I am very excited to announce that my new book “History of Information Graphics” is now available in Europe and the Americas, and should arrive in other regions of the world soon. This project is very dear to my heart, as I have been working on it for five years. It presents a massive collection of historical infographics, taking us on an intense journey from the early European Middle Ages all the way up to our recent past. The collection presents works from various scholarly and media contexts – both well known masterworks, but also smaller, unknown or awkward pieces.
What becomes clear from this overview is first of all that the method of encoding information visually has supported the creation of knowledge for many centuries already. Secondly, sifting through the old works, we instantly understand how infographics and data visualisation are not this simple tool for all kinds of uses that many people think it is. For infographics and visualizations to make an impact, we need well-experienced designers and editors, and we need a critical audience who is ready and capable of reading and de-coding the visual information.
I am thankful to have had four recognized co-authors for this book: David Rumsey (an American collector of historical cartography), Michael Friendly (a researcher specializing in the history of data visualisation), Michael Stoll (a German collector of historical infographics), and Scott Klein, who collects historical newspaper graphics, have each contributed a chapter of their own. Thank you!
I have compiled a catalog of all statistical visualizations by Charles-Joseph Minard (1781-1870), who is considered one of the most important forefathers of information visualization and statistical graphics. His map of Napoleon’s Russian campaign has been heralded as “probably one of the best statistical graphics ever drawn”. The book will follow the evolution of his oeuvre and feature many hidden gems from the collection of the École nationale des ponts et chaussées, an engineering college in Paris to which Minard had lifelong close relations. The book was released by Princeton Architectural Press in the fall 2018.
In this book, we explored the potential of infographics to explain difficult issues, and the possibility of weaving a larger narrative from a selection of works. Most of the material came from the realm of journalism, and we put together a kind of world atlas. The information given in all these graphics is used to create a larger panorama of our world today.
Also, we enhanced the collection by including historical examples, giving a perspective of how explanatory graphics have been used in earlier times. Apart from numerous reviews in blogs and in the media, the book was featured on Monocle24’s show Section D.
In 2012, I have published „Information Graphics“, a comprehensive compilation of work from the fields of data visualisation and information graphics, in collaboration with Julius Wiedemann at Taschen. The book looks at info graphics and data visualisation as a mode of communication that is used in different worlds: in education or entertainment, in science and journalism etc. We chose works from many different fields, all very diverse in their complexity and in their general “tone”. We also featured works in which people used diagrams to tell something about their personal lives.
Thankfully, we have received numerous nice reviews in various media and blogs from around the world. Here’s a tiny selection: The Guardian // El Pais Blog (Spanish) // Deutschlandradio Kultur (German) // It’s nice that // Brain Pickings.