The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Hardcover – 31 Jan 2001
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The first edition of Tufte's now classic text on the design of statistical graphics was published in 1983. Tufte published it himself with the help of a second mortgage in order to have complete control over the book's design, which he wanted to reflect the intellectual principles put forth in its c
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Top Customer Reviews
The clearly focused chapters, all with superb illustrations, take the reader through some of the best and worst graphics and charts ever printed, with Tufte providing crystalline insights and techniques that will stick in your mind and make your own work better.
Whilst this book deals only with printed graphics, I think that the lessons learned are even more valuable as a foundation for interactive media designers. With the added dimensions of time and user involvement comes the potential to commit far worse design-crimes than many of the examples laid bare in this book!
Like I said: Read it before you make a really bad mistake!
The book also provides some splendid examples of good graphical design, shockingly most of them fairly old - i.e. the field did not progress nearly as much as should be expected, with most of the progress being pre-20th century, with several unfortunate steps back from the 1920s to 1970s (shown as well). Another interesting facet is the historical development of methods for presenting quantitative information, which is interesting in its own right.
This book should be essential reading for anyone who relies on visually presenting quantitative information and is an absolute must in management consulting.
The problem with this idea is that it is based on a fundamentally flawed view of human perception. We don't just see individual blobs of inks (or darkened pixels), so that adding more makes it harder. Instead we see the various shapes they form (search the web for "Kanizsa's triangle"!), and we should be aiming to reduce the complexity of this. For example, if you have several graphs next to each other, then putting a box around each will keep them visually distinct, so you can focus on one at a time with no conscious effort. If you leave out the bounding boxes then they become a jumble of tiny objects that take some effort to group visually. A very small amount of effort, admittedly, but you've made it harder for no reason. But Tufte HATES putting boxes around things! After all, you've certainly added more ink, and added no more information, so by his flawed rule you have made things unambiguously worse.
So now for the good. Why should you buy this book if not to read it? Because it is filled with pictures representing data from a myriad of sources. Some of them are effective, some are not. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. All are worth reflecting on.
In conclusion: Ok, I exaggerate when say "do not read it".Read more ›
Tufte starts with a simple proposition: graphs and graphics
that represent statistical data should tell the truth. It's
amazing how often designers of such graphics miss this basic
point. Tufte clearly and entertainingly elucidates the most
common "graphical lies" and how to avoid them.
book and you'll never look at a newspaper or presentation
graphics the same way again -- you'll be left wondering if
the author *intended* to lie about what the data were saying, or if he/she just didn't know any better.
Another reviewer claimed that this book talks about how to make graphics accurate, not beautiful. He's right in some sense, but who cares? There are a million books on how to make "pretty" graphical displays, but precious few on how to make useful ones. These books are they.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delivery was on time, and the book itself is in good condition. However, the cover (an individual sheet of paper) had been completely teared up, so I no longer have any title on... Read morePublished 4 months ago by mie kristensen
I bought this as a geek with a view to learning more about how to present data in a way that capitalised on the use of colour and so on (as an artists I make a good housebrick). Read morePublished 13 months ago by Ap Woods
The gold standard in visual design. Along with a good understanding of typography can yield very good looking and informative charts.Published 19 months ago by Nimish
A dry title for a completely wonderful (and beautifully produced) book. Nobody should ever prepare a presentation using graphics to convey numbers without having read it!Published on 3 Feb. 2014 by H. Carter
We have all seen them in presentations: illegible graphs, gaudy tables and lousy ClipArt. As the number of Powerpoint graphics options on explode with every new release of MS... Read morePublished on 30 July 2013 by San Patch
The reproductions are wonderful and the text is informative. A great book to have and read. Get it now!
A classic for every thinking-man's shelf!
Easy to read
Full of quality illustrations
A very good book to have.
I would say worth the money.
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