Design Influences – Edward Tufte

poster_cyclogram_big.jpgEdward Tufte is a kind of genius at telling stories with pictures. As designers we have a lot to learn from his succinct, clear view on how information is transferred. Tufte is not only an idol for his own translation of 4d ideas into 2d space, but his perception of the importance of other historical work he finds through his research.

Tufte, with his genius ideas on conveying motion through still frames, his thoughts on comparing similar items, and his thoughts on whitespace, can teach even non-designers something. In business our primary goal is to communicate accurately, and Tufte has dedicated his career to understanding how information is understood by its viewers.


His ideas translate to every part of graphic design, and every part of business. After-all, we are all trying to tell a visual story, and trying to get the message across accurately.

Tufte quotes:

“The minimum we should hope for with any display technology is that it should do no harm.”

“If your words aren’t truthful, the finest optically letter-spaced typography won’t help, and if your images aren’t on point, making them dance in color in three dimensions won’t help.”

“Quoting British typographer Eric Gill: ‘If you look after truth and goodness, beauty looks after herself.'”

More on Tufte:

Official site

Edward Tufte on the user interface of some Sun software: via kottke

Tufte recap from 37 Signals

Wikipedia entry

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