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Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

R. Klanten , N. Bourquin , S. Ehmann
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Sep 2008
More and more information is being visualised. Diagrams, data and information graphics are utilised wherever increasingly complex elements are present, whether it is in magazines, non-fiction books or business reports, packages or exhibition designs. Data Flow presents an abundant range of possibilities in visualising data and information. Today, diagrams are being applied beyond their classical fields of use. In addition to archetypical diagrams such as pie charts and histograms, there are manifold types of diagrams developed for use in distinct cases and categories. These range from chart-like diagrams such as bar, plot, line diagrams and spider charts, graph-based diagrams including line, matrix, process flow, and molecular diagrams to extremely complex three-dimensional diagrams. The more concrete the variables, the more aesthetically elaborate the graphics sometimes reaching the point of art the more abstract, the simpler the readability. The abundant examples in Data Flow showcase the various methodologies behind information design with solutions concerning complexity, simplification, readability and the (over)production of information. In addition to the examples shown, the book features explanatory text. On 256 pages, Data Flow introduces a comprehensive selection of innovatively designed diagrams. This up-to-date survey provides inspiration and concrete solutions for designers, and at the same time unlocks a new field of visual codes.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Die Gestalten Verlag (9 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9783899552171
  • ISBN-13: 978-3899552171
  • ASIN: 3899552172
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 30.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Singh
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book, but i would suggest getting the first "data flow' instead as graphics are much better, or try 'Information is Beautiful'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book was as described. 1 Sep 2014
By Raven81
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Book was as described.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 25 Feb 2011
Great book, like other from gestalten. Better then the Data Flow 1, because in this one there are a lot of theory, description and good stuff...!
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! 16 Feb 2011
By Angie J
I was originally looking for a book called 'Mapping' by Roger Fawcett-Tang & William Owen, but it is now out of print. Then I saw an ad for the Data Flow book on a Design Week blog and after doing some research online, bought it. It is a really amazing book - just the kind of thing I love. Smashing!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let data scream... but where's the data? 2 Dec 2008
By Juhan Sonin - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We're inundated with small data, big data, complex data... lotsa data. And the data is THE story; it should be front and center. Data Flow depicts hundreds of stunning data viz examples. The book is aesthetically beautiful. However, several of the diagrams suffer from low data-to-ink ratios (lots of paint, little useful data)... and many are illegible and printed too small to see or require specific domain knowledge to decrypt.

Where's the data? The book proselytizes the importance of data and there ain't much raw data to be seen (or linked to).

The book designers have forgotten to treat typography as the visual hierarchy for words, the interface design for text. The type treatments and layouts are difficult to read.

Designers, engineers, statisticians, and decision-makers need data viz guidance. This book is not an academic dive into data visualization and needs to follow several of it's own rules for displaying information. But this book provokes your imagination.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Content, Compromised Design 16 Feb 2009
By Russ Brami - Published on
This book had such promise and I think that there must be a story in why it is so compromised. The text and choice of images are excellent. The design of the book and execution are a failure. It's as if the author lost control of the book and the manuscript was taken through a process that degraded the very purpose of the book. It is still worth reading but there is a baffling irony in the fact that a book about information design has such mediocre information design.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book but little Data 12 Feb 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book that shows numerous examples of Information Aesthetics. My problem with the book is I was hoping for something that showed good examples of how to visualize data and make it aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately for me the book mostly focused on Aesthetics and some of the examples where actually very poor at communicating the content of the data which would have been great if they were listed as anti patterns.
Regardless of my criticism I am happy I purchased the book and have found some interesting and useful examples. If Amazon allowed half ratings I would have rated it 3.5.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feeble follow on 1 July 2010
By M. Andrews - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The original book was fresh and interesting; volume 2 is formulaic -- too many school projects that seem to pre-answer the theme they are intended to explore
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Data Flow 2 is more about the 'business of art' than the 'art of business'. 8 Sep 2010
By Richard Okeby - Published on
"Data Flow 2: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design" describes itself as an expansion of the first book, aimed at being the definition of contemporary information graphics, with new techniques and forms of expression. Instead the book is a gallery of information as art, which in turn deconstructs the data flows and sources, and displays in such a way as to render information as a design element rather than a useful product that can be used and reused.

If you have seen the first book then you know what to expect. The graphic design stretches from the ordinary to the exotic and intricate, ranging from small `ikea type' bookcase colour schemes of paper stacks to thought provoking art installations such as the giant 3D carbon dioxide emissions sphere that dissolves into smaller spheres as you interact. The symmetry of a biologist drawing of a newly discovered plant species. Hand carved bell curved bells cluster on a wooden chopping board. White origami sine waves ripple out from a white square box. Spirograph lampshades resemble the intricate lattice work of nature.

The flaw in this approach is it does not communicate information in a way that's easily understood. A quality of `information' is it's usefulness and usability. Patterns on wallpaper and tree truck dissections all reveal the unique shape of data flows, but fail to provide metrics, a requirement for analysis and conversion to true `information'. Instead we get the raw data as a colour coded fractal, a construct from which you can search for meaning in but not a tool to leverage from.

The language of visual communication and information has its foundations in the automatic reactions we have embedded into our subconscious minds; what we have inherited and learnt. It makes sense to leverage off these cultural triggers.

The final chapter has a piece that devolves into `nonsensical infographics'. These 3D Mondrian style transparent blocks of colour `expose what information graphics looks like without any true data or statistics', this claim would be valid for the majority of the book, which is riddled with abstractions. This chapter contains the cover piece, part of a stunning set of pieces that photoshop mountain ranges into NYSE stock indices. Fantastical landscapes but ultimately not real.

For anyone looking for a book that opens the door into a world of data as art then you have found it. For those looking for how to distill information from data sets in useful ways there are some nuggets. The 3d bar chart with X axis time, Y axis Volume and Z width axis as market share highlights competition in a new useful way. The use of font, typography and simplicity is refreshing. And, if you search, you will find the idea's behind the art lead to new doors, whether usable intelligence lies behind them remains to be seen.
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