Aesthetic Graphs

Two words: aesthetic graphs. Why hasn’t anyone made a business out of this? Build a platform where data visualization is art by default.

Financial trading brokerages already exploit the fact that their charts just look damn cool. This helps with alluring more customers.

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Software like infogram allows you to make airport-whitemom circles. They do not know the way.

The goal is to have a platform where one can easily make this:

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In his 1983 book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte defines ‘graphical displays’ and principles for effective graphical display in the following passage: “Excellence in statistical graphics consists of complex ideas communicated with clarity, precision and efficiency. Graphical displays should:

  • show the data
  • induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production or something else

The graphs of Evangelion would fail. And rightly so. They are not actually meant to be useful. They are like Picasso’s of women: interpretations of a subject matter that may annoy the subject. Or in the venerable tradition of overanalyzing anime, we can say that they are a critique of scientific overcomplicating.

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However, I disagree that the aesthetic is unimportant, or always misleading. One can be both beautiful and intelligent. If we could genetically engineer smart people to look like digital angels, so be it. Life is too short to stare at the offensively dull.

And some of the most acclaimed graphs where artistically sensible.

The true goal of data analysis is to reveal the hidden messages of nature – to surgically wield mathematical tools on numbers. When the message is extracted from her lips, the veil delicately removed, this is beauty.

But such an event deserves to occur in a temple that aspires to be worthy of her soul.

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