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.
Olivia enjoys talking about all people and things having to do with her hometown of Newton, MA (ex: Matt LeBlanc and the Fig Newton). Outside of the office, you will find her wearing a sweater, drinking Earl Grey tea, and thinking about what to cook 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.
Martha Durrett, self-proclaimed “humanities person,” was sure she was going to hate programming when she took her first computer science class during her freshman year at Carleton College. She quickly found out that she was wrong and went on to earn her B.A. in Computer Science and English.
The combination of fields inspired her interest in digital humanities and datavisualization, and encouraged her to use her programming experience to ask and answer humanities-based questions from a creative, computational perspective. Outside the office you might find her reading books, eating ice cream, and getting lost on her way to the bus.
Milo Proscia is an interdisciplinary artist with a background in arts administration, event production, and performance. They earned their BFA from the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
They enjoy working in a collaborative environment and experimenting in new and traditional mediums. Outside of the office find them reading feminist sci-fi, writing music, or singing their heart out at karaoke.
Erin Thomas is a developer who enjoys making things that are informative and delightful. She earned her BA in Political Science and a minor in Computer Science from Macalester College. Upon graduating, she dove into the world of programming. Working at startups in both Minneapolis and Boston, she learned to use design, animation, and interactivity to make digital experiences tactile and playful.
Erin now aims to combine her prior experience in political science, data analysis, and development to create compelling digital stories. Outside of work, you can find her biking across town, practicing yoga, or trying out new clothes.
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.