Information is Beautiful

I really enjoyed David McCandless’s talk, even more so the second and third time I watched it. I feel like I picked up a new idea and a different detail each time. I poked around his website and found some pretty interesting images. It was unique and colorful, pretty much what I expected after watching the talk. I’ve come to the conclusion that McCandless is the master of visual rhetoric. He uses images to get his point across without overwhelming the reader. His graphs and charts are easy to read and understand, which is unusual for someone involved in data. That, and the fact that he actually seems to care about the data he is presenting, are one of the things that startled me about the talk.

I love how he finds patterns and connections in the diagram. He has a really unique way of thinking. It took me watching the video a couple of times to really warm up to some of his ideas, such as being a “data detective.” I’ve never been that into visual data, but his talk did show me a new way to look at things.

Data visualization can be directly related to ethos. It is very easy to mislead people with statistics, graphs and charts (as well as maps, which we have already discussed.) There’s really no way to prevent being slightly dishonest when dealing with this kind of visual rhetoric. It can also be related to pathos. McCandless wants to make data more transparent to people, he wants it to be easy to understand. Pathos is your appeal to emotion. If he wasn’t passionate about what he does, why put forth the time and effort? He obviously cares about the public knowing the information they are being presented with. Logos, the appeal to logic, can obviously be related to data visualization. You want your information to flow smoothly and make sense to your reader, or else it isn’t doing any good.

Data visualization is visual rhetoric because it enhances your work and adds something to it. Simple, Visual rhetoric is a form of communication that uses images to create and analyze meaning or to construct an argument. I would definitely say that having date presented visually would only help your argument, as long as it was presented professionally.


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