We’re a group of experienced designers, developers, researchers, writers, and data enthusiasts who like to tackle complex, unique problems. Our favorite projects are often in unfamiliar disciplines, working with domain experts who want to explore novel solutions to interesting questions. We’ve worked with healthcare professionals to redesign the patient data pipeline, with farming advocates to build interfaces to help farmers calculate land costs, and with scientists to build tools to visualize genomes, cells, and virus outbreaks.
We're interested in clients who want to think with us: problem solving and iterating on potential solutions while learning from their data. Sometimes we're starting with spreadsheets or databases, sometimes it's piles of papers, and sometimes we have to seek out the right data sources ourselves. It's never perfect, but we love the process of untangling the mess and finding what is of value. Our projects range from six week sprints to multi-year engagements, but no matter what we’re committed to using design to build tools that are easy to use, fun to explore, and substantive in their treatment of the data.
Ben Fry received his doctoral degree from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his research focused on combining fields such as computer science, statistics, graphic design, and data visualization as a means for understanding information. After completing his dissertation in 2004, he spent time developing tools for visualization of genetic data as a postdoc with Eric Lander at the Eli & Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. During the 2006-2007 school year, Ben was the Nierenberg Chair of Design for the Carnegie Mellon School of Design.
He is the author of Visualizing Data (O’Reilly, 2007) and the co-author, with Casey Reas, of Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists (MIT Press, 2007) and Getting Started with Processing (O’Reilly, 2010), which describe the project they co-founded in 2001.
Ben’s work was part of the Whitney Biennial in 2002 and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial in 2003 and 2006. Other pieces have appeared in the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York, at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, and in the films Minority Report and The Hulk. His information graphics have also illustrated articles for the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the journal Nature. Ben was selected as one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Influential Designers in America (2011) and as one of Slate’s Top Right (2011). He has lectured on data, design, and programming on five continents.
In 2011, Ben won the National Design Award for Interaction Design. At a White House luncheon for the honorees, he had the opportunity to meet Michelle Obama, whom he found to be very gracious but quite imposing in heels.
Mark Schifferli likes to make life easier through computing. His programming career started at Target Analysis Group, where he processed and analyzed nonprofit revenue data. After seeing his first data visualization application, he was hooked on teasing meaningful stories from large and complicated data sets. This led him to join EnerNOC, an energy management company, where he developed applications for critical real time decision making during electrical grid emergencies.
Prior to programming, Mark contributed to various ensembles in San Francisco’s experimental music scene as a guitarist and recording engineer. Mark graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University, Bloomington, with a BA in philosophy and minors in math and French.
Olivia Glennon started programming at the age of ten in an attempt to beautify her Neopets page. She earned a B.F.A from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. There, she took a variety of courses in both the art and engineering schools, exploring ways to connect her design background with her passion for programming.
Before coming to Fathom, Olivia spent a year at The Wall Street Journal designing and building client-facing and internal products. Outside of the office, you will find her knitting a sweater, drinking Earl Grey tea, and thinking about what to make next.
Paul Cronan is an artist and designer. His path to information design was sparked early on by a fascination with geography and mapmaking. He earned a B.F.A. in Communication Design at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he focused on book arts, typography and web design, merging his interests to map the complexity of urban space in interactive ways.
Before joining the Fathom team, Paul worked as a designer in his hometown, Baltimore, and illustrated a novel about prehistoric time travel for Random House. He enjoys cycling, making typefaces and trying unusual foods.
Sarah Friedman is a designer and artist with an M.F.A. from Boston University in Graphic Design and a B.A. from Harvard University in Earth & Planetary Sciences. Her multidisciplinary background and interest in the intersection of art and science led her to data visualization.
Her artwork has been selected for exhibition across New England, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Outside the office she enjoys podcasts, crafting, and macaroni and cheese.
Lukas enjoys working on the intersection of architecture and computation. While studying architecture at Princeton University he developed an enthusiasm about spatial data, IoT devices, narrative and visualizing ideas which led to an initial internship at Fathom. This experience sparked his interest in learning more about computation, he ended up going to MIT graduating with MSc degrees in design - computation and computer science. After leaving MIT, he returned to Fathom and is excited to keep on learning in a stimulating environment, while working on meaningful projects.
In his spare time, he recently renewed his interest in magic tricks, and has finally had enough time to take care of his succulent plants.
Jose Luis is an architect, computational designer, and educator. He advocates for a future where programming and code are tools as natural to artists as paper and pencil. In his work, he explores creative opportunities at the intersection of design, technology, fabrication, data, and art. He received his doctoral degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he currently is Lecturer in Architectural Technology. His background includes work as structural consultant, data visualization architect, software engineer and researcher.
He is also the co-founder of ParametricCamp, an initiative to promote computational design literacy among designers, architects and artists. When out of his laptop, you may find him running, cooking, DJing or ranting about mathematical constants.
Xiomara is a designer and bookworm with an B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in Graphic Design and a minor in Literary Arts and Studies. There, she immersed herself in a variety of courses in book design, web design, typography, and exploring ways to incorporate her Latin culture in hopes to inspire change.
Before joining the Fathom team, Xiomara worked as a design intern at MTV creating digital, print, and broadcast graphics while her personal work was recently featured in Paper Magazine as part of the 2020 BFA Student Show. She enjoys spinning, darkroom photography, and cooking.
Libby is a fresh graduate of Rhode Island School of Design where she studied Graphic Design, which was great for her because she loves to play with words — creative and critical writing, drawing and arranging letterforms, and exploring other methods of making meaning.
She spends most of her time on her laptop, discovering Illustrator shortcuts or experimenting with HTML and p5.js, but believes that the only true medium is the graphic T-shirt. She hopes to use her newly-acquired graphic design skills for a lifetime of making complex information meaningful, impactful, and accessible.