Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beautiful Evidence

by Drew Martin
I mentioned Edward Tufte two posts ago and then realized I have never written about him. Tufte is a statistician and professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University. He is the guru of information design and visualization. He has been called the Leonardo da Vinci of data and the Galileo of graphics I went to one of his seminars about eight years ago and was very impressed. Not only does he pack a venue like a true rock star but he was really into it the whole time. At the lunch break he signed books and had one-on-one conversations with members of the audience. I was working on my thesis at the time, about the relationship of image and text, and he was very attentive and helpful. His books include The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative and Beautiful Evidence. They are all must-reads for designers. "We care about beauty, but beauty is the by-product, elegance is the by-product, of truth and goodness. That’s a bit grand, but these are the ideas I try to deal with in Beautiful Evidence." Click here to see a bit of Tufte's presentation on Beautiful Evidence.