We make messy stuff meaningful
We experiment with big dreamers like
design, data science and technology.
(We think they play nicely together)
(the good kind)
We're here to do meaningful work
To get in touch email hello [at] littlesketc.es
What this is about
You've stumbled on a little experiment to visually catalog some of our recent work in sensemaking for:
exploration: mostly the nerdy stuff that deals in data, algorithms and human understanding; and
explanation: where narrative devices get involved like storyboarding, sketching and animation.
Each sliver represents a recent project. Their size and position indicate effort and focus across time.
We love projects that move between these modes of exploration and explanation (its how we work best). These projects are rare and magical, like a giant cupcake.
We're drawn to meaningful work that improves peoples lives and the environment we live in. If you're feeling curious, you can find out a little more about some of our past projects and experiments by playing with the visualisation.
Making sense of the City of Melbourne's options to adapt to climate change
We worked with the City of Melbourne to develop a meaningful approach for prioritising actions to adapt the city climate change. In collaboration with Loop and Co, we designed a 'risk and resilience' framework to capture the economic, social and environmental impact of each action. It was complicated stuff.
However making this work for a real city with real actions was a much trickier challenge. Our work infused complex data modeling with speculative design to provide the City with the tools to explore fictional futures. An abridged version of the visual story and digital platform we created to let real people interact with the work can be viewed here .
Blueprint for a Zero Net Energy Town
We helped to deliver the blueprint for Australia's first Zero Net Energy Town (Z-NET) in Uralla – a project funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
We partnered with the good people at the Moreland Energy Foundation and Enharon this piece. Our work brought a human-centered lens to the design of blueprint both in conceptual design and through a combination of animated storytelling, data visualisation and printed materials designed for specifically for community engagement events. The Z-NET project is open sourced and available online here .
This project couldn't have happened without the amazing Starfish Initiatives. A very big shout out to them for getting the Z-NET movement off the ground.
Experiments in neural art: do androids dream of artistic sheep?
Deep learning is all the rage at the moment. And those working with convolutional neural networks are producing some pretty amazing outputs, some of which is dealing with image recognition. We like this stuff very much and have been playing around with the algorithms researched in the paper: A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style by Leon A. Gatys, Alexander S. Ecker, and Matthias Bethge. It's pretty much math that allows you to take the style of one image and apply it to any other image. Pretty cool huh?
If you're lost as to what this does then take a look at these examples we made . If it still doesn't make sense maybe just move on...
Starting up a youth-led design and learning lab
Working with the fantastic folk at the Foundation for Young Australians on a new social enterprise called YLab. You can find out more about how YLab is championing new ways of engaging young people to rethink the systems that shape the world here .
Designing a program to finance solar panels for low income households
We did a little modeling and a little more interface design work to create a tool for local Councils to evaluate the business case for providing finance to low income households wanting to install solar panels.
Inspired by Bret Victor's wonderfully articulated concept of explorable explanations, our aim was to design a single page dashboard that would abstract away the low level detail, and double as an interface for testing different program design ideas. In other words, we wanted to see if we could design a truly playful financial model.
Climate change strategy for the City of Darebin
An unlikely mix of energy and financial data modeling, with some visual design and storytelling thrown in. This project for the City of Darebin was done in collaboration with the Moreland Energy Foundation.
Our part focused on designing communications to engage the community to have their say in how the Council should best tackle climate change.
An interactive guide for community-led solar projects
We developed a playful visual decision guide to help understand the options for community scale solar panel projects. This piece was commissioned by the Institute for Sustainable Futures and appears in Victorian Governments Guide to Community-owned renewable energy.
The animated and interactive version we developed is online here .
In borrowing concepts from the wonderful RSA Animate series, we wanted to evoke a sense of curiosity and discovery using a combination of animation and zooming and panning. These techniques enabled us to put users at the centre of a unfolding story that reacted to their own decisions and situation... a throwback to the choose your own adventure story format.
A better way to see human patterns in energy use?
How might we better design for real behaviors and patterns of energy use? This data visualisation experiment sought to flip the common practice of data aggregation and simplification to design systems for the typical (in)human.
So how could we get engineers to see beyond the 'mean' and to discover the real texture of human data and behaviors? Well, we had a go using opaque hairlines to re-imagine the 'average daily energy demand profile' back in its raw and complex form.
We'll be revisiting this one to add more interactivity but here's the first effort . If you're drawn in to examine the beautiful diverging hairlines and obscure curls, you're seeing the humanness of the data. Our next mission is to use this in the design of energy saving technologies and programs.
Experiments with an animated infographic comic-styled thing
We like comics, diagrams and explaining stuff on the web. In this piece we looked at ways of using animation and narration to explain a visualisation that could later be used as a static information graphic. A better way of saying this might be that we were trying to mimic the learning experience you get when someone simply draws a concept in front of you while explaining what its about...simple huh!?
Take a look at the experiment over here .
Implementing the Australian Dairy industry sustainability framework
We've been helping out to develop and implement the Australian Dairy Industry's award winning sustainability framework for a couple of years now in collaboration initially with the folk at Net Balance and EY , and more recently with a band of independent consultants.
We pretty much spend time making sense of data on this one. The report's available online here . Big credit to Dairy Australia and Currie Communications for all their incredible work in making this happen.
Small pieces loosely joined
Sometimes we get engaged to work on smaller projects that see us designing tools and visual concepts.
Some random one's we've done recently include designing: motion graphic data design for a social impact film; various logos and information graphics; a Government tool to help businesses invest in clean energy; and even did a comic strip for the Global Environment Facility and UN Environment Program.
We think of these projects as opportunistic but always infuse as sense of playfulness and humor into our work. And actually, that's why we get approached to do these little pieces of work in the first place.