Hi, I'm Liz. I'm a computational creator who combines art, data, and design to encourage playful exploration.

My favorite projects make quantitative disciplines (even more!) engaging.

Data Visualization

At Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of Leo Burnett, I designed a platform that visualized sales and performance data for quant-averse clients. To satisfy my own curiosities, I created data visualization projects about crime in Chicago, gun control, where to get coffee in San Francisco, and UChicago students (finding: they're nerds). I also redesigned monthly rent reports & internal dashboards for Zumper and created a heatmap of crime by neighborhood for the City of Chicago that hung in City Hall for a bit.

Comics & Illustration

I write and illustrate a weekly comic titled Out of the Office that lovingly pokes fun at the tech world (and often data analysis). I have created comic campaigns highlighting industry disruption for companies including Salesforce and Ernst & Young, partnered with the Stanford d.School to craft and illustrate a card game that presents speech therapy as play, and am currently co-authoring and illustrating a book about the science behind feelings with IDEO's Mollie West.

My comics and illustrations have been featured on or by Business Insider, Quartz, Fast Company, CNN Money, Quiet Rev, and 9gag (12,000+ upvotes but in true internet-troll fashion the top comment was "EAT SH*T"). I also spoke about comics, tech, and creativity at HackMIT in 2015.

Playful Exploration

I like to bring form to feeling. 14 Ways an Economist Says I Love You, which communicates love via economics, has been used to teach economic theory in university courses and forever changed the public perception of economists (actual quote: "I never knew economist to get down like this! serious turn on. Now thinking of dating one!").

Similar projects include Get Hired and Portrait of the Young Grad as an Analyst, but 14 Ways an Economist Says I Love You is my fav. It has been viewed over 6 million times and has been featured on or by The Freakonomics Blog, The Economist , The Financial Times, Greg Mankiw, CNBC, Marginal Revolution, Business Insider, Nobel Laureate Nouriel Roubini, and The American Enterprise Institute.

Product Design

At Genius (formerly Rap Genius) I worked between the community team and the tech team to help design and launch the web annotator, which lets you add line-by-line annotations to any page on the Internet. You can see a video of the product below - it's cool! I recently worked on the redesign of Brilliant and in 2014 I designed Propeller, a design-your-own-mobile-app product which was later acquired by Palantir.

Experience Design

I managed the planning, organization, and design of PowerShift San Francisco, an invite-only conference that brought together leaders across disciplines to brainstorm better ways of doing business. Attendees included GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock, Salesforce CMO Simon Mulcahy, authors Tom Rath and Chris Yeh, and Grammy-nominated musician Aloe Blacc.

As part of the conference, I worked closely with Frans Johansson of the Medici Group and Keith Yamashita, Founder and Chairman of SYPartners, to design a ninety minute module in which participants spoke honestly about diversity and inclusion issues.

All Projects

To quickly answer a few frequently asked questions: I primarily use Illustrator, d3, and a Wacom tablet. You can repost and use my work in presentations but please link back or give me a shout out (not necessary but I'd also appreciate an email - it makes me happy when people are excited about my work). If you'd like to hire me, please email me at liz@fosslien.com.

Qualitative Charts
  • 14 Ways an Economist Says I Love You
  • Chicagoan Until Chicago Ends
  • Get Hired
  • Happy Mother's Day
  • I am Tired of Giving You the Same Advice
  • My Super Sweet Sixteen
  • Name that Rap Song
  • Pomona in 47 Charts
  • Portrait of the Young Grad as an Analyst
  • You're Wrong and I Hate You

  • Design & Illustration
  • Salesforce Comics
  • Ernst & Young Comics
  • Comedy Posters
  • Startup is the New Hipster
  • Genius Tech Team
  • PicnicHealth Identity
  • Improvise Book Illustrations
  • A Very Strange Friend
  • The Miracle of Life.io
  • BLKSHP Identity

  • Speaking
  • eMetrics Chicago (keynote)
  • Chicago Data Potluck
  • New York University
  • Boston University
  • Columbia University
  • HackMIT (keynote)
  • Tradecraft (guest lecture)
  • Quantitative Charts
  • Statistical Insight into the Typical UChicago Student
  • The Passport Project
  • Chicago Crime by Neighborhood
  • Crime Patterns in Chicago
  • A Drug Selling Gang's Finances
  • Firm Disclosures of Anticorruption Efforts
  • Marey Union Pacific Train Schedule
  • One Way or Another We're All Relative
  • Gun Control

  • Cannot be Categorized
  • A List of Books I've Read
  • SF Caffeine Finder
  • A Murakami Mad Lib
  • Street Art
  • Stop Visually Assaulting Me
  • My Life in Three Letters
  • Old Illustrated Layout
  • A Startup Madlib

  • All Media Mentions

  • Freakonomics 1
  • The Economist
  • The Financial Times
  • Greg Mankiw
  • CNBC
  • Business Insider 1
  • NPR's Marketplace
  • Marginal Revolution
  • Freakonomics 2
  • Wall Street Oasis
  • Avinash Kaushik
  • Ask a Manager
  • Life Hacker
  • Spiegel Online
  • Cortissa
  • NBC Chicago
  • Pomona College Magazine
  • Business Insider 2
  • Business Insider 3
  • American Enterprise Institute
  • Business Insider 4
  • Nouriel Roubini
  • Medium
  • NYC Hackathons
  • Genius Jobs
  • Business Insider 5
  • Reddit
  • Quartz
  • Quiet Rev
  • CNNMoney
  • FastCompany
  • Bored Panda
  • 9gag
  • Tumblr
  • Business Insider 6

  • About

    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    My perfect day starts at 7am with a cup of coffee. I like running and identifying occurrences that need disrupting. My best halloween costumes were a bear market and a mobius stripper.

    I studied economics and math at Pomona College. I then performed statistical and strategic analyses at the aptly named Analysis Group, built out data visualization platforms centered around cheeseburger sales at Leo Burnett, and pitched annotation to major publications and influencers and worked on product at (Rap) Genius. Currently, I freelance and live in Berkeley, CA.