Glass Castle

Turning a book into an information design poster by exploring the physical/non-physical forms of information and events from a book's literary narrative.
Project Overview
The intention of this project was to explore mapping the physical/non-physical forms of information and events from a book's literary narrative, then create an information visualization that portrays the narrative directly. This visualization is about the book The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It is a memoir of Jeannette's life growing up and her upbringing in a poverty-stricken and dysfunctional family.
What this project includes:
Research
Typography
Illustration

Design Challenge

How can I translate words from a book into an information visualization design piece to accurately explain the book's plot?

By using the organization system called L.A.T.C.H. (Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, Hierarchy) to deconstruct the book and find patterns to build an information design poster that portrays the text accurately.

Research & Planning

The Glass Castle is a memoir of Jeannette's life growing up and her upbringing in a poverty-stricken and dysfunctional family. My research began by re-reading the book I had to choose, but as I read it, I took note of the book's tone and how the book's plot carried through. Doing so helped me to begin to visualize the book analytically. During my exploration of the book, I came across a quote Jeannette's father told her once, "If you don't want to sink, you better learn how to swim". This is the quote that I based the theme of my visualization on, as I found resonated with many different parts of the book. Throughout Jeannette's life, she had to teach herself many things that most children wouldn't have to. Things like cooking hotdogs at the young age of 3 or fending off sexual advances from various men in her life. In these situations, if she hadn't taken things into her own hands, she would sink, but when she swam and fought her way up, Jeanette would rise to the surface.

A map of the characters in the book and their relationship with to each other.

Screenshot of key events I took from the book.

The beginnings of the timeline mapped out.

Initial sketches exploring different ways to illustrate a timeline and character map.

More sketches exploring different ways to illustrate a timeline and character map.

Visuals

I played around with the colours, but due to the book's plot's mature content, I ended on choosing a monochromatic colour palette. The blue also fits well with the sinking theme and emphasizes the deep waters using a deep dark blue. 

The first visual is a horizontal timeline of events from Jeannette's life. It uses the theme of sinking and swimming to plot each significant life event on a graph representing the highs and lows of her life. These events are shown inside illustrated bubbles. I also added an illustrated girl who transforms into a woman as the timeline progresses. By the end of the book, Jeannette became a strong independent woman, who made it to the surface and created a life she wanted by always swimming.

The second visualization provides another more in-depth horizontal timeline of the characters that appear throughout the book within the story in a horizontal timeline and how much of an impact they had on Jeanette's life. 
Both visuals can be compared to one another to reveal which events in her life had a more significant impact and whether or not it was a positive or negative experience.

Screenshots showing the process of creating the timeline for the book.

Screenshots showing the process of creating the character relationship map.

Outcome

This project taught me different ways to organize information and create an entirely new visualization from one source. It allowed me to think outside of the box and create my own unique representation of the book.

The first visual is the horizontal timeline of events from Jeannette's life.

The second visualization provides another more in-depth horizontal timeline of the characters