On the one hand, that means that the layouts are often excellent, but on the other merely flipping a page can be a jarring experience as the preceding paragraph fails to relate to the present one. A few times, I even had difficulty telling that the chapter had changed. All that aside, there were several interesting design principles in Envisioning Information that I had never considered, or had some inchoate knowledge of but that Tufte solidified. Overall, the book was very enjoyable but so lacking in structure or flow that I was left a little disappointed. Today, you will more often hear the phrase information visualization aka, infovis to describe the act of representing abstract data in a visual format.
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A real treat for all who reason and learn by means of images. The book provides practical advice about how to explain complex material by visual means, with extraordinary examples to illustrate the fundamental principles of information displays. Winner of 17 awards for design and content. Highest quality design and production. Although its visually gorgeous, its not a coffee table book to just flip through. You have to be willing to spend time with it, and if you do the rewards are tremendous.
Tufte presents a collection of some the best examples of information design ever invented, and some of the worst examples. And then he goes into the underlying principles that make the great ones sing out. This book will be really helpful to any web page designer, UI designers, statisticians, cartographers, scientists, or anyone concerned with presenting dense information in a clear way. There is a chapter on presenting multiple dimensional data on a flat, 2D paper that all by itself is worth the price of the book.
And on and on and on. Its just a great book. To add to it, Tufte is obsessed with quality like nobody else I can think of in the book business. Which means the book is costly to make, but its of heirloom quality. A superb, inspiring book!
It is a catalog of world class information design examples, culled by the author. This is not a "how to" book, but rather a group of inspiring examples showing any would be information designer the concepts behind the execution of these superb examples. The concepts are painstakingly argued and illustrated.
One of the best books I have ever read when it comes to visual design! He identifies the attributes of effective communication of information and then illustrates what works and why in very understandable terms.
For instance, in his chapter "Layering and Separation," Tufte dissects the problems with array of marshaling signals then reworks the presentation and provides a step-by-step explanation of his process. His coining of the wonderful notion of an "information prison" shows that his cleverness extends from the visual to the written.
As Tufte writes in his introduction, "The principles of information design are universal-like mathematics-and are not tied to unique features of a particular language or culture. His comments and insights of the power of color are especially enlightening, and if you have ever been subjected to a particularly hideous PowerPoint slide show where the presenter got more than a bit carried away with the technology, you will be agreeing more than disagreeing with the ideas here.
But if you consider the amount and quality of color which requires special press runs , the quality of the paper, the amount of press time Tufte oversees and approves the printing , and the vast scope of timeless information contained in each book, then these books are a deal.
Escaping Flatland, and avoiding chart junk along the way By Abhinav Agarwal on Nov 06, Passionate exposition on effective visualizations. Key takeaways are small-multiples, use of color, and use of details. However, the material on maps is sketchy. While mostly good, it is also distractedly didactic. While a must-have in any collection on data visualizations, for people looking for only one book on effective data visualizations, this is not it.
This book is like the poetry of visualizations; you will need to supplement it with books that are the prose of visualizations - see suggestions at the end of the review. Why 3 Stars??? This may seem harsh, but hear me out. There is lots that is good in the book. And this is where it falls short.
It does not address the issue of map based visualizations in any sort of depth. Not much space is devoted to the different types of map based visualizations - dot plots, qualitative and quantitative choropleths color patches , heatmaps, proportional bars, 3D maps, maps with variable sized markers, isopleths, flow maps, dot-location maps, graduated symbol maps, and much, much, more.
The other reason for deducting two stars is the fact that this book, in , does read a bit dated. It is a beautifully laid out book, that almost falls into the coffee-table book category, but looking beyond that, the material does show its age.
Perhaps unfair on my part Excerpt: On the topic of spatial maps, Tufte highlights a problem that may emerge with conventional choropleths blot maps : " they Or at least one solution: "Mesh maps finesse these problems. Excerpts from the book: "All communication between the readers of an image and the makers of an image must now take place on a two-dimensional surface. Escaping this flatland is the essential task of envisioning information.
A most unconventional design strategy is revealed: to clarify, add detail. Eduard Imhof enumerates four rules of minimizing such color damage: "First rule: Pure, bright colors or very strong colors have loud, unbearable effects when they stand unrelieved over large areas adjacent to each other, but extraordinary effects can be achieved when they are used sparingly on or between dull background tones. Second rule: The placing of light, bright colors mixed with white next to each other usually produces unpleasant results More color is needed.
Some of the reproductions are not very clear, and it is a real strain on the eyes to discern the data and the visualization: certainly not a ringing endorsement for a book on visualizations. Without some any formal, theoretical background, this book feels incomplete. In Closing: Consider this: while you may use other books more frequently to learn and reference when creating visualizations, charts, or dashboards, you will want to keep this book handy to remind yourself of the bigger picture and the historical context of visualizations.
Tukey and many other books that cover the topic of information visualizations. Another wonderful book by the hand of Mr. Tufte By Thomas Schultz on May 31, In the first book in this series "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" we were introduced to some pretty clever ideas for presenting numbers using different types of graphs.
This time, Mr. Tufte takes us on a journey through time and information space: Using carefully selected examples on graphic communication from all parts of the world, the reader is introduced to essential concepts as: Layering techniques; The use of colour to convey information; Multidimensionality in two dimensions; etc. It is amazing that just about pages is all it takes to deliver a clear and strong message.
But, as usual, Mr. Tufte do not waste his words on chit chat, but instead chooses his words carefully with loads of understated humour. Thereby the words themselves are a manifest of the message in this book and at the same time they become the invisible glue that connects the superbly chosen and superbly rendered illustrations which set the standard for the rest of us. If you can afford only one of the three books by Edward Tufte, then chose this one.
The other books in the trilogy, being masterpieces themselves, could be considered being complementary reading. In this book Tufte shows how color, multiple pictures from different perspectives, graphs, charts and even newspaper text can be used to convey on a flat piece of paper information for high-dimesional data.
Most important is the ability of two-dimensional pictures to display the information of the three dimensional world that the human mind can comprehend through sight. This is the reason for the title to the first chapter "Escaping Flatland".
However, as interesting as the pictures are themselves it is necessary to read the text and look back and forth between pictures to fully appreciate the points of the text. As with his earlier work, Tufte demonstrates the principles of good graphics through effective demonstration of ideas conveyed by good and bad examples.
The difference is a broader coverage of techniques and greater emphasis on the good examples. This book is a nice lead in for the third book, "Visual Explanations", which deals with examples where Tufte believes the graphical displays actually lead to good inferences about a problem under study. It does require that you revel in the concept and manifestation of representation. I believe that it is possibly one of the most beautiful science books around - and it often transcends any definition of a "text" book.
The complexity of the subject s is given justice in this book - with both beauty and fun!! The primary objective of Edward R. Tufte is to demonstrate the importance of graphic illustrations in understanding the world around us. In this volume, the central focus is to demonstrate how one can use static and a two-dimensional surface i. The illustrations that he selects and his explanation of the impact of the illustrations is nothing less than magnificent.
Tufte is brilliant! Unlike the other two volumes, the centerpiece of this work is mapping. He addresses various artistic principles that offer a great clarity in guiding a scholar to reproduce distance and shapes. I draw your attention to page Here, we see a small piece of an "Isometric Map of Midtown Manhattan. I purchased the map for a close friend who calls Midtown Manhattan "home.
According to the author, these mapping principles can be generalized to serve other functions. For example, such techniques can be used to provide dance notations see page That is, Tufte shows us how we can employ illustrations to teach people how to dance.
All are awe-inspiring. Every academic library should own a copy of these three volumes. A masterfully executed volume on information design By Edward Kim on Jun 03, This book as a "must-have" for any usability design engineer.
While it is not a book that focuses specifically on usability design per se, all of the concepts covered in this insightful volume are extremely useful in designing human-computer interfaces. Moreover, since this is a book on information design, it is also a treasure trove of knowledge critical when designing in many other visual mediums such as those found in the world of print media. Throughout the engaging narrative, Tufte draws on many interesting historical examples of successful and unsuccessful attempts at visual communication including everything from astronomical charts to train schedules.
A masterpiece in visual communication itself, the reams of useful knowledge in this book are brought together in a remarkably concise and coherent package, interspersed with beautifully illustrated examples and narratives.
My only criticism is that the format of this book 0. Veyera on Jul 09, In "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", Edward Tufte put forth a theory of graphical excellence which taught his disciples how to present complex data crisply, clearly, and concisely while preserving data integrity.
With "Envisioning Information", Tufte tackles a bolder objective: displaying multi-dimensional data effectively within the two-dimensional space of paper or screen. To do this, Tufte employs his successful formula from "Visual Display"outlining the general concepts of his theory and illustrating these principles with many and varied examples.
Tufte has revised and extended his theory of graphical excellence with a handful of simple yet powerful techniques for improving our presentation graphics. Anyone involved in graphics design or in the communication of complex information should have this book on his shelfit is simply too valuable to keep having to borrow it from your public library.
And while he has written several books, from what I can tell Envisioning Information is the favorite among readers if by a slim margin.