Weekly reading: Chap.12 of The Truthful Art and intro, Chap.1 of The Functional Art

This week I read the final chapter of Truthful Art and the beginning part of Functional Art, which seems like a continuation section of the former; so there is no difficult to switch one to the other.

Chapter 12 introduces a great deal of outstanding visualization producers including their websites and stunning works, which could be good learning sources for rookie man. There are the dos and don’ts before we enjoy the festival. First, “designing the visualization to the untrained eye.” That is, our work should face the general public. It doesn’t mean to make it unprofessional but a readable one for people who complete K-12 education (not serious, just refers to the basic comprehension). There might be a misconception for archiving the first goal that “visualization should be understood in the blink of an eye”; so, the second tip is that sometimes we don’t need to abandon the “complicated” plots but apply annotations or offer explanations (e.g. “how to read it”), which is quite helpful with fun of exploring. 

Next, enjoy the big visual feast. Inspiring new applications from New York Time, Washington Post, Boston Globe, etc. give a sense of rational and logics in their stories. The one impressed me most is the “endangered species” of Anna Flagg, which is simple, clear with elegant arrangement. Colored with only grey and red, Anna classifies endangered species according to the “phylum-class-order-family-genus-species” order in one length, make the sense of warning. Although it takes some efforts to figure out how to read it, I really enjoy the interactivity. One thing is that there might be multiple good ways to illustrate the same topic. Like the Vaccine Graphic, original authors emphasize the theme by heat map which might be more favored by people sensitive to color; while the mathematician change it into a time-series chart, which could service for someone prefer geometry. 

The Artistic Fringes is an interesting part, as we seen many wonderful works jumping over the formula. Just keep this in mind: “you cannot think out of box” if you don’t master what “inside of the box”.

Then we go The Functional Art. As we’ve learned the difference between “infographics” and “visualization”, introduction gives a more detailed explanation--think of a scale, on side is infographics, on the other is visualization, they are two things but “exist on continuum”, the tilt depends on the “weight” of things you put.

Chapter one provides a process of cognition of our brain, which is core of this chapter. It's no more than a platitude that we live in an era of information exploration. Many of us desperately chasing it collecting useless-or-useful info like hoarders, who, however just feel excited blindly. In fact, we don’t need to be afraid of missing something—what really matter is digging out the meaningful things from sands to serve our aims. 

Therefore, as a tool or specifically, a technology, graphics and visualization not only have the function of keeping/catching attention, but to anticipate this process of cognition and generate order to against the inertia of our brain. 

One more thing I want to show is the color research of breaking bad, which is my best love series ever. Colors are a recurring theme in Breaking Bad. The clothing colors that characters wear represent various themes and their relationships to each other in each scene. The relationships between the central Breaking Bad characters are analogous to the relationships between colors on the red, yellow, and blue painter's color wheel. For example, the color for Walter's alter ego, Heisenberg, which is often green, is created by mixing the colors of his two closest partners, Skyler, who often wears blue, and Jesse, who often wears yellow. Further, Heisenberg is opposed by Hank, who often wears shades of orange, ranging from red to brown, which is located on the opposite side of the color wheel from green. Marie, being the sister of Skyler and wife of Hank, is represented by purple, which sits between blue and red colors on the color wheel. More details are on the websites: http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Colors. It is not totally a visualization in restricted definition, but what I want to expressed is that the efforts and patience the author spent on finding the wonderful story. “Color stands for characteristics”, a cool topic, with abundant evidence.  

Red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors in the painter's color wheel. Violet, orange, and green are the secondary colors.