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The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 22 Aug 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; Pap/Dvdr edition (22 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321834739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321834737
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 2 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

“Welcome to Alberto’s world. Cairo has done it all in The Functional Art: theory, practice, examples. And he’s done it brilliantly. It is the most comprehensive and sensible book yet on real-world information graphics; we won’t need another one for a long time.” – Nigel Holmes, former graphics director for Time magazine and founder of Explanation Graphics

“If graphic designer Nigel Holmes and data visualizer Edward Tufte had a child, his name would be Alberto Cairo. In The Functional Art, accomplished graphics journalist Cairo injects the chaotic world of infographics with a mature, thoughtful, and scientifically grounded perspective that it sorely needs. With extraordinary grace and clarity, Cairo seamlessly unites infographic form and function in a design philosophy that should endure for generations.”
Stephen Few, author of Show Me the Numbers

This book is long overdue. Whether you’re just getting started visualizing information or have been doing it all your life, whether you're looking for a basic understanding of visualization or a detailed how-to reference, this is the book you’re looking for. Alberto Cairo, a professional journalist, information designer, and artist, shows how to visualize anything in a simple, straightforward, and intelligent way.”
Karl Gude, former infographics director at Newsweek and Graphics Editor in Residence at the School of Journalism, Michigan State University

The Functional Art is brilliant, didactic, and entertaining. I own dozens of books on visual information, but Cairo’s is already on the shortlist of five that I recommend–along with those by Edward Tufte, Nigel Holmes, and Richard Saul Wurman–to anybody who wishes to have a career in information graphics. Cairo is one of those rare professionals who has been able to combine real-world experience with the academia.”
Mario Tascón, director of Spanish consulting firm Prodigioso Volcán

"Read It. There is really nothing else to say. If you care about how visualization is used to communicate to people, this is the book for you. If you’re a journalist, you need to read it. If you’re an academic doing visualization research, you really, really need to read it. This is the stuff we’ve been missing in visualization for the last 25 years."
-Robert Kosara, EagerEyes

"If you’re interested to find the right balance between aesthetics and function in the context of data visualization, you cannot avoid Alberto Cairo’s The Functional Art, probably the best data visualization book published in 2012."
-Jorge Camões, www.excelcharts.com


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most literature on infographics can be roughly divided into two groups: Purely practical how-to books which offer approaches and useful tips but often lack any kind of theoretical foundation that might help you tell the difference between good and bad infographics, and stop making bad ones - and high-brow academic opuses which do not easily translate into guidelines you'll be able to use in your everyday work.
We should therefore welcome Alberto Cairo's book as it places itself elegantly inbetween the two. Even though the author is still young, Alberto's background is quite impressive and suggests how he earned the experience and insight enabling him to write this book. Alberto Cairo was educated as a journalist but has been working with infographics at various esteemed publications, including award-winning El Mundo of Madrid and Época magazine of São Paulo, Brazil. He now teaches Information Graphics and Visualization at the School of Communication at the University of Miami. A true academic, Alberto is well-read and not afraid to share his knowledge with the rest of us, as well as teach us posh new words, such as "choropleth maps".
"The Functional Art" is a revised version of an earlier book in Spanish. Even though the subtitle says "An introduction to information graphics and visualization", this is hardly a read for beginners. Rather, I'd recommend it to everyone who seeks a deeper understanding of what they are actually dealing with when producing visual communication. Quite a large part of the book is about perception and cognition, how our eyes work and how our brain processes what they see.
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For anybody starting out in the field of information graphics and visualisations, or for any journalists who work with designers - this is a must read.

The book is clearly laid out and very easy to read and understand. Its one of those books that you can delve into when you have 10 minutes to spare.

Cairo takes you through what makes a successful graphic, backing up his arguments with clear examples, both of his own work as well as others. He also goes into the cognitive aspects of our brains, but not in too scientific a way as to put anybody off.

The last part of the book is taken up with interviews conducted by Cairo with 10 designers at the top of their particular fields in information graphics and data visualisations. Full of interesting, colourful examples and a great resource.

I found it to be an excellent overview, a great resource, easily read and full of inspiration, even for someone like me who has been producing graphics for over 30 years. One to keep by your desk. Highly recomended
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Rather a disappointing book. It begins with a very rapid survey of basic features of graphics. It continues with personal experiences of a spanish/portuguese designer of newspaper graphics. These would be more interesting if they were printed on a scale large enough to read, preferably translated into English. The authour is mainly concerned about appearance, rather than use, and admires some graphics condemned by Tufte as 'chart-junk'.

A second portion discusses information graphics. This is a notoriously difficult field to discuss, and, although the author makes considerable efforts and provides generous links to on-line sources, he does not really overcome the difficulty of discussing dynamic processes in the static form of a book.

The book is bulked out with interviews with ten 'prominent' graphics designers, occupying pages 212-350. The author does not conceal his personal friendship with the interviewees, but the results have an unfortunately obsequious air.
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A brilliant book. Readable, logical, informative, and full of insight and discovery. This is one of my very favourite books. The interviews at the end led me to look into the interviewees work which has led to more great discoveries for me.
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