Data Display Book Reviews

By | October 31, 2016

Back in January I wrote about how organisations are becoming increasingly metrics-driven and the impact that both qualitative and quantitative metrics can have on content. This can be perceived as a ‘dry’ topic but there are number of great books out on the topic of data measurement and display, two of which I have in my collection.

data Dear Data – Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec

This book is extraordinary. I read it from cover to cover the day that I received it. If you have an eye for design and even the teeniest data geek inside you, you will love this book. Each week for a year Giorgia (in the US) and Stefanie (in the UK) collected and measured a particular type of data about their lives, used the data to make a drawing on a postcard-sized sheet of paper and then sent the data to each other … by post, referred to as “slow data transmission”.

Activities and thoughts were translated into hand-drawn visualisations with detailed keys to enable to recipient to decipher that week’s picture. This ‘analogue’ data is not just about using data to become more efficient but also to connect with other people in a more humane manner.

Check out the Dear Data website to see images of the postcards and some more detail on the project.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information – Edward R Tufte

Worth a mention as it was cited by Amazon as one of the” best 100 books of the 20th century” this classic book on statistical graphics, charts and tables is also a delight to read, or rather to dip into and enjoy.

The book covers the theory and practice of the design of data graphics with illustrations of the best, and some of the worst, statistical graphics with detailed analysis of how to display data in detail. This second edition includes colour reproductions of the many graphics of William Playfair.

There’s more information on The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and other books on the Edward Tufte website.

For musings on Measuring Content please read my blog post on the topic.