Guestbook Data Projects

Projects based around a personally curated dataset

Guestbook 2019 Webapp


Holiday Cards


Writeup by Livvy

My parents keep a guestbook at the front door of the home I grew up in. All guests—no matter who they are or how many times they’ve visited—sign the book on their way out the door.

Ivan and I have continued this tradition in our own home, with one slight addition: we also keep these records in a database.

Guestbook Photos

4 apartments across 2 books and counting.

This page catalogs a few of my projects around this personally curated dataset.

Guestbook 2019

December 2019 – January 2020

At the end of 2018, we used this visit data to generate personalized end-of-year cards showing our friends all the days they’d been to our home. (Somehow, I took no pictures of this.)

To cap off 2019, I made this little webapp for them instead:

Guestbook 2019

Guestbook 2019 Webapp

A screenshot of the webapp. Built with React, hosted on GitHub pages.

The Board

June 2018 – Present

In June of 2018, we added another element to the visiting-the-Ruiz-Knott’s ritual: a murder wall. Or, more tastefully put, a data visualization. Everyone to walk into our home gets their picture on the board. It’s gone through a few iterations.

Guestbook Data Board 1

1. Photos placed randomly. Each time a someone came to our home, we added a string from that person’s photo to the photos of anyone else visiting at the same time (and to our photo in the center). You can see who the regulars were, and who they showed up with.

Guestbook Data Board 2

2. Organized by first to walk into this apartment. This one was short-lived because it was boring. The only interesting thing was that the order people visited did not necessarily match the order the photos were taken since we started taking pictures later. The board seen in the background provided some accidental extra data.

Guestbook Data Board 3

3. Organized by number of visits in the Fibonacci sequence! Columns were two photos wide. The first column represented people who had visited once, the second twice, the third three times, the fourth 5 times, all the way to 89+ times in the last column. Changed when it got too competitive.

Guestbook Data Board 4

4. Organized by how we know people. Requires much less updating and is perhaps the most useful arrangement.

At Home Show

June 2019

Roughly one year after the board went up—in June of 2019—Ivan and I were invited to participate in a friend’s house concert, with performances and art pieces centered around the theme "At Home." With my coding and his design skills, we used the data from our guestbook to present three anonymized visualizations of every visitor to our apartment since the day we moved in.

Guestbook Data Poster 1

The alternating gray and white vertical bars designate months, and the vertical blue lines designate weeks from the day we moved into our current apartment (August 30, 2017) to the day before we presented this chart (June 15, 2019). Each horizontal line represents a guest; each black mark on the line represents a day they visited. From this chart you can see that the two friends that visited on our second day in our new place have remained a regular part of our lives, or that we had people over (old friends and new) the night before we we showed this.

Guestbook Data Poster 2

This piece explores the relationship between how recently someone came over and how many times they’ve ever come over. Comma-separated values represent days since last visit, total visits of one guest. Not surprisingly, many of people who had come over the most had also come over most recently. What’s interesting here is the friends who break that rule: who used to come over a lot that hasn’t in a while? This chart also plays with scale in that the axes are in the Fibonacci sequence.

Guestbook Data Poster 3

This piece explores "connections"—that is, how many times was a given guest in our apartment with another given guest? Each node around the edge of the circle represents a guest, and the lines between the guests represent the connections: thicker lines mean those two guests were at our home at the same time more often. The guests are organized clockwise from the top by the total number of connections (even with guests not represented here; this chart only displays guests who’d been over at least five times at the time of this showing). The numbers at each node represent number of connections / total number of visits (result). This result turns out to be a sort of intimacy quotient; blue numbers less than 1 mean that person visited us many times alone; higher numbers mean the guest probably came to a few large parties. The graphs on the right are small data portraits of each guests connections, isolated.


Guestbook Data Scarves

Poorly knit scarves.

The same year that I made the Guestbook 2019 webappp (above), I also made some poorly knit and highly impractical scarves (they are too short) for some of our top visitors.

Each row in these scarves pictured above represents one week in the year 2019, each stitch a day.

In the middle scarf, each black stitch represents a day that someone (anyone) came over to our apartment.

The left and right scarves were each knit for a different friend; the black stitches marking a day that they specifically visited.

The First Piece

Guestbook Data Housewarming

A hand-drawn gift to a friend.

When a dear friend had a housewarming party on a Saturday in late 2018, I made her this sparse visualization representing all the times she’d come over to our apartment, ending with this party when we were first visiting hers.

This is really the piece that started it all.

Site designed and developed in-house by Ivan & Livvy. Project managed with Notion and Slack. Screens designed in Figma. Custom fonts “Suits”, “RK Sans”, “RK Serif”, and “RK Mono” designed in Glyphs. Hosted with Netlify, managed with Contentful, built with Gatsby, styled with Tailwind. A work in progress. Site version 1.1.
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