Functional Art, The: An introduction to information graphics and visualization (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition
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“If graphic designer Nigel Holmes and data visualizer Edward Tufte had a child, his name would be Alberto Cairo. In The Functional Art, accomplished graphics journalist Cairo injects the chaotic world of infographics with a mature, thoughtful, and scientifically grounded perspective that it sorely needs. With extraordinary grace and clarity, Cairo seamlessly unites infographic form and function in a design philosophy that should endure for generations.”
– Stephen Few, author of Show Me the Numbers
“This book is long overdue. Whether you’re just getting started visualizing information or have been doing it all your life, whether you're looking for a basic understanding of visualization or a detailed how-to reference, this is the book you’re looking for. Alberto Cairo, a professional journalist, information designer, and artist, shows how to visualize anything in a simple, straightforward, and intelligent way.”
– Karl Gude, former infographics director at Newsweek and Graphics Editor in Residence at the School of Journalism, Michigan State University
“ The Functional Art is brilliant, didactic, and entertaining. I own dozens of books on visual information, but Cairo’s is already on the shortlist of five that I recommend–along with those by Edward Tufte, Nigel Holmes, and Richard Saul Wurman–to anybody who wishes to have a career in information graphics. Cairo is one of those rare professionals who has been able to combine real-world experience with the academia.”
– Mario Tascón, director of Spanish consulting firm Prodigioso Volcán
"Read It. There is really nothing else to say. If you care about how visualization is used to communicate to people, this is the book for you. If you’re a journalist, you need to read it. If you’re an academic doing visualization research, you really, really need to read it. This is the stuff we’ve been missing in visualization for the last 25 years."
-Robert Kosara, EagerEyes
"If you’re interested to find the right balance between aesthetics and function in the context of data visualization, you cannot avoid Alberto Cairo’s The Functional Art, probably the best data visualization book published in 2012."
- Jorge Camões, www.excelcharts.com
- ASIN : 0321834739
- Publisher : New Riders; 1st edition (August 22, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780321834737
- ISBN-13 : 978-0321834737
- Item Weight : 1.67 pounds
- Dimensions : 7 x 1.05 x 8.95 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #353,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The interviews in the last part gives a wider perspective across leading newsrooms and into the digital realm.
DVD makes for a lecture in your home. Alberto is engaging, and it serves a good second take on the material.
Visualization presents a visual context, and because most people find it easier to establish themselves visually, it has become an important aid in the learning and understanding process. For this reason, there has been a great deal of demand for information visualization professionals, who can process data, and then distill this information into a clear visual/s which engenders understanding for the intelligent layperson.
With all the interest in the field, there have been several different titles which have come out. What makes this title stand out is that the author, Alberto Cairo, focuses especially on the thinking process behind information visualization. For most of his career, he has worked with journalists in the Spanish- and Portuguese speaking world, and emphasizes the importance of putting oneself in the readers' shoes. For instance, does this graph lead to greater understanding, or does it potentially lead to greater confusion? Are circles helpful, or would bars explain the same better?
He tells how most people new to the field jump too soon to the "look and feel" part, without first asking the right questions. In his eyes, people should first ask about what information to display, how people will want to explore the information (especially when it is interactive), THEN discuss the look and feel.
In the US, a lot of data visualization is done for senior management, CEOs and research academics, instead of the general population. This means that often data visualization is misused, with graphics actually obfuscating instead of leading to greater understanding. Alberto Cairo pleads the case for clear data visualization principles which help readers to gain insights in a complicated world.
In the final third of the book, the author includes several interviews with several information visualization practitioners. These are particularly helpful, as they reveal how they attack different challenges in their projects. He includes a wide spectrum of professionals from the Americas and Europe; it is very interesting to see how journalists work with the information visualization professionals in their teams in leading newspapers.
This is an excellent introduction to the field, and it has opened my eyes to the future of this field.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is clearly laid out and very easy to read and understand. Its one of those books that you can delve into when you have 10 minutes to spare.
Cairo takes you through what makes a successful graphic, backing up his arguments with clear examples, both of his own work as well as others. He also goes into the cognitive aspects of our brains, but not in too scientific a way as to put anybody off.
The last part of the book is taken up with interviews conducted by Cairo with 10 designers at the top of their particular fields in information graphics and data visualisations. Full of interesting, colourful examples and a great resource.
I found it to be an excellent overview, a great resource, easily read and full of inspiration, even for someone like me who has been producing graphics for over 30 years. One to keep by your desk. Highly recomended