Visualizzare quasi la stessa cosa

Aspetti semiotici del processo di traduzione nella visualizzazione di dati

  • /
  • Salvatore Zingale
  • M. Sc. Thesis
  • Data Visualization Design
  • Information Design
  • Semiotics
  • 2019-2020

About the thesis

"Visualizzare quasi la stessa cosa" is my research M. Sc. thesis written at Politecnico di Milano and supervised by Professor Salvatore Zingale. The dissertation explores Data Visualization and Information Design discipline from a semiotic point of view by analyzing and highlighting all the different variables and critical issues that need to be managed by the info-designer during the design translation that goes from a "Dynamical Object" to its graphical representation. Thus, I investigated the forms of expression of visualizations and the different effects of meaning that can arise from them, trying to provide a theoretical contribution to Information Design thanks to the tools and principles offered by semiotics, semiotics of translation, and studies on visual perception, by de-constructing and re-constructing in a detailed scheme the whole process step by step. In order to test its validity I used the scheme as a tool while designing a possibile interface to let users visually explore all the Golden Globes that were assigned to TV Series during the last 20 years.


“Visualizzare quasi la stessa cosa” arises from the consideration that all sorts of data visualization can only be attributed — in addition to being partial — to a translation process in the name of negotiation and therefore subject to interpretative and expressive solutions that the designer will privilege, in a continuos game of communication losses, compensations and dominants.

The process that brings complexity to expressive clarity is highly manipulative towards the phenomenon that is being analyzed and implies, as we will see, three mediations linked (i) to the text producer (textualization), (ii) to the info-designer (translation) (iii) and to the reader (fruition). This research, conducted in an exploratory and experimental way, has the advantage of de-constructing and re-constructing the whole translation process in data visualization thanks to the tools of semiotics, semiotics of translation and of visual perception, explaining all the critical steps and fundamental mediations with the aim of proposing a design method that makes sense orientation and inventiveness its strengths.

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