Providing data visualization authoring tools for the general public remains an ongoing challenge. Inspired by block-printing, we explore how visualization stamps as a physical visualization authoring tool could leverage both visual freedom and ease of repetition. We conducted a workshop with two groups—visualization experts and non-experts—where participants authored visualizations on paper using hand-carved stamps made from potatoes and sponges. The low-fidelity medium freed participants to test new stamp patterns and accept mistakes. From the created visualizations, we observed several unique traits and uses of block-printing tools for visualization authoring, including: modularity of patterns, annotation guides, creation of multiple patterns from one stamp, and various techniques to apply data onto paper. We discuss the issues around expressivity and effectiveness of block-printed stamps in visualization authoring, and identify implications for the design and assembly of primitives in potential visualization stamp kits, as well as applications for future use in non-digital environments.

Tiffany Wun

Lora Oehlberg

Miriam Sturdee

Sheelagh Carpendale




Teaser video for ACM TEI 2019.


Photos of the participants' created stamps and visualizations during the study. Participants were divided into two groups to accommodate for the size of the room: Group 1 and Group 2.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Group 1






Group 2







These figures didn't make the final cut of the paper, but you can click on the images to download them. Feel free to adapt as needed.

Teaser Image

Participant Demographics and Study Answers

Authoring Process

Consolidated Stamps and Visualizations

Study Materials

Study-related materials found here.

Study Dataset

This is a fictional travel dataset about a four-day vacation. Numbers were placed between 10-70 to avoid a large skew in any direction. Download

Study Protocol

Study protocol for each workshop. Download

Introduction Slides

Slides used to present an introduction to block-printing stamps, data mappings, tasks, and the study in general. Download

Stamp Making Station

A picture of each participant's "stamp making station" shown in the intro slides. Download

Data Mapping Lookup Sheet

A picture of the "data mapping lookup sheet" we made available to participants during the workshop (then called "data mapping cheat sheet"). Download

Demographic Questionnaire

The demographic questionnaire provided to participants at the beginning of the study. Download

Post-Study Questionnaire

The post-study questionnaire provided to participants at the end of the study. Download

Semi-Structured Interview Forms

Participants could also further elaborate on their thoughts in a semi-structured interview sometime after the study. This interview was completely optional and would be conducted outside of the workshop. Download

Data Analysis

Study-related materials found here.

Data Analysis

Spreadsheet analaysis of the participants' created stamps and visualizations with respect to the stamp variables, stamp categories, data encodings, and annotations. Download