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Visual Function: An Introduction to Information Design [Paperback]

Paul Mijksenaar
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Dec 1997
This text presents and dicusses a variety of graphics used in transmitting information, analyzing signs, graphs and charts through a method similar to that found in Edward Tufte's books, "Envisioning Information" and "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" - both texts that have been seen to have had considerable influence on late-20th-century graphic designers. Including numerous colour, and black and white illustrations, the volume examines airplane safety cards, street maps, corporate logos, subway guides, magazine advertisments, cookbooks, computer diagrams, and car manuals, all as a means of explaining how information can be conveyed without words.


Product details

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (30 Dec 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156898118X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568981185
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 16.5 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 909,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Paul Mijksenaar is a professor at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. He is the author of numerous publications on design.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Matches are tricky to use in a car and a pocket lighter dangerous. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not really a book ... 30 Sep 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
... it's more of a pamphlet. Mijksenaar provides some nice examples and interesting ideas, but I wanted much more. Once can read this "book" in less than an hour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less is more 6 Sep 2001
Format:Paperback
Fifty-six pages of essential concepts and well known historical and modern references. A very good starting point or refresher for anyone planning to design information graphics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars :) 10 Dec 2013
By cecilia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
the quality is nice cos I do not mind the marks, I would like to purchase the second hand books again.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A manifesto and a paradox, sort of. 5 Jan 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This small, profusely illustrated book is, well, a personal manifesto against bad informational design. Mijksenaar does not take prisoners: his case studies (of bad design) include glitches by some of the most prominent dutch designers. Healthy, very healthy. There are some surprises, especially if your infodesign paradigm is the London underground map. The book is also a paradox, though, in that it is itself badly designed. By that I don't mean the shape, color, printing, which are pretty, but its logical content structure, which is confusing. Because it is more of a (needed) rant against bad info design, I call it a manifesto. It is an optimistic manifesto, and Visual Function is well worth reading, if only because US designers would profit from getting to know their their dutch counterparts better.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not really a book ... 30 Sep 1998
By dack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
... it's more of a pamphlet. Mijksenaar provides some nice examples and interesting ideas, but I wanted much more. Once can read this "book" in less than an hour.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful examples but missing narrative cohesion 28 Jun 2008
By John D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
These excellent design examples lack just one thing: a book to contain them. This binding is not an introduction to information design but rather an unordered series of ID comparisons randomly proffered with no narrative thread and scant context, comment, or analysis. It reads like the answer key to a lab problem set.

The examples, and especially typography, are scaled down to fit an excruciatingly undersized page. Had the price of paper spiked when the publisher chose this layout? It's hard to imagine that a publisher of a book on ID would knowingly opt for such visual compression and density--a design template, it would seem, intended for crib notes or disclosure of drug side effects. Seriously. The body text is set in an over-leaded 10pt sans serif and the captions about 8pt sans serif light. The text in illustrations elludes legibility entirely. Very hard on middle-aged eyes.

Nonetheless, this slim volume wastes no time getting to thought-provoking successes and failures in graphical ID. Perhaps the best involve subway maps drawn for NYC. In explaining the failure of one particular map design, Mijksenaar notes, "When reality is radically schematized, the link with that same reality is quickly lost" (p. 6). This volume could supplement other, more comprehensive ID treatments; it should not be the only one you own.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Intro for a Neophyte 16 April 2012
By bronx book nerd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really liked the way the author covered some of the fundamental issues of graphic design. I have not read the other reviewers yet (don't want to be influenced by them) so I am wondering where they find fault. I am by no means anywhere near a professional graphic designer (my stick figures were not acceptable at Pratt), but I appreciate that the author covered issues like the purpose of graphic design and the means to achieve those purposes. I found his example of both good and bad design enlightening. Given the recent rise in prominence of information design and data visualization, I think this is a good book to reflect on some of the basic issues involved. There are also many references to the works of other important figures and theorists in this field, which I am going to look into for more elucidation. This is a very short book. The time spent on it is well worth it to get your feet wet in some of the critical areas of graphic design.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Beef? 10 Nov 2006
By D. R. Pitts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This appears to be a teaser for something else, maybe joining his faculty at the Delft University of Technology. The topic is interesting but few conclusions are drawn, many examples are given, but it's not clear what they are examples of. Techniques are alluded to but not describes. Disappointing, but otherwise a pretty little pamphlet.
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