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Introducing Depict Data Studio

Updated on: Oct 10th, 2018

Five years ago, as I was working full-time and doing graduate school at night, I was also bombarded with requests for data consulting projects.

“Too bad I can’t take on any of these great projects! There aren’t enough hours in the day,” I complained to my husband. “Someday, when we’re 65, and we retire from our regular jobs, I’ll take on some of these interesting projects.

“Why wait?” he wondered. “Why not quit your job and start your own company now?”

It was a big decision. I reached out to a dozen colleagues who ran their own businesses. I got game-changing career advice.

“You’re going to work harder than ever, but the work will be more rewarding than ever,” they said.

Yep, that one turned out to be true. Entrepreneurs are the only people willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week!

“But you’re such an extrovert. You’re going to hate working by yourself,” was their overwhelming concern.

They were right again. I thrive in teams, which is why I’m drawn so strongly to the teaching side of data visualization. I love being on-site with my clients, passing on my skills to their staff members, and working through their unique dataviz challenges together.

But something was still missing: a team of collaborators.

Now, in my fifth year, I’m introducing Depict Data Studio! I’ve been teaming up with a dozen talented subcontractors, and this team-based approach to training and design projects is a perfect fit for both me and my clients. I get joy and fulfillment from working alongside other smart people. Our clients benefit from a wider array of skills. Everyone wins. Eventually, this organic shift required a re-branding.

Depict Data Studio logo.

Here’s what to expect from Depict Data Studio.

Online Courses

We’ve got a series of three online courses, including Simple Spreadsheets (data analysis), Great Graphs (data visualization), and Dashboard Design.

The latest course, Great Graphs, just started last week. We’ve left registration open for now because so many people are still in the process of getting paperwork approved. This course is a great example of the studio’s team-based approach. There are 14 instructors who each bring a different lens to data visualization. For example, Jon Schwabish is taking a deep dive on designing tables while Isaac Castillo is taking a deep dive on the public speaking skills needed to share data during presentations.

Online courses go broader and deeper than what we’re able to offer during in-person workshops, and cover anywhere from 12 to 20 hours of recorded content, plus the option for additional live webinars or one-on-one sessions.

Enrollment is limited. Registration only opens once a year and courses always sell out.

Depict Data Studio's course logos.

In-Person Workshops

In-person workshops are our flagship service and my all-time favorite thing in the whole world. Sometimes we focus on data visualization. Other times we focus on data analysis. And other times we craft a custom, hybrid workshop that combines the exact mix of skills that clients need.

Photo from an in-person workshop led by Ann K. Emery.

Virtual Webinars

Webinars are a great option for teams that are scattered across the country (or world) and can’t meet together in one place for an in-person workshop.

We connect for 45 to 90 minutes at a time, talk about data visualization principles, and then look at before/after makeovers from your real projects.

View a list of webinar topics here.

List of Depict Data Studio webinar subjects.

Small Group Coaching

Do you have questions about your own project? Do you need a second set of eyes to review your visualizations? Borrow our brains. You’ll receive our undivided attention.

We’ll connect through the magic of screen sharing. You’ll share your screen so that we can overhaul your reports, slides, dashboards, and infographics together.

Coaching sessions last 60 minutes. We can also provide a few days or weeks of consulting on your project.

Sessions are designed for small groups. For larger groups, let’s talk about workshops or webinars.

Conference Keynotes

Conference keynotes can inspire your attendees to look at their data from a new lens. I’ve been the invited keynote speaker for the:

  • Urban Institute’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Washington, D.C.;
  • Southeast Evaluation Association in Tallahassee, FL;
  • Alabama Power Foundation’s Elevate Movement in Birmingham, AL;
  • CQI Conference in Champaign, IL;
  • Southeastern Library Assessment Conference in Atlanta, GA;
  • CDC Data Visualization Science Advisory Group kick-off event in Atlanta, GA;
  • University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN;
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, PA; and the
  • Texas Association of Institutional Research in Austin, TX.

Photos from events where Ann K. Emery has served as the keynote speaker.

Data Visualization Design

Want good data visualization, but don’t have time to do it yourself? We can design reports, one-pagers, dashboards, infographics, and slideshows.

Sometimes, clients send us raw spreadsheets and we manage the entire analysis and report-writing process from start to finish.

Other times, clients send us their draft documents and we work together to take their ideas to the next level.

Most of our designs are private, client-facing documents. Once in a while, we work on public-facing reports. Our latest public-facing project is for the National Home Visiting Resource Center.

Visual from a public-facing project for the National Home Visiting Resource Center.

Chart Chooser

I created the interactive Chart Chooser in 2015. You’ll continue to see new graph types, examples, resources, and templates bit by bit.

Screenshot of Depict Data Studio's interactive chart chooser.


The workshop handout grew from a few pages to a few dozen pages, and eventually warranted its own ebook. The book currently has 250 pages of best practices, before/after makeovers, and even dashboard examples.

We’ll turn it into a printed book eventually, but that might not be for several more years. In the meantime, we release new versions every few months. Past customers are grandfathered in to the newest edition; in other words, even people who bought the ebook in 2016 continue to get the latest versions at no additional cost (and we have zero plans to change this model).

Ann K. Emery's book.


I started blogging in 2012 and will probably share tips, tricks, and resources for infinity.

Some of the posts have step-by-step software how-tos, others focus on presentation skills, and others provide case studies and before/after makeovers from specific projects.

We publish new posts every couple weeks. The newsletter is the best way to get notified about recent posts.

We publish new posts every couple weeks. The newsletter is the best way to get notified about recent posts.

I hope you enjoy browsing the new website. Thanks for making the past five years extraordinary. –Ann

More about Sara DeLong
Sara DeLong is passionate about strategic information design and data visualization that creates an impact. She currently lives in Denver and works in public health and communications. Working in public health in nonprofit and government settings has taught her that the most effective communications materials are collaborative, community-driven, and bold with color. Sara enjoys the challenge of taking complex content and transforming it into visually engaging materials that lead to action.

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