Graph visualization systems are primarily designed to support data exploration and analysis tasks. Users typically start with an overview of the graph, most commonly represented as a node-link diagram, to which they apply filters and visual mappings. This interaction model, which involves numerous windows, menus and dialog boxes, is ill-suited to tasks that require frequent design iterations, such as when creating engaging visualizations for communication purposes.
We present Graphies, a tool that adopts a bottom-up constructive approach to the creation of node-link diagrams. Users incrementally populate the canvas with nodes and links from a visual summary of the dataset, and can customize their appearance using a large set of visual mappings, interactive bundling and fanning, and sketching. We describe the user-centered design process that led to Graphies, and report on an experiment in which participants successfully created a series of personalized node-link diagrams.