- ASIN: B009GSTAHQ
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,344,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte Hardcover – 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
Tufte presents a collection of some the best examples of information design ever invented, and some of the worst examples. And then he goes into the underlying principles that make the great ones sing out.
This book will be really helpful to any web page designer, UI designers, statisticians, cartographers, scientists, or anyone concerned with presenting dense information in a clear way.
There is a chapter on presenting multiple dimensional data on a flat, 2D paper that all by itself is worth the price of the book. Then there's the chapter on "Small Multiples" which presents wonderful examples of how to show patterns and changes. But then there's the chapter on layering of information, so the key pieces of data appear first, and the less relevant ones reveal themselves later. And on and on and on. Its just a great book.
To add to it, Tufte is obsessed with quality like nobody else I can think of in the book business. Its printed on 100% rag paper using real lead type because he thinks that all other methods are inferior. Which means the book is costly to make, but its of heirloom quality.
This book is like the poetry of visualizations; you will need to supplement it with books that are the prose of visualizations - see suggestions at the end of the review.
Why 3 Stars???
I initially gave this four stars, but then changed it to three stars. This may seem harsh, but hear me out. There is lots that is good in the book. However, this book's focus is more on cartography and maps. And this is where it falls short. It does not address the issue of map based visualizations in any sort of depth. Not much space is devoted to the different types of map based visualizations - dot plots, qualitative and quantitative choropleths (color patches), heatmaps, proportional bars, 3D maps, maps with variable sized markers, isopleths, flow maps, dot-location maps, graduated symbol maps, and much, much, more. The other reason for deducting two stars is the fact that this book, in 2009, does read a bit dated. It is a beautifully laid out book, that almost falls into the coffee-table book category, but looking beyond that, the material does show its age. 10 or 15 years ago the rating would have been 4 or 5 stars. Perhaps unfair on my part...
On the topic of spatial maps, Tufte highlights a problem that may emerge with conventional choropleths (blot maps): "(they)... paint over areas formed by given geographic or political boundaries ...Read more ›
This is not a "how to" book, but rather a group of inspiring examples showing any would be information designer the concepts behind the execution of these superb examples.The concepts are painstakingly argued and illustrated. Tufte is obsessed with quality - the book is printed on 100% rag paper using old fashioned lead type because he believes this yields the highest quality results. One of the best books I have ever read when it comes to visual design!
For instance, in his chapter "Layering and Separation," Tufte dissects the problems with array of marshaling signals then reworks the presentation and provides a step-by-step explanation of his process. His coining of the wonderful notion of an "information prison" shows that his cleverness extends from the visual to the written.
As Tufte writes in his introduction, "The principles of information design are universal-like mathematics-and are not tied to unique features of a particular language or culture." He proves this point amply by drawing on myriad sources and examples.
His comments and insights of the power of color are especially enlightening, and if you have ever been subjected to a particularly hideous PowerPoint slide show where the presenter got more than a bit carried away with the technology, you will be agreeing more than disagreeing with the ideas here.
Finally, I acknowledge there is bound to be some sticker shock associated with Edward Tufte's books. But if you consider the amount and quality of color (which requires special press runs), the quality of the paper, the amount of press time (Tufte oversees and approves the printing), and the vast scope of timeless information contained in each book, then these books are a deal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting walk through different types of graphics. From my perspective - the aesthetic part is not always clear for me - but you can't deny the infographics are really... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Agata
This book's content is challenging and Tufte's prose is difficult to understand at times. The content is very interesting and many examples are provided to compliment the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Not for the faint hearted. This compex examination of the power of visual representation exhausts the mind with discoveries.Published 1 month ago by Bookslut
The first of several excellent books on the subject. His passion is in every drop of ink on these pages. Get'em all - I did.Published 11 months ago by R. S. Lloyd
I enjoyed the first of this series - but felt the second two were dragging out the same themes and had lots of filler. Still look nice on the coffee table thoughPublished 12 months ago by Mr. S. Devlin