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Pattrn Explores

Entered in Video Series


One of Pattrn’s 2022 initiatives was a series called Pattrn Explores. Climate change and sustainability are complicated buzz words for many people, so the goal of Pattrn Explores was to visually conceptualize these very real challenges to make them more relatable.

Strategy and Execution

We developed two episodes for the Pattrn Explores series called “Power Outrage” and another  episode called “Clearing the Air: West Oakland.” For each of these reports, we assembled a unique team that included meteorologists, graphics designers, and  investigative journalists to work together to tell these impactful stories that highlight our changing climate. All of the reports were produced during the pandemic, making travel and traditional production techniques tricky at best.

With the “Power Outrage” installment that focused on California’s deadly wildfires, we revealed the relatively small amount of moneys paid out by a fund intended to support victims of PG&E’s malfeasance. To explain the complicated timeline of the company’s failures to maintain safety standards, our design team created a dynamic timeline showing the culpable parties and contributing factors.

In the case of the Texas-focused ”Power Outrage,” our designers’ work was integral in demonstrating the infrastructure of the power grid in this country. At the crux of the deadly winter ice storm that killed hundreds in Texas, was the state’s long-standing practice of being disconnected from the national electricity supply. When ice weighed down powerlines for days and utility failures stacked up, Texans were left in the cold. Our visual storytelling helped explain that to viewers in a way that traditional maps and explanations could not.

With the “Clearing the Air” piece, the core challenge for our team was ‘how do we show air pollution’ in a way that makes people care? In gaining access to Aclima’s data visualization tool, we were able to pair the measurements with character-driven storytelling about the community activist who’s working hard to reduce the port city’s emissions.


“Power Outrage” explored the deadly wildfires caused by California-based PG&E utility company, as well as the infamous widespread power outage in Texas during the 2021 Winter Storm Uri. The failures of PG&E led to record-setting and deadly wildfires, which could have been avoided if responsible parties had been proactive. The added insult of empty promises of millions of dollars earmarked to compensate the victims, made this climate story an evocative one. 

In Texas, an insistence on staying disconnected from other states’ grids and a failure to anticipate and mitigate extreme cold weather at the point of power plants, resulted in hundreds of deaths as Winter Storm Uri descended on the state in February of 2021. This report filed one year later explored how Texas got to this point, and what it may take to prevent further disaster as global temperature swings and instances of extreme weather become more prevalent with climate change.

“Clearing the Air” explored air pollution in California. In the Bay Area of California, the zip codes surrounding the city’s busy commercial port are not just some of the highest minority populations, they’re among the lowest air quality index in the metro area. Community activists are working to measure and visualize that air pollution as they work on a path to raising awareness and reducing sickness in their neighborhoods.


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