Edward Tufte and His Merry Band of Designers


In case you missed it–because somehow we did–NY Mag has a beautifully-written story about Edward Tufte, currently on the road with his touring Presenting Data and Information courses. The best part is when writer Christopher Bonanos describes the design-y folks who flock around him post-presentation, and that’s because, well, they’re so you:

And who are these fans who won’t leave? The majority are male, and wearing expensive rimless eyeglasses. Many are Web designers, creative directors, art directors, editors, architects. They come in knowing Tufte’s obsessions and coinages: Content-light splashy graphics, or “chartjunk,” are bad. Little repeated graphics displaying variations, or “small multiples,” are good. Microsoft’s PowerPoint software is an all-conquering monster of crumminess, a threat to life as we know it. Most of all, if you are making a presentation, you can probably say everything you need to on a single folded sheet of eleven-by-seventeen copy paper, and you ought to. Pretty much anyone who writes or presents can learn from Tufte, and those who have studied his work often speak of him as a kind of prophet. The iPhone is going to be the most talked-about object in America later this month, and the endless praise of Apple’s pared-down aesthetic is, in a way, his triumph.