Polishing William Playfair + last call for Stanford exhibition opening event
This week's inspiration: Playfair's inspiring text
Late last night I re-read the preface to Playfair's StatisticalBreviary while researching my Stanford talk (more on that below). Coincidentally, it also happened to be the anniversary of Playfair's birthday. I was reminded how powerful Playfair's prose is—almost as powerful as his charts:
It is different with a chart, as the eye cannot look on similar forms without involuntarily as it were comparing their magnitudes. So that what in the usual mode was attended with some difficulty, becomes not only easy, but as it were unavoidable.
—William Playfair, 1801
Unfortunately the only way to read Playfair's brilliant writing was to slog through scans riddled with archaic typography. In hopes of introducing more people to Playfair's design observations I republished his work for modern web enjoyment. It's a ten minute read I highly recommend:
Playfair's Appeal the the Eye - Info We Trust
William Playfair explains the power of charts, citing advantages for engagement and learning that still ring true. infowetrust.com
This is last call to attend the live virtual opening event for my exhibition at Stanford University. It is taking place this Friday, September 25. We are very excited to present to you a colorful program on the history and magic of information graphics. My presentation will cover a lot of ground and especially focus on William Playfair, Emma Willard, and W. E. B. Du Bois.
Please join over 800 (!) already signed up by registering at this link:
My aim is to convey the same spirit that reading historic graphics gives me. It's a kind of inspired hope that together we have the power to make things better and more beautiful. I look forward to seeing you all real soon.