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Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information Hardcover – August 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (August 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568989369
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568989365
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

"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

"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

"Intellectually ambitious... the author engages this heady material with a surprisingly sharp and lucid eye." --Metropolis

"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

"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

About the Author

Manuel Lima is the founder of VisualComplexity.com and a Senior UX Design Lead at Microsoft. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was nominated by Creativity magazine as "one of the 50 most creative and influential minds of 2009".

Manuel Lima is a leading voice on information visualization and a frequent speaker in conferences and schools around the world, including TED, Lift, OFFF, Reboot, VizThink, IxDA Interaction, Royal College of Art, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, ENSAD Paris, University of Amsterdam, MediaLab Prado Madrid.

More About the Author

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, nominated by Creativity magazine as "one of the 50 most creative and influential minds of 2009", Manuel Lima is the founder of VisualComplexity.com and a regular teacher of data visualization at Parsons School of Design.

Manuel is a leading voice on information visualization and has spoken in numerous conferences, schools and festivals around the world, including TED, Lift, OFFF, Eyeo, Ars Electronica, IxDA Interaction, Harvard, MIT, Royal College of Art, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, ENSAD Paris, University of Amsterdam, MediaLab Prado Madrid. He has also been featured in various magazines and newspapers, such as Wired, New York Times, Science, BusinessWeek, Creative Review, Fast Company, Forbes, Eye, Grafik, SEED, Étapes, and El País. His latest book Visual Complexity: Mapping patterns of information has been translated into French, Chinese, and Japanese.

Customer Reviews

Good illustrations, great book!
LS
Lima then describes how to address such complex information in graphs or networks, and outlines how we can better understand such information by visualising it.
Jan Stette
All of this makes for something far more sophisticated than a compendium of pretty infographics -- even though aesthetes will be very much satisfied!
Justin M

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 58 people found the following review helpful By David S. Mazel on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As the world becomes more connected, whether through email, social web sites, chat, or instant messaging, there is now a need to understand this interconnectivity. These networks could be computer networks, the connectedness of genes and chromosomes, proteins, or even citations of papers. The need is not new because networks are not new. There have been networks connecting people through phone calls and postal letters, for example. What is new is the many different methods of connection and the size of networks. Given these large networks, how might you go about understanding their properties? Further, how might you go about gaining insight into the types of connections, the strong versus weak connections, the permutations of connections and other such features of networks?

If you were to try to simply list the connections, say in a table that showed a person and who he sent email to, that table would quickly grow. You would have gained little insight to the network except maybe to see just how vast it is. The natural method, then, is to find a graph, a picture, of the network. In Visual Complexity, Manuel Lima starts to show us different pictures we can use to see networks.

He begins with a short history of networks and graphs some dating back centuries. If you gain nothing else from that you will at least see that the need for insight is quite old. Lima does a satisfactory job of describing this history and his illustrations are excellent supports for the text. He then goes on to show more examples and as he does so, the textual explanations slowly fall away. In fact, by page 97 (out of a total of 272 pages) there is very little text but lots of pictures.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Maria Isabel Meirelles on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a practitioner and educator in information design I am writing to recommend strongly Visual Complexity by Manuel Lima. The field had been lacking analytical resources until this book beautifully filled the gap. It is well researched and well written with copious well chosen examples. It provides an in-depth and broad view of the history, theories and methods of visualizing data, mostly focusing on network visualizations. Furthermore, it proposes a methodology for visualizing data which can be very helpful especially for beginners.

I have been following Lima's visualcomplexity.com site for several years and have been suggesting it to my students as a resource. My excitement upon learning about the book immediately led me to reserve a copy of it. The book amazed me with its rigor and the quality of its research. I have to say that I learned a good amount from it which, of course, made me very happy!

I would like to end by recommending that Visual Complexity be an essential reference to all of us who work in visualizing data, from all fields of knowledge, not only designers. Above all, it is a must-have for communication design college students (and instructors). It will be a required book in all of my information design courses. I am certain Visual Complexity will impart both inspiration and information to all who read it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Let's Compare Options Preptorial TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
This first in Lima's series on graphic networking information presentation, wonderfully sets the stage for his next blockbuster-- his trees book you can see here: The Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge.

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.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Justin M on September 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
People interested in and fascinated by gorgeous data and network visualization will love this book.

Lima has done a masterful job of researching and showcasing some of the most beautiful visualizations in the world. However he has actually gone much, much further.

The book contains deep original research on the origins of visual representation, the emergence of networks and network thinking, as well as exploring a new syntax for mapping complex systems. All of this makes for something far more sophisticated than a compendium of pretty infographics -- even though aesthetes will be very much satisfied! -- instead it is an ambitious and intellectually significant dive into the very heart of networks, the desire to understand data, and the practice of discerning insights from their visualization.

A particular highlight are the jaw-dropping comparisons between Jackson Pollock's art and network visualizations in the chapter on 'Complex Beauty'. Lima compares one Jackson Pollock painting with a computer-generated model produced by an IBM supercomputer mapping millions of neuron connections in the brain. The two images, side-by-side, are eerily similar. It gives you the tingling sensation that Pollock's work was less raw artistic explosions and more a representation of what he was 'seeing' deep inside into his brain.

All up, an immensely valuable contribution to an exciting and emerging phenomenon. Brilliant for people interested in beautiful visualizations and perfect for those wanting to delve a little deeper into what's really going on.

'Visual Complexity' is taking pride of place on top of my coffee table.
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