Visual Explanations

Visual Explanations

Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative

Book - 1997
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Tufte's (statistical evidence and information design, Yale U.) third book on displaying information that began with the now classic (1983). Whereas the first considered the display of numbers and the second of nouns, this explores the representation of verbs, mechanisms and motion, process and dynamics, cause and effect, explanation and narrative. In explicating the principles, he cites such examples as visual evidence to decide to launch the space shuttle Challenger, a supercomputer animation of a thunderstorm, stage magic, and disinformation design. Many examples show redesigns comparing before and after. Lavishly illustrated in color throughout, and includes four flaps showing before and after effects. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Publisher: Cheshire, Conn. : Graphics Press : 1997
ISBN: 9780961392123
Branch Call Number: 741.6 T816v
Characteristics: 156p illus


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Jul 25, 2012

history & critique of graphic design methodology by a (brilliant) statistician

May 16, 2011

This book wanders further out of strict chart-and-graph territory to cover depictions of processes, exemplified by the diagramming of magic tricks; if we understand how misdirection works, we can turn it around to draw the reader’s attention to what really matters. There are nice examples of the practical consequences of information graphics, discussing their role in the Challenger disaster and John Snow’s investigation of the London cholera epidemic. The most valuable concept to me was the notion of the smallest effective difference, with a useful discussion of just how little emphasis is needed to make a point clear in a graphic, and the power of using gray shades and faint lines. (There’s a fun genealogy of rock ’n’ roll too, illustrating parallelism as a graphical tool.) Lovely, but a less immediately practical book than the two preceding it.

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