Pub. Date:
Graphics Press
Envisioning Information

Envisioning Information

by Edward R. TufteEdward R. Tufte


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Edward Tufte's new book, Envisioning Information, is a stunning display of the classics of information design, combined with close analysis of design strategies that produce excellence in information displays. Six-color printing is used throughout, and, for the chapter on color and information, twelve-color printing. Photography, color reproduction techniques, typography, paper, printing, and binding, are all of the highest quality.

Envisioning Information shows maps, charts, scientific visualizations, diagrams, statistical graphics and tables, stereo photographs, guidebooks, courtroom exhibits, computer screens, timetables, a pop-up, and many other wonderful displays of information. The book, with more than 400 illustrations, provides practical advice about how to explain complex material by visual means, and uses extraordinary examples to illustrate the fundamental principles of information display. Envisioning Information deals with all types of information displays, covering a far broader scope of material than Tufte's classic book on statistical graphics, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780961392116
Publisher: Graphics Press
Publication date: 05/01/1990
Pages: 126
Sales rank: 179,830
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 10.81(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

Edward Tufte teaches statistics, graphic design, and political economy at Yale University. His books include The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Political Control of the Economy, Data Analysis for Politics and Policy, and Size and Democracy (with Robert A. Dohl). He has prepared evidence for several jury trials, and has worked on information design and statistical matters for IBM, The New Yourk Times, Newsweek, Hewlett-Packard, CBS, NBC, the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, International Paper, and New Jersey Transit. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. He founded Graphics Press in 1983.

Table of Contents

Escaping Flatland ..... 12
Micro/Macro Readings ..... 37
Layering and Separation ..... 53
Small Multiples ..... 67
Color and Information ..... 81
Narratives of Space and Time ..... 97
Epilogue ..... 121

What People are Saying About This

Rudolf Arnheim

A remarkable range of examples for the idea of visual thinking. A real treat for all who reason and learn by means of images.

Denise Scott Brown & Robert Venturi

An incredibly beautiful, true, refined and luscious book.


The world is complex, dynamic, multidimensional; the paper is static, flat. How are we to represent the rich visual world of experience and measurement on mere flatland?

This book celebrates escapes from flatland, rendering several hundred superb displays of complex data. Revealed here are design strategies for enhancing the dimensionality and density of portrayals of information techniques exemplified in maps, the manuscripts of Galileo, timetables, notation describing dance movements, aerial photographs, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, electrocardiograms, drawings of Calder and Klee, computer visualizations, and a textbook of Euclid's geometry.

Our investigation yields general principles that have specific visual consequences, governing the design, editing, analysis, and critique of data representations. These principles help to identify and to explain design excellence--why some displays are better than others.

Charts, diagrams, graphs, tables, guides, instructions, directories, and maps comprise an enormous accumulation of material. Once described by Philip Morrison as "cognitive art," it embodies tens of trillions of images created and multiplied the world over every year. Despite the beauty and utility of the best work, design of information has engaged little critical or aesthetic notice: there is no Museum of Cognitive Art. This book could serve as a partial catalog for such a collection. Like my previous study, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, which derives theoretical counsel from the classics of statistical graphics, this book arrays exemplary designs--this time over a broader spectrum, for all types of information.

To envisioninformation--and what bright and splendid visions can result--is to work at the intersection of image, word, number, art. The instruments are those of writing and typography, of managing large data sets and statistical analysis, of line and layout and color. And the standards of quality are those derived from visual principles that tell us how to put the right mark in the right place.

Finally, in reading the words and drawings, note that:

Many of the illustrations have been edited and redrawn (as indicated in the citations) in order to repair battered originals, to make new color separations, and to improve the design. Primary sources--the themes for my variations--are always noted.

The illustrations repay careful study. They are treasures, complex and witty, rich with meaning. The text, I do hope, is of similar character, with every word meant to count; all in all, the reader should proceed most slowly through these bountiful and condensed pages.

The principles of Information design are universal-like mathematics and are not tied to unique features of a particular language or culture. Consequently, our examples are widely distributed in space and time: illustrations come from 17 countries and 7 centuries, and, for that matter, 3 planets and 1 star.

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