Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized

It’s a real honor to present our collaboration with Maria Popova and Wendy MacNaughton for a new and very qualitative and experimental visualization created for brainpickings.org

As Maria already in depth elaborated in her article “Famous writers’ sleep habits and literary productivity”  her original idea was to find out whether any possible correlations between famous writers’ productivity and the time they used to wake up exist.

Data on each of the two variables are hard to find and quantify, so we ended up building a data-visualisation illustrating the writers (37) for whom wake-up times were available — this became the base data set, around which we set out to quantify, then visualize, the literary productivity of each author and added the main awards they’ve been prized with and their life length, to provide a further context.


Built specifically around Wendy‘s lovely portraits, the main idea of the visualization (very simple itself) was to stress the 12-hours ring of the clock as a visual metaphor to represent the parameters through. Each authors’ portrait is hypothetically surrounded by a 12-hours clock with a visual mark to point what time he used to wake up at; from this point the data of his/her productivity are visualized. Some sort of coloured surrounding”auras” identify which prizes he/she won during the lifespan, visually oriented towards the waking-up time as well.
Authors are ordered from the early birds to the late risers and layed-out creating a sort of zig-zag image emphasising the advancement of the clock.

Two main visual references (below) have been useful to inspire us when we tried to follow the main idea to create two sort of separated but overlapping layers of information: the authors’ lovely illustrated portraits  and the more quantitative data visualization display, trying to reach a visual flavour reminding actual superimposed paper layers.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 5.09.36 PM

If you like the result, you can have it printed and shipped at home from Society6 online store


Concept and direction by Maria Popova
Design and research by Accurat (Giorgia Lupi, Simone Quadri with Federica Fragapane and Francesco Majno)
Portraits by Wendy MacNaughton 



About giorgia lupi

1981 I am an architect that never built any house (luckily). I work with information, designing, researching and drawing a lot. I am co-founder ad design director at Accurat (www.accurat.it) I am a PhD student at Milan Politecnico (www.densitydesign.org)

One comment

  1. thank you very much! this is actually not a proper blog, just a collection of the recent projects and news of Accurat, my information design company

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