Wild at heart and weird on top

There are few things I’m super proud of this week, even though I’m heading into the new week at a 12% battery level. Back in May, I had the idea to visualize how many cigarettes they smoke in Wild at Heart because I felt it’s like almost every minute. I know I sound like a broken record: most of my vizzes are about David Lynch this year, but that’s the only thing I can hang on to. When I have this little time to side hustles, I have to grab the topics that interest me the most – however niche they are. Wild at Heart is David Lynch’s Dirty Dancing – I don’t know if I can get bored watching this film. It just fills my heart to the fullest.

But what I’m most proud of is that I managed to figure out the math behind the chart all by myself! If this viz was a book, I’d dedicate it to István Korompai, who always had my back before. However, this post is not gonna be a chart-building tutorial. YET! In this piece, I’ll concentrate on the design part and my next post will cover the technical details. If you want to figure it out yourself, I made the workbook downloadable on Tableau Public.

Below are a couple of pictures about the final viz – click for the high res version. Read along if you’re interested in how the design came together.

Final visualization
Viz details
How to read

Why this viz simmered for 4 months?

When this idea popped into my mind, I knew how great this could be and wanted to do it justice. Unfortunately, I’m bad at math. I can do almost everything in Illustrator, but when it comes to drawing charts in Tableau, there are 3 ways for me to go:

  1. Reading tutorials
  2. Asking Pisti (mentioned above) for help
  3. When there are no tutorials, and my face is burning from shame to ask Pisti again: I forget it

Remember when I had this tweet months ago? It was for this idea.

Okay, you can tell me this is not what I ended up with, and you’re totally right. It’s because I realized a circular Gantt chart is a great starting point but not a goal. So this time I did something I’ve never done before… I sweated the calcs out. I proudly present this ONE chart I made solely in Tableau.

The main chart in Tableau

The inspiration for the shapes came from a random googling this morning. Here’s the original picture I came across and all the shapes I generated (and ended up not using) next to it.

Shapes and colors

After getting all this done and pasting them to my Tableau repository, the only thing left was to add the background. I went for an elegant font called Dancing Script from Google Fonts and a minimal design that lets the chart stand out.

Background layer in Illustrator

If you’re interested in how to build a multi-level (but not hierarchical) circular chart, tune in for the next post. I have no clue if anyone came up with a name for it already, but I’ll make sure I name this something cool.

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