The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte

(New York: , 2000), 197

Part I: Graphical Practice

Chatper 1: Graphical Excellence

  • gives examples of great graphs

Chapter 2: Graphical Integrity

  • gives examples of terrible graphs

Follow these principles of graphical integrity:

  • The representation of numbers, as physically measured on the surface of the graphic itself, should be directly proportional to the numerical qualities represented (don't lie)
  • Clear, detailed, and thorough labelling should be used to defeat graphical distortion and ambiguity. Write out explanations of the data on the graphic itself. Lebel important events in the data.
  • Show data variation, not design variation.
  • In time-series displays of money, deflated and standardized units of monetary measurement are nearly always better than nominal units.
  • The number of information-carrying (variable) dimensions depicted should not exceed the number of dimensions in the data.
  • Graphics must not quote data out of context

Part II: Theory of Data Graphics

Chapter 4: Data-Ink

  • Above all else show the data.
  • Maximize the data-ink ratio.
  • Erase non-data-ink.
  • Erase redudant data-ink.
  • Revise and edit.

Chapter 5: Chartjunk (vibrations, grids, ducks)

Avoid all chartjunk including:

  • Vibrations (unnecessary textured filling)
  • Grids (altogether if possible, muted behind the data if needed)
  • Ducks (unnecessary decorative debris)

Chatper 6: Data-Ink Meximization

  • He reviews a number of design principles. I especially like his alternative box-plots which are just the datapoint for mean, and two lines for quartiles.

Chapter 7: Multifunctioning Graphical Elements

Chapter 8: High-Resolution Data Graphics

  • For non-data-ink, less is more
  • For data-ink, less is a bore

He introduces sparklines and gives some great examples.

Chapter 9: Aesthetics and Technique in Data Graphical Design