One of my Professors recently gave us a sneak peak at a nice shortcourse on data visualization, The Art and Science of Data Visualization Using R, that he’s teaching at JSM 2015. One of the more amusing visualizations was Chernoff faces:
Chernoff faces, invented by Herman Chernoff, display multivariate data in the shape of a human face. The individual parts, such as eyes, ears, mouth and nose represent values of the variables by their shape, size, placement and orientation. The idea behind using faces is that humans easily recognize faces and notice small changes without difficulty.
Later on I saw this post about multivariate beer on FlowingData which describes using beer flavors to represent county demographics. Here’s the reverse: Rather than using beer flavor to represent multivariate data, the faces are a multivariate data visualization of beer categories. The faces can give some idea of an unfamiliar beer’s profile based on more familiar beer categories.
As usual, the code is on github.