Book: Data flow

Klanten, R. (2008) Data flow: visualising information in graphic design. Berlin: Gestalten Verlag.

“Datasphere: The circle is the first, perfect shape. The equistant arranged of the outer points from the centre, defining and ideal, are impossible to acheive by human hand. The space speaks of potential – the tension between what is achieved and what could be achieved. From the circle, we derive ideals and focus, both the halo of saints and the cross- haired targets in gun sights.

Datanets: When individual data points develop tension and connection with each other, the resulting structure becomes an entitiy in its own right – the network. It draws life essentially from connnection and connectedness, and it is these qualities that are directed explicitly by the designer to show cause, context, or collaboration.

Datascape: The origins of the word ‘landscape’ are ambiguous. Its roots derive either from a combination of ‘land’ and the Dutch word for ‘ship’ or the German verb ‘schaffen’ – to create. In datascapes, both meanings suggest the potency and responsibility of the designer in guiding the viewer through a complex sea of meaning. Elevating the reader from ‘Flatland” – the reduced, lessened experience of reality that results from subjecting real experience to two dimensional expression – they create a journey of context and interaction. Perspective is blended with graphic frameworks to bring depth and meaning to the expression of data.

Datanoid: Retailers find that by placing mirrors in the window, passers – by slow down and take more time to look at the merchandise. As social animals, we are fascinated by our own reflections. We seek the bonds of unity and distinction in the images of other, as learning is driven primarily by emotional relevance.

Datalogy: Designers can access the entire bandwidth of human perception by investigating data with weight, space, and texture. In doing so, they provide sensual experiences of communication, delicously revealing the richness of complex datasets, so full of meaning and potential interpretations. This is the physical interface of analogy, well suited to continuous and graduated sensations we derive from our immediate environment.

Datablock: The implied certainty and substand of rectangular destiny make bar charts and tables a staple of business presentations. The defined borders, clear order, and straight forward comparability of data arranged as blocks complement the power structures implied by using Microsoft Powerpoint. Those running the seminar are assured that the conversation will proceed within clear constraints. No wonder people refer to a socially inept person as a square”

Review of book: This book categorised the different types of infographs and defined them. I noticed there was the category of the use of circles from looking through many examples in magazines, on the internet and in books but didn’t know there were were other categories and that there were particular terms for them. The contents of the book was visually appealing with big clear pictures of infographic examples, there was a double page spread that divided and introduced a new chapter – the title on the left page and a small introduction on the right page. After the chapter intro, there was a page of information about the type of infographic.

My interpretation/ simplified summary of the categories are as following: datasphere features circles, datanets features lines that link to different points making a relation, datascape focuses on positioning and laying things out for a meaning (where distance is a meaning), datanoid plays with the reader’s emotion, datalogy is a sensual experience (physical interpretation), datablocks where things are in units/ blocks.

I like that their contents page is an infographic too in that the pages are stems of the circle which makes them related and symbolise they are part of a whole represented by the circle.  Also an interesting idea in making the brochure as a three dimensional infographic where it can be interacted and viewed on a large scale.


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