SynopsisThe 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, electrocardiographs, 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.
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.