Hi, I’m Sam. I tell visual stories using data, graphics, and interactivity.

It’s so nice to meet you.

Hi, my name is Sam. I tell visual stories using data, graphics, and interactivity.

It’s so nice to meet you.

You can see some of my work below and if you want to get in touch, you can email me at sam.vickars@gmail.com—I'm almost always down for a chat. If you add me on Twitter, @samvickars, I'll probably follow you back.

I have a bachelor's degree from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and a Master's of Science in Data Visualization from Parsons in NYC.

I’m also an eight-time local pub trivia champion, along with my twin brother; the current scoring champion in one of the lowest-division adult hockey leagues in the city; and an early pioneer of the Circle Line Pub Crawl.

I'm currently a senior designer and developer at The DataFace. Get in touch if there's something you want to work on.

December, 2020
Let’s Play Mad Libs! ︎
My first project using the Svelte JS framework, this fun little experiment really took me back. I used the Pudding’s Svelte Starter and Microsoft’s Dataset for Fill-in-the-Blank Humor.

December, 2020
Observable Notebooks ︎ A collection of quick and dirty chart and SVG generators we use for various projects, using D3 and Observable.

December, 2020
DataFace Svelte Template ︎︎︎
A work-in-progress starter for our future Svelte projects, based on the Pudding’s template for the same. Includes built-in-support for Tailwind.css, ArchieML, .json and .csv imports, Google and Adobe fonts, FontAwesome, Feather Icons, and Github Pages.

December, 2020 / Ongoing
Yelp ︎ The DataFace
w/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester, and the Yelp’s Communications + Data Science Teams

2020 Annual Report︎︎︎
YEA ‘Q3 2020︎︎︎
Back to School Report︎︎︎
2019 Annual Report︎︎︎

︎ PRWeek US 2021 Winner: Data Insight︎ Featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg and Axios, and on CNN, CNBC, and CBS This Morning

The Yelp Economic Average tracks the performance of local economies across the United States using Yelp data. The DataFace has been working with Yelp’s communications team to produce data-driven stories since 2018, including quarterly YEA reports.

Since I joined the team, we’ve been responsible for six quarterly reports, one annual report, and three special reports. We also designed and built yelpeconomicaverage.com, the new home for YEA. Each report combines interactive and static data viz and graphics, with copy written by the Yelp team.


Campaign Zero ︎ The DataFace
w/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester + DeRay Mckesson + Katie Ryan + Justin Kemerling

Breonna Taylor was one of many victims of senseless no-knock raids that happen across the US. While progress has been made to enact legislation to put a stop to no-knock raids, there is still plenty to do.

We worked with Campaign Zero to design and build this interactive site that both maps case studies across the country and tracks legislation at the state, city, and federal levels.


Campaign Zero ︎ The DataFace
w/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester + DeRay Mckesson + Katie Ryan + Justin Kemerling

Police unions have too much power. It’s time to hold them accountable.

We worked with Campaign Zero to design and build an interactive map tracking political contributions from law enforcement across the United States, between 2015 and 2020. 

HCCI ︎ The DataFace
w/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester

︎ NIHCM Digital Media Award 2021 Finalist
︎ Information is Beautiful Awards
2019 Shortlist
The Health Cost Institute is a non-profit, healthcare research group based in Washington, D.C., working with grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Throughout 2019 and 2020, we worked closely with their team and their data to design and build their Healthy Marketplace Index (HMI). 

Made up of four fully interactive experiences (Price, Use, Price vs Use, and Hospital Market Concentration), as well as a metro area snapshot and several interactive dashboards, HMI uses nearly 2.5 billion commercial claims from 2013–2017 to track drivers of health care spending across 124 US metro areas.

June, 2020 / Ongoing
DataFace Original
w/ Michael Hester
Pro ballparks come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes due to the shape of the city block on which they were built, sometimes based on a team's strengths (or weaknesses), and sometimes just to add character. Because their shapes differ, a home run hit in one park might not be a home run in another.

That’s what inspired the No Doubter Report. In this project, I look at every home run hit this season to determine which were hit hard enough, long enough, and high enough to leave any major league ballpark, which we’ve dubbed “No Doubters”.


HCCI ︎ Duke University ︎ Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina ︎ The DataFace
w/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester
The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), a non-profit research group based in Washington D.C., in collaboration with researchers from Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, tasked us with building a comprehensive data visualization experience to promote the research.

We created a visual essay that walked readers through major findings, using interactivity, scrollytelling, and explorable and downloadable content.


March, 2020
Coronavirus by County ︎︎︎
Michael Hester, Jack Beckwith, and I put this coronavirus tracker together in a couple of days in March. It uses the New York Times newly releast coronavirus by county data.

March, 2020
Yelp’s Coronavirus Economic Impact Report ︎︎︎ We worked with Yelp’s communications team to design and build a special economic impact report focusing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the United States. We released regular updates with interactive and static graphics, the last of which in September.

B6 Real Estate Advisors ︎ The DataFace
w/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester

Q4 2019 ︎︎︎
Q3 2019 ︎︎︎
H1 2019 ︎︎︎
Q1 2019 ︎︎︎
B6 Real Estate Advisors tasked us with bringing their regular quarterly reports to life, making use of interactive data viz and storytelling. We worked with them to publish 4 quarterly reports and one predicitions report.

January, 2020

Strava ︎ The DataFace ︎ Polygraphw/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester
Strava is a social network for fitness, home to millions of runners, cyclists, and performance athletes. With access to such a large group of avid runners who use the app to track their progress and connect with others, Strava found themselves with a ton of data and original research on the factors that motivate people to start and then keep running.

Strava hired us, along with Imprint Projects and Polygraph to build an experience that visualizes their findings. We combined their qualitative research with quantitative poll results to create a compelling, interactive narrative, with downloadable content and interactive elements, available in six languages.


September, 2019

Yelp ︎ The DataFacew/ Jack Beckwith + Michael Hester
Yelp celebrated their 15th anniversary in September of 2019. We created this microsite (yelp15.com) to help celebrate. Along with Yelp’s data science team, we analyzed nearly 200m reviews and 15 years worth of search and consumer interest data to create six interactive explorations.

Check it out to explore the foods we consumed, the chains we cherished, the fads we followed, the language we used, the words that defined our cities, and the services we needed.


June, 2019
America’s Favorite Summer Drinks ︎︎︎
I designed a set of versatile and custom icons for Yelp’s piece on Americas Favorite Summer Drinks for 2019.

June, 2019
The NBA’s Best Drafting Teams ︎︎︎
I illustrated a series of rookie cards for Michael Hester’s article on the NBA draft.

DataFace Original ︎ Information is Beautiful Awards
2019 Bronze Winner
Baseball is a sport rooted in rules and regulations. Everything in the game is standardized, planned, and coordinated, based on a guideline or precedent. Everything, that is, but the park itself: outfield sizes and wall heights vary across the entire league. There are 30 MLB stadiums. No two of them are alike.

The inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of pro baseball fields have fascinated me for years. In this piece, the first in a series on the irregular outfields of baseball and my first original for the DataFace, I look at the seven different types of MLB parks, what makes them distinct, and where the varying sizes in their outfields come from.


February, 2019
Who is the biggest pop star?︎︎︎We worked with the folks at the Pudding to determine who the world’s biggest pop star is, using a variety of different methods.

Published with Quarto Publishing Group
“Explore how cities are expanding beyond the reach of their nations, uncover the ways bananas, cobalt, and water bottles link the most unlikely of places, and discover how modern phenomena such as messenger apps and sharing platforms are changing not just our interactions, but how we interconnect.”

“Globalography uncovers the myriad ways we can now connect with one another and in doing so, showcases the radical way globalization is transforming our world.”

I worked with Quarto editors to create 50+ maps for this book (and the cover) on our interconnected world, which features essays by author Chris Fitch.


Published on the Pudding
︎ Information is Beautiful Awards
2019 Longlist

After the Golden State Warriors won their third NBA championship in four years in 2018, I started thinking...Of all the cities to field a professional or college level team in the last 150 years, which is the winningest?

I dug through a century of data to determine the titletown of all the North American titletowns, looking at 458 pro sports teams from MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, and CFL, as well as 1,917 NCAA div one college teams. All told, these teams have represented 199 different cities, and competed for 996 titles since 1870.

This visual essay explores all the data through three lenses to determine the winningest city in North America, while allowing you to set your own parameters throughout.


Published on the DataFace
During his first term as president, Bill Clinton passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, providing 12 weeks of federally-mandated unpaid leave to new parents. Since then, the need for parental leave and for flexibility has only grown. Yet federal policies haven’t changed.

This project, my first with the DataFace, examines how companies across the US compare, and how the US compares to the rest of the world. 

Original MSDV Thesis Project at Parsons School of Design
︎ MSDV Keynote
︎ AIGA New York Keynote
Canada's Indian Residential School System was a network of boarding schools, industrial schools, and federal hostels created to remove indigenous children from their homes, their families, and their cultures. While many schools originated long before Confederation in 1867, the system was primarily active following the approval of the Indian Act in 1876 — a group of laws aiming to do away with the Indian tribal system and forcibly enfranchise First Nations peoples — until the the last federally-operated school closed in 1996.

Only in recent years has information about the schools, often run by various religious sects, and their students welfare become public knowledge: physical and sexual abuse was rampang; malnourishment and poor living conditions were not uncommon; and assimilation, deprivation of cultural traditions, and punishment was the standard. It is estimated that 6000 children dies while in attendance at an Indian Residential School.

We weren’t taught this in school. 

This project, my thesis piece at Parsons School of Design, aims to investigate the IRS system visually, beginning with the stories of survivors and transitioning into the narrative of each school.

Visualizing @RealDonaldTrump’s first 100 days in tweets.


The World of James Bond

Print Original
︎ Information is Beautiful Awards 2017 Longlist

Original University of Waterloo School of Architecture / Arch 365: Structural Design
︎ End of Year Show Selection
︎ Come Up To My Room 2013, judges’ choice
For one of my final projects in my third year strutural design course at architecture school, I was taked with designing and building a chair for a famous person or character, while also proving its structural stability. I chose Dr Seuss.

Inspired by All the Places You’ll Go, this simple stool breaks down into 6 pieces, ready to pack up and go. It also serves as a reminder that life is quite the balancing act. And the whole thing is written in rhyme.

© Sam Vickars, 2013-2021