Visual explanations images and quantities, evidence and narrative

by Edward R. Tufte

Hardcover, 2010




Cheshire, Conn. Graphics Press 2010

User reviews

LibraryThing member craigim
Anyone, in any field, that requires them to convey information to others, should read all of Tufte's books on information design. Book 3, Visual Explanations (how to convey "verbs", companion to "numbers" and "nouns") demonstrates through both good and bad examples, how to distill ideas down to convey the maximum amount of information with the least amount of ink in a manner that not only gets your point across, but does so in a visually pleasing and artistic manner.

Tufte practices what he preaches, too. Unhappy with the way various publishers proposed to print his manuscript, he self-publishes all of his books to incorporate his theories on information design. The result is an incredibly easy to read and understand book with footnotes and diagrams that meld seamlessly with the text.
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LibraryThing member Klatoo
The third of Tufte's series on information display, this book centers on visually explaining things (in Tufte's words, "pictures of verbs".)

Often quoted as indispensable in the field, it doesn't disappoint. The content is, of course, fantastic, but the book reaches much farther beyond. Every page is carefully crafted to provide itself the best example of the explained concepts. The text flows together with the images in a way not seen in any other book (forget computer algorithms to position images, either smart -LaTeX- or bad ones -Word-). Illustrations perfectly integrate into the text and are carefully reproduced without being restricted by page size or text, footnotes are transformed to "sidenotes" so that the flow of reading is not disturbed... every detail is *designed* and *crafted*, unlike so many books on design that break most rules they are themselves advocating.

Each chapter is devoted to a single or a few related ideas, but they are presented and explained using wonderful, memorable, stories. Thus, beatifully illustrated examples replace long academic paragraphs, resulting in vivid descriptions that shall not be forgotten. And although these examples show Tufte's erudition, they are wonderfully presented so that everyone can follow and understand the principles.
The author follows its own recommendations for presenting: go to the specific, then to the general, then back to the specific.

The best comes when a given illustration is redesigned to provide a better explanation of the displayed information. Wow.

A book to remember and re-read from time to time. 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member alspray
The troublesome part of Visual Explanations (and all of Tufte's books really) is that it's so pleasurable you forget that you're supposed to be learning something. As distinct from the other two books in the series, Visual Explanations focuses on the manner in which images can tell a story and thereby render "reading and seeing and thinking identical". The images selected for the book are delightful and engaging - I've never before wanted to hang a data chart on my wall for the sheer artistry of it! Though it should be noted that Tufte has forever dispelled any remaining belief I harbored in magic.

As a series, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information and Visual Explanations largely cover the same material - some illustrations are even discussed in multiple books - and the differences are really a matter of the degree of emphasis. If they weren't all so enchanting my advice would be to just pick one, but... they're just THAT good
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LibraryThing member Murdocke23
A few more great concepts from Tutfe, but some re-hashing of previous info and in high-and-mighty tone. Examples include ones dealing with statistics, instructions and more.
LibraryThing member jamespurcell
Excellent overview of the art of visual explanations
LibraryThing member wfzimmerman
The best book ever written on this subject, and one of the best books ever written, period.
LibraryThing member jasonli
In "Visual Explanations," Tufte walks us through various case studies of visual explanations (charts, graphs, graphics, diagrams and maps). Some of the case studies are about great works, while others are about epic failures. By grouping these examples into themes, Tufte himself explains his principles for analzying and design visual explanations.

Using a series of vivid examples from both history and modern day sources, Tufte brings life to what otherwise sounds like a dry subject. He also writes with discipline, always careful to supplement his theories with examples. Lastly, the hardcover itself is solidly designed; the interplay between the figures and the text is pleasant and easy to read.
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LibraryThing member shdawson
Wow, is this an excellent book. It very much helped my presentation of data skills, and beefed up the Power Point approach as well. I abhor presentations, as the facts are what I am after. The ability to marry up prose with data and present, this is a very important skill for all today. The nicest surprise was the ability to understand how to maximize color in a presentation of information.… (more)
LibraryThing member KirkLowery
An eye-opening read. As a linguistic who deals with databases, this book dramatically improved my writing and design of graphics for publication.
LibraryThing member gbsallery
It's been a while since I read anything by Tufte; luckily, this volume lives up to the fond remembrance I have of his earlier works. As with his other books, this work explores various aspects of the visual display of quantitative (or otherwise factual) infomation. More than a style guide, this book seeks to be an archetypal instance of the qualities praised within it - it succeeds with aplomb, and is invaluable to anyone who cares about honest, high-quality visual work.… (more)
LibraryThing member mykl-s
Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative by Edward R. Tufte (1997)




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