Data-Driven Graphic Design Book Reviews

Data-Driven Graphic Design

By Andrew Richardson
196 pages, softcover, $53.95
Published by Fairchild Books (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Paint by numbers. Or use functions, variables and loops. For a recent generation of adventurous graphic designers, these make up the new language of design. In Data-Driven Graphic Design, Andrew Richardson shows readers how data, code and algorithms harness the power of the computer to generate innovative visual expressions. 

For many of us, the computer is a tool constrained by software that we use to paint, design, draw and lay out graphics. But for intrepid creatives willing to roll up their sleeves and cut code, the computer is a digital foundry capable of taking data and lines of code—the default generative computer language of the book is called Processing, by the way—and transforming it into new visual and sonic digital forms. For Richardson, code just isn’t a programming language; it is a way of thinking, as essential as paper and pencil, chisel and stone. Increasingly, the results of generative computing are finding their way into dance studios, gallery walls, graphic design, museum installations and music. 

Lavishly illustrated with full-color examples and as densely layered with visual information as a Pollock drip painting, the chapters of Data-Driven Graphic Design explore topics such as modeling digital ecosystems, creating public installations, using code as a data visualization tool and employing random numbers to create patterns, and working with dynamic typography. Each chapter explains key concepts, walks readers through essential techniques, and concludes with a step-by-step tutorial—including sample code—and a link to resources on the companion website. —Sam McMillan


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