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I had heard of Tufte throughout my schooling in TC. I had seen him quoted
all over the place. His first book, "The Visual Display of Quantitative
Information," was key in the scientific and engineering fields.
When I saw that he was going to be the keynote speaker at the International
STC Conference in Toronto this May, I went to amazon.com and looked at the
reviews and summaries of each of his books.
I bought his second book, "Envisioning Information," because it sounded
like it would apply to more general TC topics. I read the book in two
nights. It was gorgeous, easy-to-read, and the information was both
logical and precise. His chapters "Micro/Macro Readings" and "Layering and
Separation" held the most interest to me.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from page 37 of "Envisioning
Information:" "Detail cumulates into larger coherent
structures......Simplicity of reading derives from the context of detailed
and complex information properly arranged. A most unconventional design
strategy is revealed: to clarify, add detail." One of the best examples
he uses is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC....I'll let that
be a teaser for buying the book. :)
I have many more quotes that I marked in the book that apply directly to
Information Design, not just the design of quantitative information,
although there is a lot of that in the book.
Having read this book I can see clearly why he is seen as a god among TCs.