Welcome to Optimism

Data is Beautiful


Author and designer David McCandless of Information is Beautiful fame visited our agency this morning as part of our ongoing series on storytelling. Over breakfast and a series of data visualisation graphics, McCandless showed us how sometimes dry, random seeming raw data can open up compelling narratives. For instance, what periods of the year trend toward breakups, according to Facebook status updates, and why? And what happens when you look at the billions of dollars and pounds spent on military force versus GDP? The connections aren’t always obvious and don’t always correlate directly, but they can reveal interesting stories.

For more on David McCandless and data visualisation, visit www.informationisbeautiful.net. Thanks to David for stopping by today!



Swimming with Sharks

This morning, drama producer, teacher, and author John Yorke gave a breakfast talk at W+K about narrative and story structure — specifically how we use story structure to interpret the world around us. Using plenty of familiar examples — everything from Coriolanus to Jaws, with a side-by-side comparison of Star Wars and Harry Potter for good measure — he showed us how almost all stories take on a similar shape and help us make sense of experiences. Also, there’s usually a shark involved.

For more on how stories work and why we tell them, you can read his book, Into the Woods. A huge thank you to John for stopping by the agency!