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Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations Paperback – October 1, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Meirelles (Northeaster Univ.) has made an important contribution to the field of information design. In the 1980s and 1990s Edward Tufte wrote Visual Display of Quantitative Information (CH, Nov'83), Envisioning Information (CH, Nov'90, 28-1398), and Visual Explanations (CH, Jul'97, 34-6236). Not since Tufte's work has a book on information design promised such an advance. The key here is the careful classification of information into six kinds of "structures." These are reflected by the six chapter titles: "Hierarchical Structures: Trees"; "Relational Structures: Networks"; "Temporal Structures: Timelines and Flows"; "Spatial Structures: Maps"; "Spatio-Temporal Structures"; and "Textual Structures." Very well illustrated and well written, this book will probably become the benchmark for teaching information design. With an appendix, detailed bibliography, and comprehensive index, this is a key resource in the field. It also makes a contribution to general graphic design theory, as its structural classification can be extended to all kinds of visual communication. Summing Up: Essential." - Choice

About the Author

Isabel Meirelles is Associate Professor in Graphic Design at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where she teaches Information Design. For the past 15 years, she has worked in communication design as art director in publication design, as well as in motion and interactive design. Her research revolves around the theoretical and experimental examination of the fundamentals underlying how information is structured, represented, and communicated in different media.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592538061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592538065
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While many of the core design hints can be found elsewhere the case studies set this apart from most other information visualization guidebooks. Well written and organized this will be useful to both graphic design and programmer staff looking to find new and useful ways to present information.
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For a book on design, it sets an atrocious example: one of the most poorly-designed design books I've ever seen, in so many ways.

Start with the absurdly small body type, set on too-long lines, in a sans-serif face -- a sure cure for readability (ironically -- or, rather, incomprehensibly -- the display face _is_ serif).

Add _even_tinier_ type for captions; illustrations that are generally too small to see clearly, but have captions that range from merely unintelligible to cryptic; and a chaotic, inconsistent layout, and you've got a book that is just too difficult to slog through, even if it were worth the slog...

...which, from the one section I managed to hack my way through, it's not. Her taste in "infographics" runs to types that IMO are as illuminating as dead light bulbs, but that's not the problem: between the atrocious design and her turgid prose, it's just too hard for what value there might be in it.

One design gaffe that really stood out (because it _didn't_) occurs on page 18: what kind of [rude epithet deleted] would print a tiny graphic composed of minuscule nodes and very fine lines in lemon yellow ... on white paper?

Ed Tufte's work may be long in the tooth, but to my mind his principles are still relevant -- and his books are paragons of design and production excellence.

My background, BTW, includes over 20 years of type and publication design, including 6 titles under my publishing imprint for which I did everything but write the text, as well as almost 30 years of data viz, particularly hierarchical depictions of large ontologies.
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hard to write a book like this. the list of examples, trolled from a host of antique, old, recent, and contemporary works is quite impressive. Along the way there are some very intelligent references to semiotics, theory, and concepts of what the heck is data visualization-- though it doesn't get in too deep. It if has a flavor, it is an emphasis on the graphical... there are frequent sidebar comments as to the nature of line drawing and such for visualizing information. Not groundbreaking, but well put together and conceived.
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This book is well organized and easy to navigate, much like the infographics that are shown as examples in the book. The combination of well-written advice on organizing information visually and the wide variety of gorgeous infographics that are shown is very helpful when deciding how to visualize data.
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I bought this for inspiration for making visualizations. It is useful in this regard, but I thought editorial review was a bit over the top, which essentially makes a comparison to Tufte. While I don't think this book is on Tufte's level, it does have some of that feel and it's also Meirelles' first book to my knowledge. It's also very reasonably priced. I'll definitely look to Meirelles' future books for additional purchases.

Recap: perhaps a little oversold in the editorial review, but I think this is a great book to pick up to get inspiration.
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Wonderful visual examples of infomation design and visualization that explain very accessible, well-researched and well-written text. A great book for educators and students.
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Clear, thorough, beautifully designed. This book is indispensable for both the student and the professional. A delight from start to finish.
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This is a book that in some ways lives up to its name in providing guidance and instruction on effective visualizations for an audience of graphic designers and data scientists in the sciences and humanities. Whether by design or coincidence, the author chooses a lot of the same visualizations found in books such as Tufte’s Beautiful Evidence, but the differences are stark when the two books are viewed side-by-side on the same drawings. Both provide gorgeous visuals, and both profess an aim in providing guidance as to best practices. This book, though, reads like a textbook, full of certainties and a focus on technical matters, while Tufte’s work speaks about the political and rhetorical realities behind visualizations, and does so in a wit that is entirely lacking here.

Indeed, it is that difference in intent that seems to mark this book. It is certainly a very competent book in a narrow focus. It provides technical principles by which the designer of infographics can design for the color-blind, or show sufficient contrast or gradation in color scheme to give graphics that are rich in narrative value. It provides extensive case studies in graphics divided by category, starting from hierarchical drawings to tree relationships, networks to show relational structures, timelines and flows to show temporal structures, maps to show spatial structures, drawings that show spatio-temporal structures that combine space and time, and then a few types of graphics that show word structures. Someone who reads this book well will be able to master the technical details how to make good visual graphics, and there is some criticism made as far as those graphics that fail from a technical standpoint by having dots too large or too small to see the patterns in the data.
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