Mapping Dataviz Books
"Which data visualisation books do you recommend?". I have been asked this question so many times that I ended up creating a map of all dataviz books on my shelf. The result is this colourful series of cards.
It's probably fair to say that I'm a little obsessed with books on data visualisation. I've got three shelves full of them and keep adding new ones almost every week! Because of that, people in the dataviz community regularly ask me which books I'd recommend. For months now, I've had the idea to illustrate my recommendations. I started out by creating a simple scatter plot with author names and book titles. Then, I iterated on the design of those names and titles for hours —at first there were rectangles, then circles, then only text and, finally, circles again. The axes values also changed quite a bit. Initially, I had placed instructional vs. inspirational on one axis, and rules-based vs. creative on the other. After some thinking and user feedback, I realised the second axis was the same as the first one, and replaced it with a new one on book length. I was still not very thrilled with this scatter plot—I couldn't fit the legend in and wasn't able to add the list of the top 5 books for beginners. This is when the idea of designing multiple "library cards" came to me! While the final result doesn't look exactly like library cards, I do like how things turned out.