My husband Justin and I are both tech geeks. When it came time to design our wedding programs, I knew I wanted an infographic. There really aren't any sites out there that we found helpful when we were trying to figure out what data to use for our relationship, so here are our lessons learned…
A hybrid timeline/infographic design works best for quantifying a relationship. Although everything in life has a timestamp, most individual moments just aren't that momentus. A simple timeline doesn't necessarily tell your story. However, trends that emerge from aggregated moments can be very interesting.
When you're summarizing a relationship, especially for the purpose of a wedding-related paper goods, the stand-out individual moments are pretty obvious — first meeting, first date, engagement, etc. But I felt like the flavor of our relationship was in the stuff that we did often. So we chose a split design: timeline, then summary icons, then more timeline.
What to quantify in the "summary" part?
We thought a lot about what defined us as a couple — what did we do together most often, and where. Some themes were obvious: we met blues dancing, and traveled the country together to go to Lindy exchanges. Some were less obvious, and surfaced when we started looking at TimeHop and Foursquare and other apps we use regularly… it turns out we play a lot of Big Buck Hunter.
How to gather the data:
To create the timeline portion of the infographic, we searched Google Calendar and pulled the dates of a few key milestones (the night we met, our first date, the night we got engaged, etc).
For the aggregated-moments section, we checked:
- Google Calendar
Foursquare was by far the most useful; if you're an active user, it's an excellent source of data on all of the places you've been in your day-to-day life. (There's one particular vegan restaurant in the East Village that I've eaten at 67 times over the past year, it turns out). There's an excellent hack built on top of Foursquare called Intersquares, which can show you all of the places that you and your significant other have checked in together.
Or, if you're more technical, there's API; our first visualization attempt was a heatmap made from checkins pulled from that API, but it turned out we very rarely left the 10-block radius around East 9th Street so it just looked like a bulls-eye.
The other services served more as reminders of the things we'd done together. There wasn't any way to pull out the data, so we did a lot of manual tabulating. We looked for trends in restaurants we went to, what we did on "date nights," where we hung out. TripIt provided us with our travel stats: 34,174 miles traveled between 20 cities, over three continents.
Creating an icon set:
We had to find an interesting way to visualize the results, so we created representative icons. Some of our milestone dates had clear image pairings: Justin asking me out over Twitter = the bird logo, me moving to San Francisco = the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. The cool thing about this was that creating a relationship icon set gave us our placecard/table card design as well. We made a set of rubbers stamps of our icons, and DIY'd those.
The other side of the program was much simpler to put together — it was just the flow of our ceremony and the names of our bridal party. After everything was laid out, Justin took the files to a print shop — two programs fit on each sheet, and the printer cut them in half. Then Justin hand-stamped the top of each with the same rubber stamps we made for our invitations.
If you're inspired by this DIY and make a relationship infographic, I'd love to hear about what metrics you chose.