The Chart Gallery 11/22: An interview with Maddie Hall

Posted by The Grafiti Team on 11/22/19 4:29 PM

In collection, insights, Newsletter, The Chart Gallery, interview

Welcome to a special edition of The Chart Gallery! Every Friday we're highlighting members of the data viz community, their favorite projects and sources for inspiration. Today we're excited to introduce someone from our own #datafam, our very own...


Maddie Hall!


Q & A

What do you want us to know about you?

After graduating in May from the University of Missouri with a degree in Data Journalism I moved to New York to work at Grafiti as their Community and Content Manager. I generally write the newsletter, make all of the collections on the front page as well as the collections posted to LinkedIn and Instagram.


What makes you passionate about data viz?

Before I began creating data visualizations I was studying and working as a journalist for the city paper, the Columbia Missourian. When I was given the opportunity to create the visualizations I realized that I could use both sides of the brain (not sure if that's even scientifically accurate) and be very creative with presenting information but still disseminating important knowledge. That combination really excites me and makes me passionate about making visualizations and working with talented creators.


Maddie's Creations

A Nobel Achievement
Adobe Illustrator
Nobel copy

"This is definitely my favorite visualization I've had the chance to make. I was asked to make this because at the time our paper had reported Dr. Smith's research but it was too technical and the readers were unable to grasp what his research was all about."

What did you learn from creating the infographic?
While I'm sure I could have taken some shortcuts, I made it my goal to create every illustration on the page. This taught me a lot about Adobe Illustrator and the creation process.

What were some of the pain points in creating the piece?
The layout and formatting of the infographic changed a lot over time. I was really fortunate to have a great editor for this project, Laura Stanton, who played a really big role in the final design and editing.

How much do you take your bathroom break for granted?
Adobe Illustrator

"As a trans person, I wasn't shocked by these statistics but felt like there needed to be more awareness on the issue. Some people know that bathrooms are a scary place for trans people but not many people understand just how much that fear can affect people. I'm also really happy with the kidney I made and how it is sort of a visualization in itself."

What did you learn from creating the graphics?
While I was aware that many trans women avoided using public restrooms I was definitely unaware that trans men avoid them at an even higher rate. It was a really great learning experience and reminded me that while our experiences are different, trans men and women still have many shared issues and concerns.

A tale of two rookies

Adobe Illustrator

"I was asked to do this by Grafiti's Luka Doncic superfan, Juan Castrence. I had a really great time visualizing the data and learned a lot about shading and drawing when making all of the assets for the collection including the podium on the title page and the player silhouettes."

What were some of the pain points in creating the visualizations?
The biggest pain point that I had was definitely working on Trae Young's jersey in the final slide. I couldn't find a way to reliably pattern the jersey with the triangles so I had to input them all individually which was a struggle, especially because sometimes the grid layout on Illustrator would act up for me.

What did you learn from creating the graphic?
I absolutely improved my knowledge in Adobe Illustrator and learned about the "Blob Brush Tool" that made illustrating much easier. Before this project I was using the pen tool to create all of my visualizations but learning about the Blob Brush Tool completely changed the way I work in Illustrator.


Maddie's Favorite Visualizations on the Web

Population Mountains by The Pudding

"The Pudding simply never fails to impress."

What did you learn from this graphic?
I knew that India had an incredibly large population but I never knew how densely populated the country was.

How did this piece influence your work?
What I love most about this piece is that Matt Daniels basically just said "it's hard to conceptualize this, let's figure out a new way to do this." I think it's a really good reminder that when you think outside of the box you can get some really amazing and enlightening results.


A View on Despair by Sonja Kuijpers of STUDIO TERP

"We've covered this graphic before and even interviewed Sonja in a previous newsletter, but this visualization is too cool and unique to not share again."

What did you learn from this graphic?
Not every visualization has to have a number or a graph in it at all to prove a point. Every single asset in the image above correlates to a person who committed suicide in the Netherlands in 2017. Even the individual stars and pieces of grass equate to an individual. When you put it all together it not only looks beautiful but showcases the systemic problems that countries around the world are facing and that we're all struggling.

Money by Randall Munroe

"Randall Munroe of XKCD is an amazing comic creator but he's also created some really outstanding infographics that I don't think get nearly enough appreciation."

What did you learn from this graphic?
Munroe has mentioned in the past that he made all of this by hand in Illustrator which taught me that you don't necessarily need to be an expert coder to create great visualizations, sometimes all it takes is a lot of work and time.


Check out Maddie's Grafiti Collection!


That's all for today's edition of The Chart Gallery.

These charts and more are all available at Grafiti - the search engine for charts, graphs & data!

Email us at with any questions, feedback and especially more charts.
Have a great week!
- The Grafiti Team