Thursday, September 27, 2012

Graphing and Mapping 1812

Clément and Minard discuss Napoleon’s Russian campaign…
Clément: How would you tell the story?
Napoleon's losses on the
Russian Campaign 1812
Minard: Graph it. 
Months on the independent variable. Soldier deaths the dependent. Numbers are dramatic. Simple.
Clément: OK, so that’s the What, When, Who. What about the Where? Where does the where go?
Minard: Hmm.
Clément: And the whys? The temperatures, Moscow deserted, Berezina river crossing, these all decimated Napoleon’s army.
Minard: Oui. Comment à ce sujet? We use a line of decreasing size, east to west and back. Splits and rejoins. Dates plotted. Weather temperatures falling along the retreat.
Clément: Magnifique!
Beginning from a simple account of numbers a story is built. And told on a graph.
Charles Minard did it brilliantly in 1869. He puts “art” in the chart.
Edward Tufte says it "may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn."
See a short film about visual graphics at
What is your opinion about the design of visual graphics?

Figurative map of French Army losses
on the 1812 Russian Campaign


Susumu said...

I knew Edward Tufte and David McCandless and Gary Hustwit a little in this assignment. I think Edward Tufte's graphic is unique but it is easy to understand. David McCandless is amazing person because he made many many font. If I have a chance, I wanna watch Gary Hustwit's documentary film.

11AA003 said...

I felt Edward's art is very unique and interesting.But,I can't undarstand the content.It is difficult for me to lisiten.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult for me to understand. If you change design, information is more understable, he thinks. I agree that.

Anonymous said...

I think the font Helvetica made by Max and Eduard is popular for the people in the world. In Japan, people can see it in our daily lives(campany logos, station names in English).

Anonymous said...


media are not only send messages by video, but also send by word.
i recognize that many fonts and colors can describe that how it can be seen impressive for their company's concept.

11AA026 said...

I understand that it is success for Edward Tufte to visualize date. This can analyze some information from chart and introduces new concept in two-dimensions chart.

Anonymous said...

Three mans are famous in the world. and MC candles's a lot of fonts are fantastic for me.

Anonymous said...

What criticisms of PowerPoint does Tufte make?
He tends to be preoccupied with historical, pre-digital approaches to design.

What was his third book, Understanding Media about and when was it published?
It is about Media being extensions of human bodies and senses, and how media influence our behaving. It was published in 1964.

Barry Natusch said...

Thanks for the comments.

A correction: David McCandless creates graphics, not fonts.

Note: weekly evaluation system is as follows:

15 questions answered from wkly film on YouTube = 0.0 to 1.0 (max)

1 appropriate comment posted on wh5 = 0.0 to 1.0 (max)

Active participation in wkly discussion F2F = 0.0 to 1.0 (max)

Total weekly = 3.0 (max)
Total topics = 12
Max semester score = 12 x 3.0 = 36.0 (max)

30.0-36.0 = S
25.0-29.9 = A
20.0-24.9 = B
15.0-19.9 = C
10.0-14.9 = D
less is even less!