Cards Against Hate

Data Through Design is an annual alternative cartography exhibition held during New York City’s Open Data Week, an endeavor of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics. The objective of the exhibit is to enable curious makers such as technologist, artists, and designers to present new narrative perspectives and develop a deeper understanding of life in the city using data as a medium.


Cards Against Hate was one of 10 pieces selected for the 2019 Data through Design exhibit. The concept was to engage the viewer in a game of odds. Each deck represents a social group across race, religion, and sexual orientation, flipping through them reveal the odds and average frequency of hate crimes reported for the group given each month. The data is supplemented with real, NYC-reported stories to illustrate what hate crimes incidents involve.





Andrew L, Researcher & Strategist



2 months


Hate Crime Complaints by Motivation 2017 ” stood out to us as a dataset. This abstraction of information prompted many questions. What were the severity of these crimes? Why is there such a high concentration of anti-Jewish crimes? What's the story behind each case?


As a person of color, I’ve personally experienced hateful encounters but never reported them. That’s when we realized that there was a trove of civic discussion points that could be culled from this dataset if only it was presented in a more accessible manner. We defined our problem statement:

“How can we help the public engage with Hate Crimes statistics and evoke meaningful conversations around the topic?”

Hate Crimes by Complaints by Motivation 2017.xls


With the exhibit’s philosophy in mind, we set out to design a piece that would encourage viewers to linger and interact. We stepped away from our computers for inspiration at the New York Hall of Science. Engaging, tactile, and educational -- these are qualities you'd find there and what we wanted to emulate. Since Andrew and I recently partnered to develop a card game, the format lended itself well to what we wanted to accomplish.



Along with sketching and brainstorming the mechanics and visual choices of the cards, answering these questions guided us in the decision process:


How might we invite viewers to connect on the subject of hate crimes?

We decided to supplement and humanize the data by collecting summaries of recent NYC Hate Crime articles from the news and categorizing them by biases. A great source came from Propublica, who had been leading an initiative called Documenting Hate, which we used in our project.


How do we preserve the integrity of the data?    
We made the stylistic decision to keep this simple and stay away from photography or imagery. We thought the stories spoke for themselves, and didn’t want the elements of the card to distract from that.

Early concept


We had a short 1 month runway for execution, but we were able to have the designs printed and ready by opening night. If we had more time, I would have liked to explore ways to differentiate each biases so they could be more distinguishable in a pile.  

The piece was a hit on opening night, bringing in crowds around the table. Feedback we received and shoutouts on social media indicated that we successfully engaged and spurred conversation around the subject. 

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