Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information Paperback – 1 Oct 2013
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"Artistic analysis... tremendous potential for shaping how we understand our world... if you are the type who obsesses on Google Analytics or just feel the need to nerd out for a bit, pick up a copy." --Cool Hunting
"Manuel Lima, the New York-based founder of visualcomplexity.com, works at the forefront of network science and information visualization. Appropriately, his book Visual Complexity cuts through digital clutter, using colorful examples to illustrate these fields." --Surface magazine
"Incredibly ambitious, deeply researched, and beautifully illustrated." --frieze
"From genealogical patterns in medieval tapestries to the math behind fractals, Lima, a senior UX design lead for Bing, shows how designers turn complex patterns into compelling artwork." --Wired
"Intellectually ambitious... the author engages this heady material with a surprisingly sharp and lucid eye." --Metropolis
"Intellectually ambitious...the author engages this heady material with a surprisingly sharp and lucid eye." --Metropolis
"Artistic analysis...tremendous potential for shaping how we understand our world...if you are the type who obsesses on Google Analytics or just feel the need to nerd out for a bit, pick up a copy." --Cool Hunting
"A rigorously researched, beautifully designed, thoughtfully curated anthology of the world's most compelling work at the intersection of two relatively nascent yet increasingly powerful techno-cultural phenomena, network science and information visualization.... A powerful tool in your visual literacy arsenal for navigating the Information Age. From the Bible to Wikipedia edits to the human genome, the gorgeous and thought-provoking visualizations in the book will make you look at the world in a whole new way, and the insightful essays accompanying them will vastly expand your understanding of the trends and technologies shaping our ever-evolving relationship with information." -- Brain Pickings
"Visual Complexity is a showcase for the intersection of art, design and science... Some of the examples are indeed silly. Some are profound. Many are decidedly beautiful. And all are fascinating, given the infinite kinds of data that can be visualized." --New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Nominated by Creativity magazine as "one of the 50 most creative and influential minds of 2009," Manuel Lima is an interaction designer, researcher and founder of VisualComplexity.com, a comprehensive repository of complex network visualisations. He is a graduate of the Technical University of Lisbon (BA) and Parsons School of Design (MFA). He also writes and frequently speaks on the topic of information visualisation.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lima is a relatively recent graduate of Parsons School of Design (2005). He became interested in the blogosphere as “an extraordinary laboratory to track and analyse how trends, ideas and information travel through different online social groups.” In following this up with an MFA thesis, he became interested in understanding structures, and in particular the network. This includes the relationship between network and tree forms, as well as the differences between them. He developed a website, Visual Complexity.com, which acquired hundreds of projects representing a map of maps. This book draws on this background, exploring in the process not only the structured nature of the world but the structured nature of thinking, which reflect each other. Computing is of course central to the practice described in the book, but the computing reflects human design.
The world as we know it is the world as we (choose) to know it. When we start to see the world differently we see a different world. Whether we see the world through visualisation (such as a work of art or a network diagram or a model or a bar chart), imagination or direct seeing (in which a structured order or Gestalt is always implicit in the seeing and what is seen), there is always an ordering activity.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The classic in this field is by Tufte: Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Unlike Visual Complexity, Tufte gives detailed explanations of the creation and meaning of his visualizations.
Lima has been praised and panned for the hardcover version of this book. The pans cite too many pictures and too little words, the praise cites the same thing! So, before you invest, two things:
1. Use the generous Amazon/ publisher look inside feature. Authors and publishers who allow this want satisfied readers and I applaud them!
2. If you're into presentation, art and think like a digital artist, this book is for you. If you're an excel/ table/ linear algebra/matrix type, you'll find this wanting.
In other words, if you are looking for interesting depictions, rather than details of how they got there or what they mean, this is well worth your investment.
I have an advance copy of trees, and Manuel/Princeton listened to the past reviews and added a lot more information, both current and Lima's traditional historic, on not just the graphic what, but the how and why. It is still not a "how to" manual (you'd be better off getting a combinatorics programming or Excel graphics book for that!) but gives both artists and presenters another great encyclopedia. Tufte (above) on the other hand, gives both good AND bad examples-- showing how NOT to present your data.
As a programmer, I obviously am into presentation and trees with completely different motives-- data structures and how they interact with alogrithmic solutions. Even if you're into the nuts and bolts of big data like I am, you'll still enjoy this by superimposing your own solutions on the graphics here and in trees. It also will help you with your users, who as I'm sure you know, will come to you with presentation questions as well. There even is a "big data" CEO job popping up paying high 6 and a lot of stock-- the "CDSO" or "Chief Data Science Officer." As a library science type, I hope this trend continues for all my cyber librarian friends-- go for it, and dust off that XML tome!!
If you're looking for click-by-click advice on how to make your next PowerPoint prettier, you might get frustrated by this book. But if you're interested in making your graphs more information-rich and analysis-friendly, you've come to the right place.
If you're interested in this book, I also highly recommend Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0961392142/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0961392142&linkCode=as2&tag=todmedblo-20&linkId=2XHU3RHNLTB7QJCS
Lima's book is in many ways a modern counterpart to Tufte's, discussing analysis and visualization in a world of networks and big data. While both are fantastic reads for the data nut, I still believe that Tufte's is more useful for someone looking to get a first crash course at understanding data.
I hope you found this helpful!
I've seen the content of that book exhibited at the Big Bang data exhibition in Singapore.
Online projects are very interesting as well: [...]