Graphics, charts, and maps aren’t just tools to be seen, but to be read and scrutinized. The first goal of an infographic is not to be beautiful just for the sake of eye appeal, but, above all, to be understandable first, and beautiful after that; or to be beautiful thanks to its exquisite functionality. [...] As Ben Shneiderman wrote once, “The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures.” Images are the vocabulary of a language. They are means, not ends. You will never hear a writing journalist say that her goal is to strive for a good literary style by using elegant sentences and sophisticated structures. Her style is just a tool to facilitate comprehension and to wake up emotions in readers’ minds so they’ll absorb difficult ideas with ease. Aesthetics do matter, but aesthetics without a solid backbone made of good content is just artifice. [...] Thinking of graphics as art leads many to put bells and whistles over substance and to confound infographics with mere illustrations.

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A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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