Read: Guide to Information Graphics
Now, that was a waste of money. Don’t get me wrong. Dona Wong’s Guide to Information Graphics is a nicely designed little book with some valuable advice on how to present quantitative date. Why is it a waste of money? It does not go beyond very small data sets and few closely related time series. The data we talk about is so sparse that even the dreaded pie chart cannot distort the perception of the depicted quantities by much and consequently is discussed in this little book.
Though, book may be an overstatement; booklet seems more appropriate. And despite only being about 150 pages ‘thick’ there are some repetitions in its content. This is often a good didactic move. For a reference book not so much.
Since Dona Wong is a student of Edward Tufte it makes sense to rather refer to his work. So instead of looking into Guide to Information Graphics have a look at:
- Envisioning Information
- Visual Explanations
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
- Beautiful Evidence
all by Edward Tufte, and all are on effective and indeed beautiful ways to graphically present data.
Another “Old Master” is William S. Cleveland and his
If you rather need an overview of different types of plots and ways to present data Information Graphics - A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference by Robert L. Harris is the reference you look for.
Not as nicely designed as Dona Wong’s Guide, yet with considerable more content is Naomi Robbins’ Creating More Effective Graphs.
And finally, I rather enjoyed reading Howard Wainer’s Picturing the Uncertain World. Though it is more a historic account of the development of good and effective graphical displays.