Tag Archives: Eward Tufte

Data Display

“Above all else show the data.”

Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Data is the most important element in information design. When designing an infographic, the key element is to display the data or information in the most efficient manner for the viewer to clearly interpret and understand the contents.


In his book Beautuful Evidence, Tufte shows the importance of displaying the data correctly without interfering the visual pattern and most importantly not omitting any information. Three charts are shown above. The original chart was taken from the classic book The Element of Graphing Data by William Cleveland. The first graph shows the data points with their respective label. The trend in the data is interfered by the label which is not correct. In the second graph, all the labels have been removed and the relation between the point can be interpreted but cannot be identified which is also wrong. In the third graph colour of the data point has been changed to red and the label is written with smaller type. In this graph the relationship between the points can be easily interpreted together with their label without sacrificing any element.


Tufte, Edward (2006) Beautiful Evidence, Connecticut: Graphics Press LLC.

Tufte, Edward (2001) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Connecticut: Graphics Press LLC.

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Annotated Bibliography – Information Design

Here are some canonical texts and articles that I have included for my SAT1 study related to information design. The have helped me to deepen my knowledge in information design and on pictograms.

Tufte, Edward (2007) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Connecticut: Graphics press.

This book concerns the visual display of statistical information. It contains theory, practice and in depth analysis to achieve precise, effective and quick analysis supported with numerous illustrations showing the best and few worst statistical graphics. I am interested in the part where the author explains on the maximization of data density with justification and showing the end points of data range. Edward Tufte is a statistician and professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University. He is noted for his writings on information design and as a pioneer in the field of data visualization. He has written other influential texts such as envisioning information, beautiful evidence among others.

Patton, Phil (2009) ‘Neurath, Bliss and the language of the pictogram,’ AIGA, http://www.aiga.org/neurath-bliss-and-the-language-of-the-pictogram/ (visited 18/10/2012)

Phil Patton explains in this article how Neurath and Bliss use isotypes to achieve a picture language system to overcome the language barrier. Neurath is known as the forefather of pictograms which are commonly used in airports and other public places. He is also known for a pedagogical museum in Vienna by using pictorial charts and his simplified graphic style showing social and economic trends. Bliss has the same ambition as Neurath but developed grammar which can produces sentences. This method of communication without using words can be applied in many other fields. Phil Patton has written many books on the automotive industry and he also teaches the MFA design criticism.

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