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Data Visualisation

Data Visualisation
A Handbook for Data Driven Design

  • Andy Kirk - Freelance data visualisation specialist and trainer
Additional resources:

June 2016 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Voted one of the "six best books for data geeks" by The Financial Times. Read the review here.

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Never has it been more essential to work in the world of data. Scholars and students need to be able to analyze, design, and curate information into useful tools of communication, insight, and understanding. This book is the starting point in learning the process and skills of data visualization, teaching the concepts and skills of how to present data, and inspiring effective visual design.

Benefits of this book:

  • A flexible step-by-step journey that equips you to achieve great data visualization
  • A curated collection of classic and contemporary examples, giving illustrations of good and bad practice
  • Examples on every page to give creative inspiration
  • Illustrations of good and bad practice show you how to critically evaluate and improve your own work
  • Advice and experience from the best designers in the field
  • Loads of online practical help, checklists, case studies and exercises make this the most comprehensive text available
Defining Data Visualisation
Data Visualisation Workflow
Formulating your Brief
Working with Data
Establishing your Editorial Perspective
Data Representation
Visualisation Literacy


Click for online resources

Take a look around the companion website for Data Visualisation. Hosted by Andy Kirk as a subsite of, the site is dedicated to providing readers with additional references and resources to supplement their learning from the book's content. These resources include:

  • Reading sections: a curated collection of recommended links to web articles, papers and texts, as well as suggested visualisation projects that are associated with the topics covered by each chapter
  • Exercises sections: a range of conceptual and practical tasks to help substantiate learning from the book
  • Case study sections: provides a stream of narrative detailing the behind-the-scenes process that went in to the development of the 'Filmographics' project, which was created exclusively to accompany the publication of this book
  • Tools: provides a curated, organised catalogue of over 320 data visualisation tools, applications and libraries currently available in the field
  • The 'Chartmaker Directory': Coming soon! This is a project currently in development that aims to tie together two fundamental perspectives: charts and tools
  • Books: a collection of some of the most important and influential books on data visualisation, infographics, statistics and other related subject areas
  • Monthly digest: After the end of each month these 'Best of the visualisation web…' posts collate some of the standout projects, articles, and learning resources that have emerged

In a clear and effective manner, Andy Kirk provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of data and design that is well integrated into a practical visualization workflow. Data Visualization will do much to improve literacy in both areas—a must-read, especially if you are starting in the field.

Isabel Meirelles
Professor, Faculty of Design, OCAD University, Toronto

Data visualization is much more than just data and visuals. Andy understands that successful visualizations emerge from successful processes and myriad well-informed decisions. Getting all the parts right in this interdisciplinary field is a huge challenge; every student and practitioner of data visualisation will benefit from absorbing the vast wisdom captured in this book.

Scott Murray
Assistant Professor of Design, University of San Francisco

Andy Kirk has managed to squeeze a lifetime of expertise on visualising data and telling stories using interactives into one easy-to-follow and beautifully illustrated book. For students and designers interested in creating interactive and stunningly crafted data visualisations this is a must read.

Tom Felle
Journalism, City University London

With presentation and interpretation of data central to so much today, this guide is essential reading for almost everyone!

Richard Smedley
The MagPi - The Official Raspberry Pi Magazine

The book is comprehensive and practical, taking the reader one step at a time through the process of visualising data, from how to manage the initial thinking process to how and why to choose particular colours and compose the design.

Helen Kara
SRA Research Matters

Challenging yet pleasant to read. However; this book is so specific that most of my students wouldn’t benefit. On the other hand I would recommend it to PhD students, who would be able to design engaging data visualisation with the help of this book.

Mr Leszek Wypych
Bedfordshire Business School, Bedfordshire University
October 4, 2016

Interesting and containing analysis and strong examples.

Mr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education , Havering College of FE & HE
September 13, 2016

A comprehensive and well structured book, which guides the reader through a simulating tour of data visualisation. Illustrated through rich historic and contemporary examples discussed through the underlying principles of good visualisation design.

Mr John Morrison
School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University
September 11, 2016

I have asked for this book to be placed in our library to support students with aspects of data display. This text offers a range of creative approaches to the display of data presented in a user friendly way. The images in this book are accessible and elegant in their creation and presentation and in doing this Kirk makes a very good case for this part of any research process to be regarded in more depth.

Ms Claire Largan
Childhood and Education, University College Birmingham
September 9, 2016

This is the book I've been looking for - a thoughtful, but very practical book about how to present data visually most effectively and usefully.

Dr Pamela Woolner
Education, Newcastle University
August 11, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Data Visualisation: Defining Data Visualisation

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ISBN: 9781473912144

ISBN: 9781473912137