Posts by Terrence
2015 print shop donations

We’re happy to report that for another year, our curiosity and love of print have enabled us to give back to our local community and beyond. Our latest printed project—The Preservation of Favoured Traces—continues the tradition. Proceeds from all our books, offset posters and on demand posters are donated to organizations that support areas we are interested in. From supporting female entrepreneurs to encouraging more active and sustainable transportation, the diverse interests of folks in the office are reflected by our areas of donation.


  • The Somerville Homeless Coalition has been working to put themselves out of business since 1985. We wanted to help them do that by funding a one bedroom apartment to help get someone off the street.
  • Cooper Hewitt’s: Designers of Tomorrow program offers students creative problem-solving tools.
  • Resilient Coders creates programming for kids from typically underserved communities to learn how to code.
  • Boston Cyclists Union is an organization that advocates for better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in the Greater Boston Area.
  • Bunker Hill Community College has a fund that supports students in emergency situations, when they may otherwise need to drop out.
  • Bikes Not Bombs uses bicycles as a vehicle for change by teaching underserved youth how to build their own bikes. They ship bicycles to third world countries for use for transportation. Terrence rode in the Bike-A-Thon so the poster fund matched his fundraising efforts.
  • Heifer International has a fund that trains women that are starting their own businesses in Haiti. #girlboss
  • Last year a devastating earthquake rattled Nepal, so we updated our Quakes project that showed the aftershock tremors that further damaged to the region. It is tough to find organizations that ensure finances get to the people in need. With this in mind, our research led us to Save the Children and Mercy Corps.


Check out our books, offset posters and on demand posters today, and stay tuned (@fathominfo) to learn where we donate in 2016!

Time and Place

We’ve had an ongoing interest in activity data from projects with the Nike FuelBand (Year in NikeFuel and NikeFuel Weather Activity) to more recently with Fathom Watch Faces for Android Wear. This work has inspired me to track every place I’ve been and how I’ve moved between locations with the Moves app. With about twenty months of data on my hands I began parsing, analyzing and creating sketches.

This project was a great way to put my preliminary knowledge of D3.js into practice. I’d also recommend the book Interactive Data Visualization for the Web by Scott Murray which was helpful for grasping the fundamentals of D3.js.

Check out the project here.

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Last weekend I participated in an annual Bike-A-Thon hosted by Bikes Not Bombs, which is a non-profit that runs youth programs in the Boston area. The organization teaches kids how to build and fix bicycles, and they also run an international program that sends bikes to developing regions in Africa.

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We thought the Bike-A-Thon would be a nice opportunity to support a local organization that’s also doing great work abroad. Once my team reached our fundraising goal with the amazing support from family and friends, the Fathom poster fund matched our numbers. At Fathom we design and sell posters as a side project to raise proceeds for various charities near and far. You can read more on that here, but the poster fund was a great way to bring Fathom into the fold of the Bikes Not Bombs program.

Data Insights

  • My pace was 12.9mph, that’s comparable to the fastest marathon runner ever (and yet I was on two wheels).
  • My total energy output according to Strava was 977 kiloJoules (kJ). If I had somehow powered that into my apartment, I could have saved $1.15 on my electric bill.
  • My elevation change was 1,362 feet which I learned is the exact same height as the One World Observatory, on the top of One World Trade Center.

It was great to see so many people coming together for the Bikes Not Bombs cause. We hope to grow the team for next year’s event. Until then, we’ll be installing more bike racks in the office to accommodate some new members of the Fathom team!

Some gifts that keep giving

We aren’t a poster company, but over the years our love of print has driven us to design a collection of printed artifacts (see Scaled in Miles, All StreetsDencity, and Frankenfont). Our print explorations often occur alongside client work, and reflect the range of interests (and occasionally obsessions) of folks around the office. We donate all of the print-generated proceeds to charities.

Through Donors Choose, we helped schools purchase materials that we also enjoy using, like a projector. Here’s one of the thank-you letters from a sixth grader in Philadelphia.

A large portion of this year’s sales traffic came from a post on Reddit, a radio appearance on BBC Radio, and write-ups from WIRED, FastCo and Quartz. We’re thankful for the interest they’ve sparked, along with all of those who have generated traffic by word-of-mouth (or tweets). Any sharing of our printed work directly impacts the amount we’re able to give away.

We’ve made a point this year to donate to communities both at home and abroad. Read on to learn about the local, national, and international organizations we’ve selected for this year’s donations.


  • Girls Rock Boston empowers girls through musical education and performance (they’re like the movie School of Rock, but even more badass).
  • Food for Free distributes fresh produce to underserved communities in Boston (if you haven’t noticed, we’re enthusiastic about urban farming).
  • Somerville Homeless Coalition provides housing services, emergency shelters, food assistance, and case management to our local stomping grounds.


  • Donors Choose supports classrooms in high poverty districts with STEM-related books and art supplies (we’re talking textbooks, crayons, 3D printers, the whole works).


  • Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) gives emergency aid to those affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion, and natural or man-made disasters.
  • Congo Medical Relief supports families of healthcare workers lost in the fight against Ebola (some of the heroes that worked with our friend, Pardis Sabeti).
  • Save the Children has a fund for helping children affected by the devastating earthquakes in Nepal.
  • Mercy Corps was on the ground in Nepal before the recent earthquakes, and their relief efforts are providing food, water, and other emergency supplies to survivors.

Some students sent us drawings of the art supplies they received (Donors Choose).

On behalf of the organizations in this year’s lineup, thank you for all for your orders! To learn about our donations in other years, see our previous post.

If you’re interested in purchasing a print, check out the 3rd floor (prints we stock and ship from our studio), All Streets collection (printed on demand in California), and Frankenfont (printed on demand from Blurb).

Thanks again from all of us at Fathom, and stay tuned for the next print in our collection.

Business Card

What began as a quick presscheck turned into spending the day with Elias Roustom, the Master Printer of EM Letterpress, who is making our new business cards.

Stepping into the shop, the smell of ink brought me right back to my days in the printshop at art school. EM has four Original Heidelbergs, as well as a Vandercook for large format jobs like posters.

Elias pulls a print from a Heidelberg to see how the paper captured the ink.

Service gaps in the commuter rail schedule “prevented me” from leaving the shop. I learned how some of the mechanics function in the Heidelberg presses, which are really amazing machines. The first Heidelberg debuted in 1913 and many are still running today.

It was also neat to see an experienced printer work through the whole process of a run. It was a stark contrast to when I was in school, and we spent the day messing around with different printing techniques.

If you are asking yourself, “why a whole blog post for just a business card?” (or even if you aren’t) let’s see what Christian Bale has to say.

For more letterpress photos check out EM’s flickr account.

Founded in 2010 by Ben Fry, Fathom Information Design works with clients to understand complex data through interactive tools and software for mobile devices, the web, and large format installations. Out of its studio in Boston, Fathom partners with Fortune 500s and non-profit organizations across sectors, including health care, education, financial services, media, technology, and consumer products.

How can we help?