The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Graphical elegance is often found in simplicity of design and complexity of data.

Design is choice. The theory of the visual display of quantitative information consists of principles that generate design options and that guide choices among options.

This is one of the best books I have read on the subject of graphs, infographics and displaying data in general. It has a lot of great examples of displaying information in an easy to digest and understand format.

If your job consists of designing graphs and infographics then you should definitely read this book. You will not only be a lot better at your job but you will get some valuable history lessons. Most of the examples in this book are actually history lessons.

One of my favorite examples is the graphic that shows the size of Napoleon’s army during it’s march across Europe. You have to see this, it’s very hard to describe with words.

the size of the german army vs time ww2

There are a lot of examples of how the media can use charts and graphs to manipulate public perception which I found rather fascinating.


The title of this book may not be very inspiring but the content is a true gem.