Making the Magazine

Welcome to a deep dive into the world of data visualization and the production process for Volume 5. Moving the Magazine from a perfect-bound printed book to a digital platform required an elevated level of collaboration among ILLUME's graphic designers, researchers, and data scientists. This transformation revolutionized the insights we drew from our research and resulted in captivating data visualizations and distinctive storytelling. In this visualization, we unveil the Making of the Magazine, sharing the process of creating Volume 5.

Pre-Screen & Research Development
The Pre-Screen & Research Development phase established the groundwork essential to achieve our objective: a digital Magazine with inspired data visualizations and the power to move people to explore the intersections of energy efficiency, technology, data science, social research, and equity.
Article Brainstorming
Working side-by-side, ILLUME’s graphic design, research, and data science teams explored a range of topics and projects to feature in Volume 5. The teams established baseline criteria to move an idea from the brainstorming to the next phase.
Research & Design Kickoff
Once an idea surfaced, the teams began to analyze the data, ask new questions, and discuss potential associations across our portfolio of research. During this phase, concepts started to take shape visually, with rough sketches, wireframes, or mockups, giving our team a tangible representation of potential design directions.
Research Finalization
The stories each revealed themselves in different ways and some presented substantial challenges and puzzles to unlock through supplemental research. The objective during this stage was to unearth the deeper question “why is this research important to share?” behind each data story that could inform design decisions in the next phase of development.
Design & Proofing
The Design and Proofing Phase was a pivotal juncture where creativity, iteration, and data exploration converged. In this phase, the design team took the lead in proposing various design solutions to discuss with the research and data science teams. Oftentimes, the collaborative discussions sought to find the delicate balance between creating stunning visual graphics and maintaining the integrity of the data and research findings.
Initial Design & Visual Development
As the Teams found the stories within each visualization, they began to construct the visual language and content of each piece. Our graphic designers proposed various design strategy options - detailing the overarching design principles, visual aesthetics, and user experience considerations.
Collaborative Meetings
Often the stories evolved through question-and-answer sessions between the graphic design and research teams. This was a dynamic and iterative process that unlocked greater collaboration and meaning-building between the researchers and designers, pushing the boundaries of each field to give rise to new storytelling devices.
Final Static Visualizations
As final static visualizations were shared by the graphic design team with our researchers and data scientists, every image, caption, and layout was carefully reviewed and refined. This is the stage where the ideas and data came to fruition in a comprehensive and stunning visual format.
Prototyping & Web Development
The final phase of making the Magazine was to design interactive visualizations that could be published on the ILLUME website. The static visualizations became interactive interfaces, seamlessly bridging design and functionality to craft a captivating online experience.
Interactive Prototype Development
Our skilled Graphic Design Team breathed life into their design concepts through interactive prototypes. These blueprints allowed us to test functionality, navigation, and user interactions before the final build and official publication of the Magazine.
Web Development
Behind the scenes, lines of code were methodically written to create a robust digital framework. Our developers employed best practices to guarantee exceptional performance, security, and scalability.
Testing & Publication
Our Graphic Design Team reviewed every digital visualization to ensure each design was adapted flawlessly. User-testing was executed on various browsers and devices to ensure optimization.
The Prototyping and Web Development Phase concluded with the grand reveal of Volume 5's digital incarnation.