Sunday, September 28, 2014

A truthful art

(Warning: Take this post with a grain of salt, as plans may change a bit in the future.)

This semester I'm giving a series of lectures and keynote talks that summarize the first 50+ pages of the book that I'm currently writing, and that will be in the market fifteen months from now or so. At Tapestry I announced that the title would be The Insightful Art, but it's likely that it'll be The Truthful Art instead.

The reason is related to the list of five features of great visualizations that I was originally planning to use as sections of the book: Truthful, functional, beautiful, insightful, and enlightening. To learn more about them, and to get a glimpse of what I've written so far, read this summary of my recent talk at ONA.

After getting 70+ pages done, I discovered that if I addressed all those features in a single book, it'd be a massive volume. Therefore, it's very likely that The Truthful Art will cover these:

1. Foundations: A short explanation of the five features.

2. Truthful: Intro to scientific methods, and basic stats and numeracy for graphic designers and journalists. Also, why journalists should keep embracing the word “objectivity” (after understanding what it really means), and why we should stop being afraid of the word “truth”.

3. Functional: Principles of chart design, and an intro to thematic cartography.

4. Practice: Advice on building visualizations and infographics: Design, composition, the annotation-storytelling continuum, etc.

5. Profiles: 10 or 12 interviews with leaders in the field —Periscopic's Kim Rees and Dino Citraro, Accurat's Giorgia Lupi and Gabriele Rossi, Jer Thorp, Jen Christiansen, Santiago Ortiz, and others that I'll announce in the future.

...While The Insightful Art—which would be a third part in the series— will likely cover the other three features in much more detail. I've already registered thetruthfulart.com and theinsightfulart.com. For now, both are redirected to this website.

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