Finding Meaning—and Relationships—in Abstraction

Finding Meaning—and Relationships—in Abstraction

Choosing what information to leave out can be harder — and more important — than choosing what to include. Restraint directs people to meaning, while excess information only clouds the focus. This rule applies as much in data visualization as it does in art.

In Visual Explanations, Edward Tufte elegantly likens the trajectory of data visualization and art, from representational to abstract, by discussing the development of maps:

“To go from maps of existing scenery to graphs of newly measured and collated data was an enormous conceptual step. Embodied in the very first maps were all the ideas necessary for making statistical graphics – quantified measures of locations of nouns in two-dimensional space – and yet it took 5,000 years to change the name of the coordinates from west-east and north-south to empirically measured variables X and Y. The even longer history of art took a similar course: The naturalistic coordinate... keep reading

Restaurants Run on Tips

Americans love to eat out. But how do they feel about tipping? The tipping culture in the United States has always been somewhat confusing to foreigners, especially Europeans who are used to paying the bill and perhaps leaving a few cents extra to round it up. But here, wait staff at restaurants (along with... keep reading

Love, Sex, and Infographics

With text messaging, social networks, and compatibility algorithms complicating the already intimidating (and sometimes downright frightening) world of love and sex, you may be feeling like you need a little guidance. Infographics to the rescue! Here are some useful and enlightening love and sex visualizations for 21st century romantics. Should I Text Him? You... keep reading