Cairo: The Truthful Art and The Functional Art

Alberto Cairo is a designer and journalist who has become a visualization educator. He has written some excellent books on visualization. We will use excerpts from his books *The Functional Art" and “The Truthful Art” in class.

The Functional Art Cover
Alberto Cairo’s books “The Functional Art” and “The Truthful Art” art are both excellent visualization books. Cairo is a designer who focuses on journalism visualizations, so his target is more for journalists and creators of “information graphics.” But he has such a keen eye, writes well, and brings enough of the “academic vis” concepts to his work that his books make them really valuable to a wide audience. His writing style – which makes very clear what is his opinions, and what is more factual (unlike, say, Tufte) – is very accessible, and the book is full of nice examples.

His books are open minded (he sees both sides of the various debates), and provide a good balance between the artist/designer prospective, the psychologist perspective, and the Tufte-ist perspective.

I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to learn more about Vis – or even to people who know a lot, and want to see how different perspectives get put together. Unfortunately, the library does not provide these books online. We will provide you with some chapters, but you might want to buy your own copy so you can see more of the book.

We will provide a limited number of chapters of this book to you under academic fair use. These chapters will be provided in Canvas. Please do not share them outside of class as academic fair use is only for required class use. Because of the limitations of academic fair use, we can only provide a portion of the book.

The Truthful Art Cover

In the Spring 2017 version of class, I gave a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the two books. If you want to buy one book, I’d pick “The Truthful Art” ( Amazon link). In fact, if you want to buy one book on visualization, this is my favorite.