A New School Lab Exploring Financial Literacy through Visual Metaphors

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What We Do

The Visualizing Finance Lab (VFL) at The New School in New York City explores the ways in which complex financial situations and dynamics can be explained through visual, metaphorical and narrative representations. The lab’s initial goal is to develop a vocabulary for describing illustrations and other visualizations of the recent financial crisis, and creating a searchable online database. These tools will assist designers and creative professionals to contribute more confidently to the discourses of business and economics, and establish a common language for artists, editors, and educators in building financial literacy and understanding.



We've organized symposia, art shows, workshops, and more.


"Co-designed Narrative Visualizations can provide a framework... to engage with targeted community groups as partners in the development process of financial education materials."



Visual Storytelling

In February 2015 the Visualizing Finance Lab partnered with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners  to create a comic narrative based on “Emma’s Story”; a character and narrative developed for use in Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners’s Getting Ahead workshop aimed at low income and financially stressed new yorkers.

Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners is a community-based financial counseling and financial services provider.

See the Full Cartoon



The VFL has been publishing papers and presenting their work at conferences since 2012. Download the full PDF for our papers below:

  • "Teaching the design of narrative visualization:
    behavioral economics and financial literacy." Studies in Material Thinking. Read.
  • "Narrative Visualization to Describe and Assess Decision-Making." Read.
  • "Designing Financial Literacy: Research x Community." Learn x Design: The Third International Conference for Design Education Researchers. Read.
  • "Narrative visualization for co-design with a community
    partner." Form Akademisk. Read.
  • "Designing Financial Literacy with the Other 90%." Read. 
  • "Teaching the design of narrative visualization: Using metaphor for financial literacy and decision making." Read. 
  • "Narrative visualisation for co-design with a community partner." Form Akademisk. Read.


Who We Are

Aaron Fry

Aaron is Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design. At the intersection of design, business and the social sciences, his research interests  include fashion, strategy and entrepreneurship and the role of metaphor to enhance comprehension and influence behavior. Aaron's teaching and research also engage with information visualization (both quantitative and behavioral) and understanding design's agency in 21st Century business contexts.


Carol Overby

Professor of Finance at The New School.


Jennifer Wilson 

Jennifer is Associate Professor of Mathematics at Eugene Lang College, The New School.  Her research interests include mathematics applied to the social sciences, particularly game theory and allocation problems. She is also interested in the visual tools and metaphors that can be used to convey abstract concepts in mathematics, economics and decision-making.

Bhagavi Shivakumar

With a Masters degree in Innovation and Creativity in Industry from London College of Communication, Bhargavi has been actively involved in designing services and applications for major banks and FinTech startups for the last 10 years. Bhargavi’s interest in the financial industry coupled with her design expertise has seen her designing for financial literacy education in India and strategizing cross-border payments services for immigrants. Today, Bhargavi leads the design team at Quovo, a financial data aggregation platform that powers robo-advisors and large financial advisory firms. At the Visualizing Finance Lab, Bhargavi brings her professional experience in financial literacy to research and test FLE concepts of narrative visualization.


Nadia DeLane

Nadia DeLane is a multimedia visual storyteller and content strategist working in film, print, and web. She graduated from Penn State and the School of Visual Arts with MAs in Literature and Visual Narrative and has published content for WholeFoods Magazine, Stone Lantern Films, Turnstone Productions, and AI-AP's Design Arts Daily. In addition to her work with the Visualizing Finance Lab, DeLane is a Digital Media Mentor with the NYC-based organization Girls Write Now.