Days in Plates | Communication Design

Design Brief: there are two goals of this project, one is to communicate a large amount of data clearly and interestingly, and the other is to design the way people interact with this set of data. Days in Plates is a design communicating my personal eating habit. In order to bring the tedious data alive and to convey information clearly, this design incorporates SHAPE, COLOR, SIZE, SOUND, MOVEMENT, and many other communication tools. For the complete design, please watch the demo video. A small part of the interaction is coded in D3, you can find it HERE.

Individual project presented in 4 weeks | 2014
Project completed in the course “Communication Design Studio” under the instruction of Stacie Rohrbach


Days in Plates | Process


Data used in this visualization is collected in Evernote and then synthesized in an excel sheet.


How to clearly communicate a large volume of data is the biggest challenge in this design. After a series of categorizing, prioritizing, and eliminating, the final design communicates information at two levels: meal level and ingredient level.


This design uses a circular structure instead of a linear structure to show all the data in a single page. This setting also represents the look of a plate which directly communicates the topic of food. Data structure is then built with D3.


A color palette is used to differentiate ingredient categories: meat, vegetable, dairy, carbo, and other. Matching up audiences’ past color impression of these categories, colors communicate information fast and clear.


Since there is no big difference in the total amount of food consumed each meal, the size and shape of each ingredient represents how much this ingredient was eaten in a specific meal.


Adding too much visual elements on top of each other can be distracted for audiences. In this case, sound can serve as a powerful communication element to layer more information. On the right, there are three sound tracks that are used in this design.


Movement can be an interesting element to play with. In this design, different cooking methods are also communicated by the movements of oven firing, microwave circling, and coin dropping.


The shapes of chopsticks and forks are used to communicate whether this meal is under the category of asian or western. The positions of these shapes differentiate each other even if they are seen from a distance.


Days in Plates | Future Scenario

New ways of interacting emerge everyday. Building upon the concept of Days in Plates, here is a future scenario on the utilization of this data.



Days in Plates | Poster

In order to communicate rich information in a poster, the priorities of different sets of data should be first determined. In this poster, audiences can see information on meal level from a distance. But if they step closer, information on ingredient level is also fun to explore.


Skills Communication Design, Programming