Visualizing data with Isabel Meirelles

Isabel Meirelles - Impression view TO
Isabel Meirelles - Design for Information

Isabel Meirelles
Isabel Meirelles

Isabel Meirelles, Professor, Faculty of Design, is one of the world’s leading researchers in information design. Her book, Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations (2013, Rockport Publishers), is taught at universities around the world.  

Isabel Meirelles - Design for Information

In her research practice, Meirelles analyzes data visualization types and techniques with a goal to promote a knowledge base for the study of data visualization. It’s an area of research Meirelles became interested in after working as a graphic designer and art director in newsrooms in Brazil at the outset of her career, after which time she moved to the U.S. to study interaction and motion design. Prior to joining the OCAD U faculty in 2015, Meirelles was a professor at Northeastern University in Boston for 12 years.  

“We now have access to huge amounts of data, and when we’re working with large data sets, we need new competencies for analyzing data,” she says. “Students in graphic design are very competent in visual communication, but we need more literacy around data analysis and visualization.” Meirelles says it’s an important and emerging field for young designers to pursue. “Graphic design and journalism are great entry points, and there are lots of opportunities in data journalism,” she says.  

Isabel Meirelles - Impression view TO

Meirelles is a frequent speaker at international conferences on information design. In early 2017 she was invited to the world summit at the 25th anniversary of Malofiej, an annual international event hosted by the University of Navarra, Spain. The conference focuses on infographics and visualizations published in the media. Her paper examined infographic trends and strategies through an analysis of the event’s medal-winning infographics.  

Following the success of Information+ 2016 in Vancouver, Meirelles is organizing the interdisciplinary conference again this year, which will take place in October at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany. She will soon be publishing the results of a research project funded by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Design Educators Community Faculty Research Grant. The research looks at interactive visualizations and offers a framework for data types, tasks, audiences and techniques. 

In 2016, she co-led a visualization project in collaboration with the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation and the Mayor’s Office, with a goal to inform Torontonians of trends in recreation program fall registration. That same year she received the OCAD U Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.  

Meirelles encourages her students to learn about data visualization not only in the classroom, but also by involving themselves directly in the research. “Visualization practices involve visual literacy, which we’re really good at OCAD U. I try to introduce students to the analysis of data and how to structure and communicate information in engaging and effective ways.” 

Find out more: https://www2.ocadu.ca/bio/isabel-meirelles-0  

Template: 
Inline Image Template

Dr. Isabel Meirelles named 2015/16 OCAD University Award Winner

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dr. Isabel Meirelles wins the 2015/16 OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

The Office of Research and Innovation is pleased to announce that the 2015/2016 recipient of the OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity is Professor Isabel Meirelles from the Faculty of Design.

Photo of Isabel Meirelles

Prof. Meirelles joined OCAD University (OCAD U) in 2015 bringing her significant expertise and prestige to the University. She is a designer and educator whose intellectual curiosity lies in the relationships between visual thinking and visual representation. Her research focuses on the theoretical and experimental examination of the fundamentals underlying how information is structured, represented, and communicated in different media.

Prof. Meirelles is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences dealing with information design and visualization, motion graphics, and design education. Her next speaking engagement will be at the 25th Malofiej Infographics World Summit in Pamplona, Spain, in March 26-31, 2017. She co-chairs the Arts Humanities and Complex Networks Leonardo symposium, and was co-organizer of the Information+ conference supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), held at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD) in June 2016. She is also an Editorial Advisor for Leonardo Journal, a prestigious, peer-reviewed academic journal published by the MIT Press covering the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts and music.  

Prof. Meirelles has published numerous articles in the field of information design and visualization covering technical problems as well as the role of visualization in society, culture, and education. Her book “Design for Information: An introduction to the histories, theories, and best practices behind effective information visualizations” has received outstanding reviews. In a review by Choice, Prof. Meirelles was compared to the venerable Prof. Edward Tufte— a comparison of the highest esteem. She has also published articles in a variety of publications, including Science Communication, Visible Language Journal, InfoDesign Journal, and several international conference proceedings, like ACM-SIGGRAPH and the International Information Design Conferences in Brazil and in the UK.

An introduction to the histories, theories, and best practices behind effective information visualizations” (Rockport, 2013).

Through her professional and scholarly activities, she has made a significant impact on the local community. Since joining OCAD U, Prof. Meirelles has collaborated with other faculty members on new research initiatives. For example, Prof. Meirelles and Prof. Dávila have partnered with the City of Toronto to examine data from Parks & Recreation. This project is the starting point of a long-term engagement to develop an urban data observatory that will help place OCAD U graduates in the emerging visualization field, provide new research opportunities for faculty, and increase the perceived value of art and design practice within civic life, governance and policy making.

In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the City of Toronto Parks & Recreation, Isabel Meirelles and Dr. Patricio Davila started analyzing Recreation data with a team of four graphic design undergraduate students. In this photo, taken during the launching event with Mayor John Tory at the Visual Analytics Lab, the team is standing in front of one of the visualizations with Dr. Sara Diamond, President and ViceChancellor of OCAD U. From left to right: Isabel Meirelles, Siena DeBartolo, Shaheer Tarar, Dr. Sara Diamond, Jessica Yao, Dr. Patricio Davila, and Nathan Pilla. (Photo by Martin Iskander)

Prof. Meirelles also volunteers her time and expertise as the OCAD U faculty representative for the StudentMoveTO —an initiative by the four universities in Toronto to understand the nature of student transportation and how it affects their studies. She is also the University’s representative on the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform’s (SOSCIP) Science Advisory Committee.

In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the City of Toronto Parks & Recreation, Isabel Meirelles and Dr. Patricio Davila started analyzing Recreation data with a team of four graphic design undergraduate students. In this photo, taken during the launching event with Mayor John Tory at the Visual Analytics Lab, the team is standing in front of one of the visualizations with Dr. Sara Diamond, President and ViceChancellor of OCAD U. From left to right: Isabel Meirelles, Siena DeBartolo, Shaheer Tarar, Dr. Sara Diamond, Jessica Yao, Dr. Patricio Davila, and Nathan Pilla. (Photo by Martin Iskander)

In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the City of Toronto Parks & Recreation, Isabel Meirelles and Dr. Patricio Davila started analyzing Recreation data with a team of four graphic design undergraduate students. In this photo, taken during the launching event with Mayor John Tory at the Visual Analytics Lab, the team is standing in front of one of the visualizations with Dr. Sara Diamond, President and ViceChancellor of OCAD U. From left to right: Isabel Meirelles, Siena DeBartolo, Shaheer Tarar, Dr. Sara Diamond, Jessica Yao, Dr. Patricio Davila, and Nathan Pilla. (Photo by Martin Iskander)

***

The OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity recognizes faculty members for their outstanding portfolio of research, scholarship and creative activity, and the impact that activity has had on the broad spectrum of art and design research and practice internationally. The award also recognizes contributions toward undergraduate and graduate research and scholarly training.

 

keywords: 

Professor Isabel Meirelles receives OCAD University Award

Friday, January 27, 2017

Professor Isabel Meirelles receives OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

Professor Isabel Meirelles, Faculty of Design, has been presented with the OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. The award recognizes faculty members for their outstanding portfolio of research, scholarship and creative activity, and the impact that activity has had on the broad spectrum of art and design research and practice internationally. The award also recognizes contributions toward undergraduate and graduate research and scholarly training. 

Professor Meirelles holds many prominent positions in the field of Data Visualization. She is an Editorial Advisor for the prestigious Leonardo Journal, which is regarded as the highest standard of publication for this area of research. In addition to editorial duties, she has co-organized major international symposia for Leonardo for the past five years.

Professor Meirelles has published numerous articles in the field of data visualization covering technical problems as well as the role of data visualization in society, culture, and education. Her book, Design for information, an introduction to the histories, theories, and best practices behind effective information visualizations has received outstanding reviews, including a comparison to the venerable Edward Tufte in the review by Choice, a comparison of the highest nature in the field.

Since joining OCAD University Professor Meirelles has continued her own research program, but also started new initiatives both on her own and with her new colleagues.

StudentMoveTO is an initiative by the four universities in Toronto to understand the nature of issues of student transportation and how it effects their studies. Professor Meirelles has volunteered her time and expertise to be a Faculty representative for OCAD University on this important project. 

Poster: 
Photo of Professor Isabel Meirelles