2004 AIGA MEDAL
Edward Tufte is best known for his trilogy of self-published books on analytical design: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983, 2001), Envisioning Information (1990) and Visual Explanations (1997). Each offers practical advice on aspects of data display and provides a spectacular array of historic and contemporary examples. Regarded as the primary authority on the presentation of information by designers, information architects, engineers, and scientists, Tufte's work has also generated a strong mainstream interest. One million copies of these books are in print.
After receiving degrees in statistics and political science from Stanford and Yale, Tufte took a teaching job at Princeton University. His first book on analytical design was written, designed and published using funds from a second mortgage on his home. He printed 5,000 copies of the book, rented a P.O. Box, and put an ad in Scientific American. Twenty years later he is working on his seventh book, Beautiful Evidence, to be published in 2005.
Tufte served as a professor at Princeton and then Yale for 33 years. Currently he teaches a one-day course in analytical design at various locations across the country (which 120,000 people have attended so far), and is Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale. In addition to his BS, MS from Stanford and PhD from Yale, Tufte has been awarded seven honorary doctorates. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
He has consulted for the Bureau of the Census, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Science Foundation, Bose, IBM, The New York Times, Fidelity Investments, NBC, CBS, Sun Microsystems. Medtronic, Lotus Development, New Jersey Transit, Hewlett-Packard, Newsweek, Thomson Consumer Electronic, and various law firms.
Tufte is currently writing his latest book, consulting for NASA, and constructing large-scale landscape sculptures. His recent sculptures include “Larkin's Twig,” “Spring-Arcs,” the series “Escaping Flatland 1-10,” and the series “Millstones 1-6.” He has had a one person show at Artists Space in New York and the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles.
In 1985 Tufte stopped a proposed development and then raised all the funds for the purchase of 31 acres along the Mill River in Cheshire, Connecticut, in order to create the permanent land trust Fresh Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. He has continued to be active in working for open space in Connecticut.
“Few teachers are as accomplished as Edward Tufte when it comes to demonstrating why good design matters in the world.”
“Edward Tufte is a brilliant observer and analyst of visual displays. The diversity of examples (in Visual Explanations) is awesome. Every aspect of this book is of the highest quality.”
—Journal of The American Statistical Association
“The Leonardo da Vinci of data”
—New York Times