8 Bits of Presidential History #PotUS Viz

I was recently inspired by Andy Rash’s @iotacons when I came across his low rez portraits of US presidents. Realizing that we were so close to Presidents Day, I starting pulling together data and reached out to Andy for his approval to use his artwork.


Here is the full image of the data visualization, but you can click on the image to see the interactive version. You can also access it HERE.


To begin the process I needed to break out all of the presidents into their own transparent PNG files and I decided to make them face the same way. I can’t deny that the more I looked at the @iotacons, the more I was reminded of Final Fantasy on Nintendo.


While there are likely more efficient ways to do this, I used PowerPoint to crop the images and the ‘remove background’ option. I admit that it was tedious, but on days when the commuter train (SEPTA) wasn’t so busy I would take advantage of that free time. I also grabbed a sample speech bubble from Google images and recreated my own version.


On the visualization side I was inspired by Andy Kriebel’s work with the DNA charts for the overall timeline and Matt Chamber’s rendition of the Hex Map rather than using the standard map (which seemed out of place next to my 8 bit theme).

I get that the ‘Test Driving’ a President has no real value, except for revealing that I’m a gamer at heart. Hey, even the old Excel versions had that hidden flying game in it so I shouldn’t have to feel guilty.

So, what do you think? Well done, half-baked or overdone?