Three Questions with… Pei Ying Loh

This content originally appeared as part of The ‘Gale newsletter.

Pei Ying Loh is the co-founder and head of Kontinentalist, a data-driven editorial studio based in Singapore that seeks to change global narratives and conversations about Asia. Her work experience in museums and passion for history is the driving force behind many of her stories, which delve into cultural and historical contexts. Connect with her on Twitter @hellopeiying.

1. If you could be any type of chart, what would you be?

I would want to be a circular bar plot. It’s basic and simple, which means it’s still easy to read and understand for most audiences. The circular element just makes it fancy enough to be eye-catching and make people go ‘ooo’ and ‘ahh,’ and score easy impression points. It’s also just a tad difficult to read the differences in bar size, which leaves a certain degree of intrigue…

2. If you were stuck on a desert island, what viz would you want to create and what would you use to make it?

This is probably really pessimistic, but I’d make a waffle chart, and make an estimation of how many days I have left to live with the provisions I can find. Maybe I would use a mini rock and carve it on a large rock?

3. What is one visualization that has inspired you?

There are so many I’d like to pick, but one came to mind right away, and it’s Jane Zhang’s “Preserving My Family’s Recipes.” It’s an incredibly personal project and speaks to the idea that, if there’s a will, there’s a way. Data is everywhere, and it needs only our discipline and drive to gather it. It also really tugs at my heart strings and [on] a personal anxiety I share — I love to cook and have also been trying to learn recipes from my mother and my mother-in-law, in an effort to trace and better understand my heritage. It’s also, of course, super beautiful and fun to look at! Jane’s really nailed down the user experience of the project, and made it intuitive to understand.

Screen capture from Jane Zhang’s video, “Preserving My Family’s Recipes”


Claire Santoro is an information designer with a passion for energy and sustainability. For 10 years, Claire has worked with governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and higher education to accelerate climate action by communicating complex information in an engaging, approachable way. Claire holds an M.S. in environmental science from the University of Michigan.