May 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Click on the image for a copy of the study.
With its minimalist approach, Edward Tufte’s book “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” changed the way many people view information graphics. Charts should be free of embellishments, or “chart junk,” Tufte said, because they can distort the information and make the charts more difficult to understand.
Not so, according to a study out of the Interaction Lab a the University of Saskatchewan.
The researchers showed test subjects graphics made by Nigel Holmes–whose hallmark style mashes up illustrations and charts–and unembellished versions of the same graphics. The report concludes that readers can understand embellished charts just as easily as unembellished ones. It also found that readers were able to retain the information longer if they viewed the embellished charts, and they simply liked the embellished ones more.
November 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
Otto Neurath, designer and sociologist, made beautiful pictograms that invoked the data he displayed. If his units represented unemployed people, they might take the form of hunched, depressed silhouettes, hands in pockets. Days of travel across the ocean might be expressed as jagged ocean waves.
We often forget that information graphics need not be cold and clinical. The book “Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis” serves as a tonic to that tendency.
The blurb for the book: “Austrian sociologist Otto Neurath was a seminal Modernist figure. Much attention has been given to his achievements in the fields of graphic design and philosophy (Neurath was a member of the Vienna Circle, founder of the Museum of Society and Economy, inventor of the ISOTYPE pictorial system and champion of the Unity of Science movement), yet his involvement with urbanism and architecture has been all but ignored. From 1931 onwards, Neurath collaborated with the International Congress of Modern Architecture and its chief exponents–Cornelis van Eesteren, Sigfried Giedion, Le Corbusier and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy–to develop an international language of urban planning and design. More experimentally, throughout the 1930s a fascination with visual media led to an attempt to franchise the Museum of Society and Economy by establishing international satellite museums. This volume contains a text by curator and writer Nader Vossoughian, which offers a fresh perspective on one of the most versatile intellectuals of the twentieth century.”