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Smitha Prasadh

I'm a user experience designer, trying to do right by the world.

Self-portrait as Information Design: "An Unfinished Symphony"

What this is about

This was a grad school project that I'm still very fond of. We were tasked with creating a self-portrait through information design, employing Richard Saul Wurman's LATCH framework.

After numerous ideas and iterations, I decided to tap into my strong interest in classical music performance, and used the preexisting framework of written music. I transcribed the main melody of the "Largo" movement of Dvořák's 9th Symphony ("From The New World"), one of my favorites.

The sheet music is almost completely constructed out of text. Each measure/bar is a period of my life, with the ledger lines in the background providing a running commentary of what was happening in my life during that time. The notes are significant or memorable events from within the time period/measure.

I made the conscious decision to construct this as a macro-to-micro metaphor. On the surface, it appears to be standard sheet music, just as it is easy to make assumptions and discern general information about a person based on his or her appearance. Once you delve a little deeper, though, you start discovering extra layers and gems of unique and personal information.

Want more details? Check out the Process Book.

A close-up of the poster details, showing two sections of notes from the actual New World Symphony with accurate time and note values (top part is E and F-sharp slurred 8th-notes, a dotted 8th-note E tied to a 16th-note D, and a half-note D; bottom part is B and D slurred 8th-notes, C-sharp and A slurred 8th-notes, and B half-note). Nearly all parts of the notes and the 5-line musical staff in the background are made up of words.

The time and note values are accurate.

Top: E, F#, E, D, D. Bottom: B, D, C#, A, B. All are on a treble clef. :)

The final poster

The final poster.