Envisioning information

by Edward R. Tufte

Hardcover, 1990




Cheshire, Conn. (P.O. Box 430, Cheshire 06410) : Graphics Press, c1990.


This book celebrates escapes from the flatlands of both paper and computer screen, showing superb displays of high-dimensional complex data. The most design-oriented of Edward Tufte's books, Envisioning Information shows maps, charts, scientific presentations, diagrams, computer interfaces, statistical graphics and tables, stereo photographs, guidebooks, courtroom exhibits, timetables, use of color, a pop-up, and many other wonderful displays of information. The book provides practical advice about how to explain complex material by visual means, with extraordinary examples to illustrate the fundamental principles of information displays. Topics include escaping flatland, color and information, micro/macro designs, layering and separation, small multiples, and narratives. Winner of 17 awards for design and content. 400 illustrations with exquisite 6- to 12-color printing throughout. Highest quality design and production.… (more)

Media reviews

User reviews

LibraryThing member JBD1
Another very readable, visual, and to-be-absorbed book by Tufte on how to make effective visual displays of information.
LibraryThing member alspray
A must-read for anyone in the field of information design, not to mention a refreshing counterpoint to the PowerPoint credo of our day. Envisioning Information is a visually sumptuous book with page after page of remarkable examples through history of multi-dimensional data adroitly transcribed to the 2D surface (a.k.a. flatland).… (more)
LibraryThing member mykl-s
Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte (1990)
LibraryThing member Murdocke23
My fave of the 'original Tufte trilogy'. Awesome concepts around representing information in clear, truthful, and accurate ways. A lot of focus on map-based graphics, but concepts are applicable to other types as well. Sometimes a bit of high-and-mighty writing, but it's still eye-opening.
LibraryThing member shawnd
This seems a further evolution or departure from his early works. Perhaps necessarily so. Unlike his seminal work being philosophical and symbolic; this one is instructional and didactic. The book has a ton of eye candy that is while not amazing is certainly striking and memorable. The book is cleverly split into only six main segments/themes. Within each there's about 2-3 points, so laconic overall. However each of the points/truths is non intuitive and valuable. All the pics/charts/visuals go to back these up.… (more)
LibraryThing member jamespurcell
Splendid spectrum of examples for visual display
LibraryThing member muir
Beautiful book, important message.
LibraryThing member mdubois
Super interesting info on data presentation written in an obtuse and boring way...
LibraryThing member Christina_E_Mitchell
I began reading Tuft's graphic information series in an attempt to thwart and destroy the boring academic PowerPoint. For those not aware, academic and/or scholarly PowerPoints, particularly those used to present research at conferences, are really, really, really...really...bad. Scholars are enamored with data and try to cram as much of it onto one slide as possible, literally presenting their audience with chapters of words on one slide (that no audience member can read and still reasonably listen to the presenter), APA-formatted tables (that no audience member can read because the data is too small), and lines of equations (that no audience member can decipher, but I'm certain the scholar believes looks impressive). Academic PowerPoints are distracting at their best, baffling at their worst. Tuft's series gives easy to understand textual and visual explanations on how to achieve good visual data. I do not believe it is necessary for academicians and scholars to become graphic artists; however, I believe it is necessary to learn how to display data in a manner that gets to the point of research and research outcomes with the impact intended.


Books in the series:

Tufts, E. R. (1990). Envisioning information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Tufts, E. R. (1997). Visual explanations: Images and quantities, evidence and narrative. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Tufts, E. R. (2001). The visual display of quantitative information (2nd Ed.). Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.
… (more)
LibraryThing member haloedrain
This is a much better book than the first one, there's a lot more substance and less polemic. However, it's not very well written and his main points get lost in the long series of examples, so it takes some work to get that substance out of it.
LibraryThing member hcubic
This is the third volume in a series by Edward Tufte (the others are "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", and "Envisioning Information"). All three are beautifully crafted books that are a delight to read and to handle. The most recent one brings the reader's attention to the use of graphics, narrative, and numbers to convey motion, process, mechanism, cause and effect. In order to exemplify his thinking, Tufte uses a very wide range of subjects, from the explanation of magic tricks to the coloring of bathymetric maps. One chapter is devoted almost entirely to an argument that the Shuttle Challenger disaster could have been avoided, had the appropriate statistical data about the relationship between o-ring failures and temperature at launch been presented in a clearer fashion. Tufte's design of a computer kiosk for an art museum contains wisdom that should be useful to anyone constructing Web interfaces.… (more)
LibraryThing member Schopflin
As a non-mathematician with a serious problem with diagrams (like a lot of librarians, I connect much better with lists) this was going to be a challenge for me. But every page was a pleasure. Tuftes believes that complex information can be easily understood if presented in the right way. He applies the same principles to his writing which is clear without being dry. I'm still a long way from feeling comfortable creating anything more complex than a table, but I definitely feel I've made a start (and I'll eliminate those gridlines!).… (more)


Local notes

signed by author


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