Information is Beautiful (New Edition)
By David McCandless
Collins (6 Dec 2012)
The more information, the more relevant it becomes to present it in human-digestible form, whence springs
the flood of infographics in your news feed. There are good examples and bad examples of data visualization, and McCandless’ graphics are among the cleanest, neatest and well-designed ones that I’ve come across. McCandless describes himself as a “data journalist” and “information designer” and with that fills in a niche in the economic ecosystem that isn’t presently populated by many.
The book is a print-version of examples from his website. It’s not the kind of book you read front to back, but one that you browse through for the sake of curiosity, for distraction, or in search of a conversation topic. It does this job quite well; it also looks good, feels nice and is interesting. Some of the graphics in the book are however quite useless or seem to be based on data, or interpretation of data, that I find questionable. This is to say, the emphasis of these graphics is on design, not on science.
I got this book as a gift and spent a cozy afternoon with it on the couch, something I haven’t yet managed to achieve with digital media. (Not to mention that I’d rather have the kids wreck a book than a screen, should I fall asleep over it.) I’m more interested in the science of information than the design of information, and from the scientific side the graphics leave wanting. But they’re an interesting reflection on contemporary thought and I’d say the book is is well worth the price.