Data Flow(s)


I bought both volumes of Data Flow together. Like all well designed sets of books there's a real obsessive need to keep them together since they fit so perfectly. Although they're more expensive than the smash-hit Information is Beautiful, the best-selling sweetheart of infographics for the last few years, the Data Flow books are far superior in content and quality.

For a start, the content of Information is Beautiful was mostly tailored form the blog to the book so it's often out of date. There's a reissue coming in October, but the current one is full of data from early 2009. Secondly I would challenge anyone to hold a Data Flow book next to it and be convinced that Information is Beautiful  is better looking.

Data Flow have summoned some of the finest, most innovative and most intricate designers to the call to produce graphics that represent notable works in themselves while Information is Beautiful mostly considers itself a platform for alternative data visualisation, in this respect it might be better shelved next to general knowledge than design.

The detail and intricacy of some of the most stunning work in Data Flow presents its own problems, in that often it's unreadable and sometimes being in German doesn't help. Yet again however, this underlines the point that it's not about the actual information so much as a showcase for incredibly beautiful imagery with a raw data heart.