an information design project

Spring 2016

The purpose of this project was to create two posters that told both an individual and combined story. I chose Hurricane Katrina as my topic of study because I was interested in understanding what truly happened and dispelling rumors for my audience along the way. 


I began my research with a very large net, reading about anything regarding Katrina that seemed interested. I gathered information from as many sources as possible so I could be sure to tell an accurate story.


During the beginning phases of ideation, I focused on quantitative data, tallying death tolls and damage, among other things. I had to work very diligently to ensure I was thinking of creative ways to display the data. After researching many different directions I decided that my first poster would be focused on Hurricane Katrina as a whole, and the second board would focus on the Lower Ninth Ward, the city most affected by Hurricane Katrina. 

preliminary sketching; attempt at charting damage

final infographics

What really happened during Hurricane Katrina?
The Lower 9th Ward: a compounded tragedy

few of many sketches created 


I used Board 1 as a method of visualizing a failing levee, and understanding the devastation this caused in various districts of New Orleans. This topic was important for building empathy within the audience. As I progressed with this board, I worked to create a dynamic layout that spoke to the chaotic movement associated with this topic, while also making sure to create clear areas of focus.

What really happened during Hurricane Katrina?

the evolution of Board 1; click to view more detailed descriptions

the evolution of Board 2; click to view more detailed descriptions

The Lower 9th Ward: a compounded tragedy

My research led me to discover that the extreme devastation in the Lower 9th was caused by a compounding of smaller disasters, which were often out of the control of citizens – this is what I really want to communicate through this board. I had trouble finding the piece of the puzzle that was the most interesting, but once I focused on the human element I was able to show the compounding effects of the poverty in the Lower 9th Ward, hopefully creating a sense of empathy among the audience. 


Overall, I am so proud of how this project turned out. I am proud of myself for being very diligent in my research. There was a long period of time where I was very lost and did not know what aspect of the story I wanted to focus on, but in the end I settled on a topic that was informative, and one that I think made people stop and think about their preconceptions towards Hurricane Katrina. I learned that many iterations lead to breakthroughs! Even when I thought I was satisfied, I continued to critique myself and the story I was telling, constantly asking: am I telling the right story?

this project was nominated for an AIGA Creative Best student award

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