The Captain's Picks: Edward Tufte's 'Envisioning Information' (1990)

For those of you who have followed the Captain Dash story since the beginning, you will know that we always give credit to mentors and people who influence us in offering better Analytics solutions to our customers. In this blog post, we are going to give you, our followers, a brief review of one book that has had a big influence on us over the years.

Nowadays, given the massive shift to devices and technological revolution, we hear less and less about how people use books as points of reference. Here at Captain Dash HQ, we have an abundance of devices, however, there are still some books lying around for our Captains to try and get some inspiration. One book in particular lying around is Edward Tufte's 'Envisioning Information.' This book covers a wide range of topics, and puts statistical graphics into a wider context of design. The book splits into 6 sections:

1) Escaping Flatland - an introduction into the problem of displaying three (or more) dimensions on a two-dimensional surface;

2) Micro/Macro Readings - the tension between providing both a general overview and specific details;

3) Layering and Separation-the visual stratification of various aspects of data;

4) Small Multiples - the use of repeated images to show options or sequences;

5) Color and Information - the effect of color on design;

6) Narratives of Space and Time - the problems in portraying time, the fourth dimension.

Considering how important design has been for us, the way this book is well laid out and concise. It reads well and clear, which is what Tufte advocates throughout. He opines his own views as universal truths rather than just his own two cents. Most of all, we like Tufte's enthusiasm throughout this book. He is unbiased when giving examples, good or bad, which makes it easier to critique. From the bad design analyses, we could figure out what worked for us or not, and gave us less time spent going back to the drawing board.

We highly recommend this book if you take a keen interest in design and look to find more resources than just online, it's always good to come across a blast from the past! The book is available to purchase here on Amazon.


The Captain.