Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hey dude, cool infograph

Edward Tufte, a leading authority on the display of quantitative information, is very explicit in stating that any graphic elements not in support of content are superfluous. "chart junk" is the term used to describe excessive attention to aesthetics over clearly representing meaningful visual associations between data.

That doesn't leave much room for distinct personal flair. Do you believe, as Tufte does, that "best practice" should be strictly adhered to when it comes to displaying information, or is there some room for more expressive form?

4 comments:

AGallagher said...

I believe that everyone has their own sense of what is right and wrong when it comes to info graphs. It seems to me that Tufte is trying to keep the graphs as strictly legible and minimally interesting. I believe that if you want to have flowers on your graph, you need to make sure that they relate to the content of the graph in some way, but I also believe that there has to be something on the graph that draws the viewer in and demands the attention of its target audience. Legibility is wonderful but it has to be interesting as well (which includes to some point "superfluous" aesthetic ideals.)

Sean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean said...

I do believe in what is stated. any atheistic additions should speak directly to what is trying to be said. The design is a voice and if you add other voices into the work then the message is confused. there is only laziness in creating things that mean nothing to the message being transmitted. Being smart is to find ways to do what you want aesthetically while never diluting what you are projecting to the public.

Dustin Maberry said...

I really think that a good balance is necessary, if a chart/graph/infographic/diagram is too sterile, with little to no expressive form in it's structure, then it is likely that it will be skimmed over, or even not read at all. Expressive form draws the viewer in, and motivates them to read/interpret what you have to say.

You usually can't just say it with numbers... Pictures are pretty too.