Gucci, Valentino, Target, JPMorgan Chase, Unicredit Group, Columbia University, University of California Berkeley, TED, Corriere della Sera, Scientific American, Popular Science, and Wired.
“Data can be a lens, a filter to parse the stories of a brand, of an institution, of a community of people, and then as a design material for communication design projects of different kinds,” Lupi says. “In this sense, I work with data that clients might have already gathered, as well as exploring new types of data that can be unearthed to tell more hand-crafted stories.”
Data is considered to be impersonal, boring and clinical, but Lupi‘s work proves the opposite. She often combines the original data with layers of softer and more qualitative information that renders and presents its more nuanced and human aspects.
What interests Lupi is the data we don’t see, the data that is not already in the form of data but can often help us see more, and better. In the project Bruises―The Data We Don’t See, developed in collaboration with the musician Kaki King, Lupi worked with King to create a visualization based on data gathered about an autoimmune disease King's daughter was suffering, to help assess how her health was progressing.
“Visuals are a central component in how we consume culture: as humans, we are visual creatures and we live immersed in a constant stream of images that amplifies our exposure to visual codes,” she says. “I am interested in exploring how to expand the language of this medium and use it to tell rich stories, where every visual feature is directly dependent on a component of the story itself, the data.”
By distilling personal experiences (activities, thoughts, behaviors, relationships) into what is coldly called data, and by actively building her datasets and expressing them as a designer and artist, Lupi seeks to find the humanity in data and discover overlooked details. She outlined the approach in her Data Humanism Manifesto (originally published by Print in 2017). Her TED Talk on her humanistic approach to data has over one million views.
In the Dear Data project, created with the information designer Stefanie Posavec, Lupi and Posavec traded weekly postcards across the Atlantic documenting in hand-drawn data illustrations what they learned about their lives, and highlighting how everyone can become a data collector. The designers shared the project in the book Dear Data (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016). Lupi and Posavec subsequently published Observe, Collect, Draw! A Visual Journal (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018), a guided journal for collecting visual data.
Lupi‘s work has been honored with numerous awards, including multiple gold medals at the Kantar Information Is Beautiful Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015, a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Festival of Creativity in 2013, the “Lezioni di Design” Prize at Milan’s Design Week in 2016, and a nomination for the Design Museum Beazley Design of the Year in 2016. Most recently, she was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2018, and joined MIT Media Lab as a Director’s Fellow.
Lupi’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, where in 2017 she was commissioned to create an original site-specific piece for the exhibition ITEMS: Is Fashion Modern?. Her work has also been exhibited at the Design Museum, the Science Museum, and Somerset House in London; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Museum of Design in Atlanta; the New York Hall of Science and the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York; at the Triennale Design Museum and the Design Week in Milan; and at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art in Israel, among others.
With the addition of Lupi, Pentagram now has 24 partners in four offices globally.