Cool kids from the Eastern Bloc

I was in an inspiration drain recently. I might have overdone vizzing in the past few months… or just enjoying summer way too much. But when I saw the Urban Tetris project by Bulgarian graphic designer Mariyan Atanasov, ideas started bursting instantly. I grew up in one of these panel houses in Hungary, and wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Continue to read my struggles, otherwise, you can check the interactive version on Tableau Public.

Final design in Tableau

This was one of those many design-driven visualizations of mine when I knew how the end-result should look like. I just needed to find the data that fits my story. I came across a Wikipedia article about Stalinist architecture and thought what a nice contrast it would make to depict this infamous political era with pastel colors. When editing the pic, I used the same cropping technique I wrote about in Using layers in Tableau. Please note that content-aware cropping only works fine for consistent backgrounds like this.

Original picture of Mariyan Atanasov

I darkened the photo a bit for the pastel and white colors to stand out more. My struggles began when everything was already prepared in Illustrator and I added the background image to Tableau. I spent 3 hours making one Gantt chart as it didn’t seem to work. Five brain hemorrhages later it turned out that the date granularity is not suitable and I have to make it days instead of years to make the visualization work. Still can’t get my head around this issue, but noted for life.

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