Tufte’s Sparklines

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Lately there’s been a lot of talk about Edward Tufte. Who is he? He may be the only designer with a roadie.

If you have yet to read any of his books you will find depth and clarity in his explanations of information design that simplifies complex data systems. Or perhaps you could read his amazing essay on how Microsoft’s powerPoint software is making presenters and audiences cater to the lowest common denominator. Wired has an article on the subject.

sparklines

One of his favourite info graphic devices is Sparklines, which he describes as “Intense, simple word-sized graphics”. He has a section in his latest book “Beautiful Evidence” on the subject. This micro graphic format seems to be spreading across the web quickly with open source solutions that offer simple snippets of code that generate Sparklines.

Here are some:
Javascript generator for Photoshop
http://sparkline.org/
Sparklines for Ruby On Rails

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