Dear Data, The Book


After lots of pencil-sharpening and scribbling-outs,
we are pleased to announce that our book is out!

This 300-page, large-format flexibound book is something special and different from what you’ve seen on our website. Along with presenting our fifty-two postcards, we’ve also included newly-drawn illustrations celebrating what we've learned about our lives in data, highlighting how everyone can become a data collector.

In a world where computers and algorithms are the default go-tos, this carefully-crafted book highlights how we’ve explored this weekly imperfect, offline approach to uncovering the warm heart at the center of our everyday data. As Maria Popova wrote in her touching foreword (US edition):
“[this] book reclaims that poetic granularity of the individual from the homogenizing aggregate-grip of Big Data.”



We hope Dear Data inspires you to slow down, take stock, and draw – to see the world  through a new lens, where everything and anything can be a creative starting point for play,  expression and connection.  

You’ll find our fifty-two cards in this book, along with the thoughts we had while conceiving and crafting them. The postcards have not been edited: they appear exactly as they did when originally received through the mail, highlighting a year of learning, doubts and indecision as well as love, affection, and humour. Bearing all the scuff-marks of their journey across the ocean, together they form a personal data-diary that first we shared with each other, and now we share with you. We also present what we’ve learned from this year of collecting our daily data, expanding upon how we gained meaning from what we collected, and on our artistic process.


“In other words, Dear Data paints a human portrait with data. With each graph and information map, we get a deeper sense of the authors’ personalities. What emerges from this information overload is a fascinating catalogue of the complexity of daily living. By tracking such minutiae, Lupi and Posavec, who both work in information design, reveal the patterns that inform our decisions and affect our relationships.”

— The Washington Post

“Experiencing the project anew, in this beautiful analog form, only amplifies its deeply humane ethos of reclaiming the living texture of “data” in our everyday lives from the word’s unfeeling, algorithmic, non-human connotations. And, indeed, the “data” which Posavec and Lupi record are of the humanist, humanest kind — kindnesses (thanks paid, compliments received, smiles beamed at strangers), grievances (vanities, envies, self-criticisms), creaturely joys and vices (solitude savored, distractions succumbed to, beauty relished).”

— Brainpickings

“Despite the vast amount of quantification, Dear Data feels almost like an anti-quantified self project. Lupi and Posavec aren’t interested in calories, steps, or heart rate. Their project explores the more slippery details of daily life. This human-centric data is the reason why Dear Data doesn’t read as detached self-analysis. There are insights to be found, even in the categories they chose.”

— Wired

“Dedicate the time and the information encoded in Lupi and Posavec’s postcards is not only revealing, but poignant. As well as choosing topics around items, such as the contents of their wardrobes or the number of drinks they’d had that week, the pair also scrutinised their behaviour.
Both are mind-boggling intricate. The keys to each chart are minute, cypher-like instructions, peppered with anecdotes and asides.”

— The Guardian

“Dear Data is a rich and inspiring teasure-trove of creatively rendereded data, giving visual shape to the more mundane aspects of the two authors’ lives.”

— Boing Boing

“Reading through Dear Data and pouring over all of the curious and clever charts, graphs, and diagrams they created, you really feel both women making unique discoveries about themselves, identifying previously unseen patterns in their behavior, and in the very woodwork of their lives.

This book will likely be an inspiration to anyone who works in rendering data, who is interested in mail art or art journaling, and anyone who simply enjoys exploring the creatively examined life.”

— Boing Boing

“Lupi and Posavec’s approach teaches mental and emotional attentiveness. Their examples inspire you to think creatively about your personal habits, and to approach them with a slowness that lets you reflect on their meaning.”

— Quartz

“The book itself brims with personality, and one of the most captivating discoveries is tracking the ways in which their two approaches differ – by the time you’re a third of the way through, it’s possible to discern whose diagram is whose simply by the visual schema they’ve used. It inevitably leads you to think about the way in which your own mind organises the data it accumulates, often subconsciously.”

— BBC Culture

“Such an information-rich year could inspire others to better calculate aspects of their lives they never thought to tabulate, with the goal of seeing patterns and perhaps fine-tuning negative behavior. And better yet, illustrating our life’s data by hand can allow us to slow down and invigorate our creative selves beyond the digital.”

— Vice, motherboard

“These postcards are tiny maps of emotion, and as each artist draws out their life in new clusters and graphs, you see how their creative companionship blossoms. Each detail, from complaints to laughter, is delicately translated into pinpoints on a greater map of friendship. We hope these postcards inspire you to map out your own life and remind you to pay attention to the little things.”

— Bust Magazine

“Through the process of examining their worlds in new ways, and noting emotions, sounds, and thoughts Lupi and Posavec, like the pre-telecommunication era Decker writes about, reveal a sense of space and time that we’d never considered. Through their weekly postcard exchange the two got to know each other, and themselves. The world around them was data to be collected, to be examined.”

— Data Matters

“This is a remarkable visual snapshot of the lives of two bright women corresponding with each other in innovative ways and will appeal to designers and best friends alike.”

— Publishers Weekly, June 2016

“We live in a world obsessed with big data. But “Dear Data” harks back to a more nostalgic era when we deliberated over the information we took in and offered to others. Let’s call it Slow Data. “To draw is to remember,” the authors write, and their book reminds us that physical documents can be a time capsule we continually pore through long after Facebook and Instagram have made way for the next internet flavor of the month.”

— The Seattle Times

“It makes for compulsive reading and shows us that data doesn’t have to be boring and clinical – the pair’s offline approach is a heartwarming record of their day-to-day activities, and a revealing glimpse into their lives.”

— Grafik

“Dear Data is a nice reminder that even in this hyper-technological, ever-connected world, there is a beauty and simplicity in returning to a way of connecting that both roots us to our world and to one another.”

— Data Matters

“Dear Data will make you pause and think about what data can reveal about a person. It makes you realise that you don’t need an app to tell you anything new about yourself. Every one of us is a walking data collection, from the money in our bank account to the calories we consume in any given day. This book is a wonderful illustration of just how data-heavy the average person is. As a project, an exhibition and a book, Dear Data is fascinating, beautiful and a treat for the eyes and mind.”

— Eng Tech Mag

“In the so-called age of “Big Data”, where we leave a data trail just by living (through our purchases, movements through the city, Internet browsing, etc), we’re surrounded by companies and governments that quantify us—and many eagerly use data-tracking apps to become more efficient human beings. Our data is aggregated, and algorithms are supposed to give us answers to anything—indeed, even to our love life. In this world, Dear Data is an invitation to step back, enjoy, and interpret the imperfect, subjective data of daily life. It’s a “personal documentary” rather than a “quantified self” project, its creators write.”

— Literary Hub

“Dear Data seeks to show that data needn’t always be used for improving efficiency, but can also be used as a way for individuals to connect with themselves and with others at a deeper, more humane level.”

— YCN News

“As designers, conversations about how clients can use Big Data to understand users are commonplace for Lupi and Posavec. Dear Data allowed them to step back and explore the bits of small data that they gathered without the help of apps and body trackers. Where big data can seem both cold and hard, unsafe and scientific, Dear Data offered a method for pulling personality from the numbers, getting to know someone not through words but through actual behavior.”

— Magenta, Huge


"Can you get to know a person through data alone?” The Guardian
"Here's what happens when two designers speak only infographics" Wired
"Dear Data Postcard Project acquired by Museum of Modern Art" CoolHunting
"Dear Data: The Designers who turned Daily Habits into Art" BBC Culture
"Dear Data: A Lyrical Illustrated Serenade to How Our Attention Shapes Our RealityBrainpickings
"Small data is the new big data" Literary Hub
"Two women explore their friendship through data analysis and mail art" Boing Boing
"These beautiful, hand-drawn infographics capture the patterns of life" Business Insider
"A data-driven approach to journaling shows you how to track and analyze emotions with pen and paper" Quartz
"Our Data, Ourselves" Slate
"How two designers put the personality back in data" Magenta, Huge
"Letter writing meets Big Data in 'Dear Data'“ Data MattersThe New School
"The minute data of everyday life" The Washington Post
"How two pen pals learned about each other through data mapping" Vice - Motherboard
”Dear Data’: a portrait of the data points that create a life" The Seattle Times
"10 Hand Drawn Postcards Document the Data of a Female Friendship" Bust Magazine
"How 2 Data Pros Became Friends Exchanging Data Visualizations of Their Lives"  AdWeek
"Hot Data" Grafik

BEST BOOKS of 2016 / GIFT GUIDES: MentalFlossQuartzFast CompanyPSFKGrainEditAmazon Best Art Books of 2016Wired, Print Mag


2016: WNYC Note to Self (plus bonus: Musical Compositions from our postcards!)
2016: Science Friday 
2015: Five Thirty EightCBC Spark RadioData StoriesPolicyVizPolicyViz2


Dear Data won the Gold Medal in "Data Visualization Projects" category
and "The Most Beautiful Project" at the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2015
Dear Data was nominated for the DesignMuseum Beazley Designs of the Year 2016.
Dear Data is among the finalists for the Innovation By Design Awards 2016.
Dear Data was acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.


Current exhibitions: 
Our Lives in Data, Science Museum, London.

Past exhibitions:
Big Bang Data, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
BreraDesignDistrict at Fuorisalone, Milan.
It Takes Two, evening presentation, Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Big Bang Data, Somerset House, London.
Measure 3, Storefront for Art and ArchitectureNew York. 


BrainpickingsFlowing DataWiredVice - The Creators ProjectThe Daily Mail (!) Fast Company - CoDesignFusion.netWashington PostThe Huffington PostLa LetturaDesignTaxiPrintMagazine, io9Courrier InternationalKottkeFrizziFrizzi, Design WeekPostcrossingBoooooooom, The GuardianSomerset House / BigBangData.