Dona M. Wong – WSJ Guide to Information Graphics

Why did I choose to read the book?

On my job as strategy and sales controller, I created a lot of reports and visualized lots of data, especially when I first created our controlling cockpit. Since its inception, it’s design always bugged me. Concept and information were well thought through, but if I had the chance to redo, I would like to do it differently. But how exactly? How do I make the graphs easier to understand? How do I get the point across, in a better, more self explanatory way? These questions fueled my desire to learn more, hence, the need to read up.

What is it about?

The sub-title pretty much explains it all: “The dos and don’ts of presenting data, facts, and figures”. The book includes examples of how to visualize data, what colours to use, how to stylize text via fonts and what to avoid. It shows common design mistakes and how to avoid them, while also showing haw to visualize different kinds of data properly.

How did I like the book?

Very informative and does what it promises quite well. After just a couple of pages, some pages about the usage of colour to be precise, I already found a lot of what I was looking for. I did not expect colour, especially its sparse use (less is more), to make that much of a difference in reporting and data visualization. Overall this book is great, what I missed though was some kind of narrative or course, which I though the word guide implied. To me, this is not a book to read from start to finish, but a nice book for quick reference, and as a reference book, it’s perfect.