Visual Explanations by Edward R. Tufte

Edward Tufte was a byword among the publishing professionals I worked with in 2004–2008. If you had anything whatsoever to do with the design or illustration of serious books, you had at least one of his four giant tomes on your shelf, if not all of them:

  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
  • Envisioning Information
  • Visual Explanations
  • Beautiful Evidence

Visual Explanations is the only one that’s made it onto my shelves so far, but at least now I’ve read it. Now I know what all the fuss is about.

Tufte’s lovely, informative book shows readers how data has been displayed throughout history in a variety of fields and how it is clarified or obscured by the manner in which it is displayed. He shows you illustrations of magic tricks and data from the Challenger disaster as well as 17th century book frontispieces; snapshots from computer interfaces as well as images from works of art history and natural history.

When and Why I Read Visual Explanations

On the to-read list since June 2012. Ties in with The Back of the Napkin because it’s about visual thinking.

Genre: non-fiction (information design)
Date started / date finished:  30-Mar-17 to 08-Apr-17
Length: 151 pages
ISBN: 0961392126 (hardcover)
Originally published in: 1997
Amazon link: Visual Explanations