Resource List: Fundamentals of Information Design

Creative Director and Principal of Catalyst Workshop Inc. and Design Educator Adam Antoszek-Rallo RGD shares a list of essential reading on information design for students and potential students of design. 


Edward Tufte is the definitive guru of information design. His style of writing is different than most fundamental design books, as he looks at historical examples while illustrating the underlying principles in a more narrative style. The principles outlined in these four books are relevant to design as a whole, and highly relevant to user interface design.


1. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition

Edward R. Tufte

This is a must read, a 20th century classic book.

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.


2. Envisioning Information

Edward R. Tufte

If the last book proved worth your while, don’t stop. Here is the 2nd book in this series, another essential classic, even if slightly repetitive.

This book celebrates escapes from the flatlands of both paper and computer screen, showing superb displays of high-dimensional complex data. The most design-oriented of Edward Tufte's books, it shows maps, charts, scientific presentations, diagrams, computer interfaces, statistical graphics and tables, stereo photographs, guidebooks, courtroom exhibits, timetables, use of color, a pop-up, and many other wonderful displays of information.


3. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative

Edward R. Tufte

Did you enjoy the second book? Here is the 3rd book in this series, another essential classic.

This book describes design strategies - the proper arrangement in space and time of images, words, and numbers - for presenting information about motion, process, mechanism, cause, and effect. Examines the logic of depicting quantitative evidence.


4. Beautiful Evidence

Edward R. Tufte

Still want more? The 4th and last written book in this series, another essential classic.

Science and art have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates visual information. Beautiful Evidence is about how seeing turns into showing, how data and evidence turn into explanation. The book identifies excellent and effective methods for showing nearly every kind of information, suggests many new designs (including sparklines), and provides analytical tools for assessing the credibility of evidence presentations (which are seen from both sides: how to produce and how to consume presentations).


Published March 2019