It's Not Their Fault

A closer look at the effects of the student debt crisis and default, featured in The Stranger, a local Seattle newspaper.

Ruby Peven

Information Design, Research

Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop

9 weeks


The student loan debt crisis is a dire issue that has affected millions of borrowers in the United States. For our Information Design course, we were tasked to create data visualizations depicting this immense problem, centering on a specific target group, and defining a mode of distribution.


Default, the state in which borrower's loan payments are 270 days overdue, is a harrowing experience that many borrowers struggle with and know too little about. Our project aims to throughly explain the process of default, outline the detrimental consequences of missing payments, how certain demographics are affect disproportionately, provide a detailed look at how it has affected one particular person, and paint a larger picture of the immense effect that this has on borrowers across the country. It would be a special topic covered in The Stranger, a local biweekly newspaper in Seattle. 


It's Not Their Fault

Borrowers are often blamed for their predicament, the crushing student loan debt that they are unable to pay. However, the debt crisis disproportionately affects certain groups of people and many of the loan providers exercise predatory practices that set borrowers up for failure.

Humanizing the Data

Presenting just statistics creates a gap between the reader and the very real-life consequences borrowers experience every day. Focusing upon the story of one particular borrower's journey and featuring quotes from other borrowers across the country allows for readers to empathize with those who are struggling with their debt.

Using Format