It’s that time again – Iron Viz feeder contest! The third and final round for a chance to battle at conference in a chef coat is upon us. This round the focus was on anything ‘Silver Screen.’
With a limitless topic I was certain that I would find myself in a creative rut that would likely result in submitting something at the end of the submission time period (August 13th). So I am as shocked as anyone else that I have a fully formed submission way before deadline.
So what’s the topic and what got me unstuck? Star Trek of course! The backstory here is amazing – I went to a belated wedding shower for a few friends and they mentioned to me that they were going to the annual Star Trek convention. And more specifically there was a special celebration occurring – the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Not even up for debate – it just IS the best incarnation of the Star Trek universe.
So I decided to take a moment to do some research on finding TNG data. It didn’t take me long to unearth this fantastic data set on GitHub that includes each episode’s script parsed out by character.
Really inspired by the thought of seeing each word of each episode visualized – I set forth on my mission. As I got started there was one component that was mission critical: the bold colors present throughout the world of Star Trek. The bold and moody colors of Star Trek are fantastic – especially paired with a black background. And working with individual scripts meant that I could use color to accentuate different characters – much like their uniforms do in the episodes.
The next component that I wanted to invoke on this (again – design focused here) was the electronics and computer interfaces. I particularly like the rounded edges and strong geometric shapes that are on the computer screens across all iterations of Star Trek. So that describes most of the design – the choice of colors and how some of the visualizations were setup.
Now on to the next important component here: analysis. When you see this visualization you may find yourself realizing that I don’t draw any conclusions. For this collection of visualizations I am playing the role of curator. I am developing a visual world for you to interact with, to go deep and wide in your understanding. I am not attempting to summarize data for you or force conclusions upon you. I am inviting you to come into the world of Star Trek, unearth who speaks during each episode, find out what that character is saying. I want there to be an unending number of takeaways and perceptions generated from this.
And the last part you need to understand is the story telling. This entire visualization has an untold number of stories in it by virtue of it being a visualization of the entire series. If you want a meta-story to tell it’s simply this: Star Trek The Next Generation is such a deep and rich world that you should go get lost. And while you’re on the path of getting lost do me a favor: retain some leadership tidbits from Picard and sprinkle in some logical takeaways from Data.