Do you ever find yourself sitting in front of a screen, blank page taunting you with all its white space, unable to think of a way to create content that appeals to your audience? Have some boring data you want to make interesting and more engaging?
Well, have no fear! We’ve collected a few top data visualization books to give you inspiration for the new year. These books and their authors can help give you inspiration while you’re on your data viz journey.
1. Data Visualisation: A Handbook for Data Driven Design by Andy Kirk
Andy Kirk has written the ultimate tome on mastering data visualization. The author, founder of the company Visualizing Data ltd, managed to compress a lifetime’s worth of data viz expertise into this beautiful and easy-to-follow book. Not only does Kirk offer chapters and chapters of information and examples, he also includes sections at the end of each chapter to enhance your experience and help give you the upper hand. If you’re looking for a challenge (or are a teacher’s pet nerd), this section is for you, and the book as a whole will help anyone looking to hone their data viz skills or understand the field better.
You can also check out his cool project on “graphically exploring the fluctuations of success across the film careers of a selection of actors and directors” called “Filmography” here
2. The Best American Infographics 2016 by Gareth Cook
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gareth Cook has edited one of the best (!) books of infographics this year, “The Best American Infographics”. This year’s group of infographics can make even the most boring subjects perk right up with colorful, unexpected and unusual visuals. It also takes some very fascinating subjects and brings them to life. Take for example, this visualization of presidential doodles:
This book covers topics including health, the arts, sports, culture, and of course, politics. In one of the most politically charged years to date, Cook included interesting data viz on how people in different occupations vote and who is buying the American elections. Cook brings stunning visuals and expert artistry to this interesting and thought-provoking compilation.
3. Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design by Randy Krum
Krum makes data memorable by fusing together creative design and the science of infographics in this book packed full of gorgeous and useful information. This how-to provides both newbies and seasoned pros with the fundamentals of infographics, including process, software tools, marketing uses, and presentation tips. Krum also goes a bit political in this election year with an interesting, Candyland-like infographic on how a bill becomes a law:
Beyond tools and techniques for creating great infographics and even online data viz marketing (including social media and SEO), Krum really goes in-depth on the science behind data viz. If you’re looking for a comprehensive look on how to make your infographics work for you, this is definitely it.
4. Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations by Scott Berinato
Dataviz is bringing in the big guns: Scott Berinato, Senior Editor at the Harvard Business Review and dataviz maven. In this essential guide to visualizations, Berinato outlines how visualization works and best practices for thinking visually. Although tricks and tips are included, this is more than just a rule book for turning data into visuals. As you would expect from Harvard Business School, this book uses established and leading-edge research to discuss neuroscience and visual perception in relation to dataviz. It also explores the very new field of visualization science, and gives practical and actionable advice.
One of the biggest takeaways? Rather than creating charts right off the bat, Berinato suggests investing time in establishing what your message is, who you’re speaking to, and what the setting is. This equation will set you up for success on your dataviz journey.
5. Visual Miscellaneum: The Bestselling Classic, Revised and Updated: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia by David McCandless
This book is pure fun for the senses. Updated and revised over the years, “The Visual Miscellaneum” provides a “colorful guide to the world’s most consequential trivia”. This reference book gives context to our world and helps us understand all the information thrown at us on a daily basis, including advancements in technology and health breakthroughs. McCandless also adds tons of fun through culturally relevant and interesting data viz, such as hangover remedies from around the world, insurance value based on body parts (don’t show that one to the kids), and a great visual of calories in different foods next to how many calories are burned doing various physical activities (helps us put our New Year’s resolution to lose weight into perspective).
McCandless really understands how to make data relatable, informative, and fun. This essential handbook to visual culture will leave you interested, laughing, and stimulated.
Did you know? Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.
Here at DEEP, we investigate the world of knowledge visualization, so stay up to date with us as we share our findings!
Share your Experience
If you have any data-driven storytelling tricks, tips or ideas of your own that you’d like to share, let us know in the comments section!