The Power of Speech

data visualization

For this data visualization project, I researched qualitative data on the frequency of words used in candidates' nomination speeches, particularly those of 2016's Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. What resulted is a clear look into how the candidates followed common rhetoric used by past candidates in their respective parties, but also what terms each introduced in this most divisive election season.


I retrieved the data from a series of confusing and nearly incomprehensible charts in order to put together a clear and compelling story showing words that were used in these and past speeches.

In order to actually make sense of the raw data, I printed out copies of the charts to extrapolate what they were trying to say. I used a rather crude but effective method of tracing out the lines using different colored pens and markers. I chose to focus in on words that had been used by one or both 2016 candidates, thereby excluding words used exclusively by one or more candidates in the past but not in 2016. This way, I formed a clear message and story that made the data immediately relevant and impactful.

Final Poster

For the final layout of the piece, I decided to use a clean, clear aesthetic that vastly contrasted with the busy and confusing layout of the raw data from which I gleaned my information. Time progresses inward towards the center of the poster, which is divided by political party, making it easy to trace a word to its use in nominee convention speeches as far back as 2004. The color becomes more saturated as time goes on as well, making the most recent and relevant data also the most prominent. As stated in the poster's key, words appear in order of frequency, and words in red were used more often by Republican candidates, while those in blue were used more by Democrats.