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Envisioning Information [Hardcover]

Edward R. Tufte
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mapping at its best Feb. 22 2002
ENVISIONING INFORMATION represents one volume within a set of three. The primary objective of Edward R. Tufte is to demonstrate the importance of graphic illustrations in understanding the world around us.
In this volume, the central focus is to demonstrate how one can use static and a two-dimensional surface (i.e. a piece of paper) to show a world that is complex, dynamic and multidimensional. The illustrations that he selects and his explanation of the impact of the illustrations is nothing less than magnificent. Tufte is brilliant! Unlike the other two volumes, the centerpiece of this work is mapping. He addresses various artistic principles that offer a great clarity in guiding a scholar to reproduce distance and shapes. I draw your attention to page 37. Here, we see a small piece of an "Isometric Map of Midtown Manhattan." The author gives us an opportunity to purchase the entire map. I purchased the map for a close friend who calls Midtown Manhattan "home." It isn't merely a map; it is a beautiful piece of art. According to the author, these mapping principles can be generalized to serve other functions. For example, such techniques can be used to provide dance notations (see page 114-119). That is, Tufte shows us how we can employ illustrations to teach people how to dance.
All of Tufte's three volumes are pieces of artwork. All are awe-inspiring. ENVISIONING INFORMATION is slightly different than the other two volumes. I like to use Tufte's work as an example of how graphics can be employed to illustrate qantitative information to students.
Every academic library should own a copy of these three volumes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars kicking myself in glee Oct. 25 2002
i worked in bookstores for years, i am an avowed bibliophile and here is the one that got away - until now!. yes this is part of a set of three...but you can figure that out yourself. this is an essential edition fo anyone who loves cartography (a la How to Lie with Maps /Monmonier kind of cartography), statistics, art, complexity, symbolism, cognitive science etc - you name it this book has it. It does require that you revel in the concept and manifestation of representation. I believe that it is possibly one of the most beautiful science books around - and it often transcends any definition of a "text" book.
the entire book offers endless brain-fodder for the meaning and impact of the word "vision". The complexity of the subject(s) is given justice in this book - with both beauty and fun!! I was delighted to have been a late comer to this title but now i have to go fully read Tufte's Political Control of the Economy (1980)....if only i had known ten years ago that Tufte was so fantastic, engaging, diverse, and accessible!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Remarkable Dec 18 2001
Edward Tufte sees things most of us do not initially, then manages to render his vision in exquisitely illustrated, well-written texts. He identifies the attributes of effective communication of information and then illustrates what works and why in very understandable terms.
For instance, in his chapter "Layering and Separation," Tufte dissects the problems with array of marshaling signals then reworks the presentation and provides a step-by-step explanation of his process. His coining of the wonderful notion of an "information prison" shows that his cleverness extends from the visual to the written.
As Tufte writes in his introduction, "The principles of information design are universal-like mathematics-and are not tied to unique features of a particular language or culture." He proves this point amply by drawing on myriad sources and examples.
His comments and insights of the power of color are especially enlightening, and if you have ever been subjected to a particularly hideous PowerPoint slide show where the presenter got more than a bit carried away with the technology, you will be agreeing more than disagreeing with the ideas here.
Finally, I acknowledge there is bound to be some sticker shock associated with Edward Tufte's books. But if you consider the amount and quality of color (which requires special press runs), the quality of the paper, the amount of press time (Tufte oversees and approves the printing), and the vast scope of timeless information contained in each book, then these books are a deal.
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This is the second book in Ed Tufte's trilogy on graphical displays. It is a sequel to "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information". In this book Tufte shows how color, multiple pictures from different perspectives, graphs, charts and even newspaper text can be used to convey on a flat piece of paper information for high-dimesional data. Most important is the ability of two-dimensional pictures to display the information of the three dimensional world that the human mind can comprehend through sight. This is the reason for the title to the first chapter "Escaping Flatland".
However, as interesting as the pictures are themselves it is necessary to read the text and look back and forth between pictures to fully appreciate the points of the text. As with his earlier work, Tufte demonstrates the principles of good graphics through effective demonstartaion of ideas conveyed by good and bad examples. The difference is a broader coverage of techniques and greater emphasis on the good examples.
This book is a nice lead in for the third book, "Visual Explanations", which deals with examples where Tufte believes the graphical displays actually lead to good inferences about a problem under study.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Required Lessons in UX Thinking
Worth every penny if you can find it. Easy to understand discussions on designing flat graphics and information in a world of depth and time. Why is it no longer in print?
Published on Sept. 16 2010 by Rick Dolishny
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it again. Then again - you'll catch on.
I'm a big fan of Tufte's work and so was, at first, sort of disappointed the first time through this book. But each time I reread it I find found more and more I can use. Read more
Published on May 22 2001 by Don Hilton
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed
If you're a graphic designer looking for practical content on how to better present your infographics - look elsewhere. The book was filled with beautiful, but useless information. Read more
Published on March 29 2001 by Mike Cobb
3.0 out of 5 stars A very good book. All could be said in 10 pages though
Very well produced and interesting work. However, I don't think it sums up to a book. A profusion of illustrations, though interesting, is at times gratuitous and barely related to... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2001 by John Doe
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
Tufte is a genius, and this, the first of his series (of three), is an exquisite testimony to visual design. Wonderful for brainstorming or just feasting the eyes. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2001 by Kathy E. Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply THE bible for every designer in the information age!!
I wrote the following review here on Amazon back on June 4, 1997. I still stand by this review!
Ed Tufte has created an essential resource for every software designer and... Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2001 by billyjk
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent source of inspiration
This book is a must have for anyone into design. It is very inspiring, and the concept and the thought behind the book could actually lead to creation of good design. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterfully executed volume on information design
This book as a "must-have" for any usability design engineer. While it is not a book that focuses specifically on usability design per se, all of the concepts covered in... Read more
Published on June 3 2000 by Edward Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful book by the hand of Mr. Tufte
In the first book in this series "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" we were introduced to some pretty clever ideas for presenting numbers using different... Read more
Published on May 31 2000 by Thomas Schultz
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