Hope, a personal datavisualization

Created by Sonja Kuijpers | STUDIO TERP

Hope is relative, in the sense that it has different connotations to people depending on their circumstances.

Coming from a western country, grown up in a white working-class family, college-educated, my hopes are not about the basic living conditions (like food, or a roof above my head), but more on mental, identity issues. Plus, I am seeing it from the perspective where I am now, at 47 years old, on an intense quest of figuring myself out.

Recent years had me confronted with my childhood trauma, my shortcomings, and some scary things happening. So, my own hopes have been focused on acknowledgement, a decent mental health, be more at peace with who I am, and especially with who I want to become. On a professional level as well.

It is in these domains that I mention the people who gave me hope during my life. Not just the ones present now, but also who were there at different points in my life when I got confronted with changes, choices, and uncertainty.

How to read

The elements in the visualization represent the people who gave me hope. These elements consist out of several layers, each depicting  a certain property.

which part of my life

The main layer is a ‘swirl’ which shows the length of my life from birth to ‘now’. The line is divided into different age-groups representing my life stages.

0-12 years old: from born to end of primary school, 13-18 years old: secondary (high-)school, 19-26 years old: college, 27-36 years old: working as public space designer, 37-46 years old: career switch to data illustrator, self-employed.


The people bringing me hope were individuals but could also ‘work’ as a group: then it wasn’t perse someone alone, but the combination/mix of several people together.


There are several categories that describe the relation of each assembly with me.

Even though it could be that some fall into several categories or switched overtime, I have described 1 role for each assembly, which was/is their primary role.

area (main)

The fields (areas) in which people give me hope are ‘identity’, ‘career’, and ‘love’, each represented by a certain color halo ring.

Often someone has given me hope in several areas, so they have a mix of two or three halos.

area (sublevel)

To explain on a more detailed level on what topic a person gave me hope, the main areas are broken down to several subcategories that play(-ed) a role in my life.

‘Belonging’ is of importance in each main area.

Source: My own memories. The data is as truthful as possible, in no particular order, with the notation that I might have excluded some to protect myself and/or others, and that my memory sometimes fails me.

(I meant to publish this project in 2020 but it got delayed due to circumstances. Although I finished the design now, I haven’t updated the input.)

continue to visualization (best viewed on large screen!)