The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

I’ve recommended several resources on this blog for presentation design (such as Duarte’s Resonate and Reynolds’ Presentation Zen). While these are both fantastic books, neither of them covers the complete scope of visual design best practices.

Suppose you want to include some compelling data in your presentation, such as financial metrics or energy savings data. The statistics themselves may be very compelling, but if they aren’t displayed in a visually captivating manner, the potential persuasive effect may be lost on your prospect.

So how do you determine the best way to display this information? Pick up a copy of Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. This fantastic book covers in great detail the presentation best practices for graphics, charts, and tables. Some of you may already own this book since it’s been around for many years. The fact that it is still a trusted resource today and has withstood the test of time speaks to its quality of information.

Here’s a summary from Amazon Books:

“The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables. Theory and practice in the design of data graphics, 250 illustrations of the best (and a few of the worst) statistical graphics, with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis. Design of the high-resolution displays, small multiples. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ratio. Time-series, relational graphics, data maps, multivariate designs. Detection of graphical deception: design variation vs. data variation. Sources of deception. Aesthetics and data graphical displays.

This is the second edition of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Recently published, this new edition provides excellent color reproductions of the many graphics of William Playfair, adds color to other images, and includes all the changes and corrections accumulated during 17 printings of the first edition.”

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