As is expected of any data illustrator and journalist worth their salt, research is central to Mona Chalabi’s ideation process. Originally from London and now based in New York, Chalabi has a certain knack for translating hard facts and figures into colourful visualisations that feel engaging, digestible and, most importantly, understandable. Whether it’s charting the legal prejudices faced by people of colour, the overlooked effects of the contraceptive pill, or the manifestation of male pattern baldness, no stats are off limits.
Chalabi tends to draw on studies published on academic websites such as Science Daily and EurekAlert! to get the ball rolling. “Often, academics are publishing work that is super fascinating but isn’t really reaching the public, because they’re often writing in ways that are quite obscure,” Chalabi tells Creative Review. Of course, the tumultuous political climate offers no shortage of material. The day before our interview, Alabama had just passed strict anti-abortion laws, making the procedure punishable by prison. Naturally, Chalabi – who regularly delves into women’s rights – is keen to create something off the back of the news.