Project description

Datasketch Store is the first design store with social impact with data visualizations that seeks to democratize access to knowledge and inform citizens about issues of public debate in our society. We create data-based products to inform about gender, anti-corruption, human rights and the environment. This idea became a reality when we decided to bring citizens a voice using data and facts with what they wear. We saw the need to collaborate with citizens so they become aware of the impact that data and public information have on our daily lives. We see in the dissemination of visualizations an effective instrument to activate citizenship and disseminate messages that allow us to make better decisions as a society.
The sales of these not only help us promote our content in an innovative way but also is used to finance our data journalism activities, for us to create awareness on various social problems.

Take for instance these bananas ( They are a reference to the region in Colombia where there have been historically more massacres: banana plantations. The graphic is built with 24.000 points, each point represents a victim of massacres in Colombia. Those are crazy numbers, sadly Colombians do not really understand their dimension. By making Colombians wear this numbers we encourage word of mouth help them understand these issues.
The explanation of the data can be found inside the t-shirt were usually you find the washing instructions. In there there is also a link to a more detailed explantation of the topic, in this case in relation to the database of the colombian conflict, which happens to be at risk now because of political upheaval with the change of government, here is the link

What makes this project innovative?

Datasketch Store is an innovative proposal because never in Colombia nor in other parts of the world, that we know of, there is heavy use of analog visualizations in a way that could scale evergreen data-driven content just as clothing sales scale. This idea arises with the need to become aware of the impact that data has in different aspects of our lives. We see in the portrayal of visualizations an effective instrument to activate citizenship and disseminate messages that allow us to make better decisions as a society. We are driven by fashion and design as an innovative element that brings together the economic, social and cultural aspects in a single space to question our perceptions, habits and attitudes of our everyday life. Fashion can go beyond appearances or stereotypes and is an effective vehicle to reconfigure our social system and cultural identity. Not only are we using innovative means to deliver content, we are also making a very interesting connection of the analog with the digital world of journalism.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

We launched very recently. Only a month ago, however there has been a lot of good feedback from our users. We have had very passionate and motivating responses from early adopters. We've had customers already in 6 different countries. We have been approached by some e-commerces and small design shops to deliver joint products/content. We are starting to approach physical retailers to scale sales. We will be presenting at the International Book Fair in Bogota in some weeks, where our designs will make it to other types of print physical media/products (posters, notebooks, book-stands) and they will be in front of at least 1 million participants of the book fair. We will be measuring signups to track specific users to access our web data driven content with their smart phones through the special link located on the products.

Source and methodology

We have created our visual data driven designs with multiple data sources. We are very interested in working with data that is difficult to obtain or prepare, like the data of the history of the colombian armed conflict, data about corruption, data about hate crimes in Latin America, data about environmental disasters, and so forth. We use freedom of information requests using our own FOIR platform ( Interestingly enough, one of the datasets in this platform was used by another news organizations for an in depth investigation on Child Mothers in Colombia. We partnered with them and produced and infographic and now we are spreading the word through physical data driven objects After data is collected and the visuals are defined we develop the narrative, tweak the designs and send them to physical production. A specific content/product marketing strategy is devised for each design and it involves the incorporation of influencers, fashion bloggers and offline fairs. The cycle is closed when end users access the full material through the link embedded in the physical products. The designs and the content are released with a created commons license, along with the corresponding open licenses for the open data on github and the organization site

Technologies Used

We use our own FOIR platform for Colombia. We used R and Shiny for all data processing and the web apps to interact with data. Typeform for the web survey data when it comes from social organizations or citizens. Javascript scrollama for scrolly-telling. ImageMagick for image processing and the creation of data driven designs. The RsimMosaic package to build the mosaic with at least 60 different charts built with ggplot. Ilustrator for polishing and finishing the designs. Shopify for online e-commerce store. Colombian cotton. We could make this happen because we are a lovely balanced team :) Juan Pablo (data scientist), Ana (mathematician), Camila (statistician), David (developer), Andrea (journalist), Verónica (anthropologist), Juliana (political scientist), Mariana (Designer)

Project members

Andrea Cervera Camila Achury David Daza Juan Pablo Marín Juliana Galvis Mariana Villamizar Verónica Toro


Additional links


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