The Best Edward Tufte quotes

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If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the work of Edward Tufte. His books on data visualization have been critical reads for anyone looking to make their data more understandable and impactful. But what do we really know about Tufte himself? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at his life and work, and explore how he’s helped so many entrepreneurs succeed.

Discover the strongest Design, Content, Point quotes from Edward Tufte, and much more.


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About Edward Tufte

birth of the author

March 14, 1942

occupation of the author

Professor, Statistician, Writer, Sculptor

country of the author


award of the author

Notable Works:
The Visual Display Of Quantitative Information, Beautiful Evidence


The idea is that the content is the interface, the information is the interface, not computer–administrative debris. — Edward Tufte

Design cannot rescue failed content. — Edward R. Tufte

The essential test of design is how well it assists the understanding of the content, not how stylish it is. — Edward Tufte

Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure. — Edward Tufte

audience boredom is usually a content failure not a decoration failure Edward Tufte quote

Cosmetic decoration, which frequently distorts the data, will never salvage an underlying lack of content. — Edward R. Tufte

We’ve drifted into this presentation mode without realizing the cost to the content and the audience in the process. — Edward Tufte

Allowing artist–illustrators to control the design and content of statistical graphics is almost like allowing typographers to control the content, style, and editing of prose. — Edward Tufte

What gets left out is the narrative between the bullets, which would tell us who’s going to do what and how we’re going to achieve the generic goals on the list. — Edward Tufte

There are many true statements about complex topics that are too long to fit on a PowerPoint slide. — Edward Tufte


Comparisons must be enforced within the scope of the eyespan, a fundamental point occasionally forgotten in practice. — Edward R. Tufte

That is to say, nature’s laws are causal; they reveal themselves by comparison and difference, and they operate at every multivariate space, time point. — Edward Tufte

If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won’t make them relevant. — Edward Tufte

The point of the essay is to change things. — Edward Tufte

If you’re told what to look for, you can’t see anything else. — Edward Tufte

the point of the essay is to change things Edward Tufte quote


Great design is not democratic; it comes from great designers. If the standard is lousy, then develop another standard. — Edward Tufte

Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual. — Edward Tufte

Redundant Thematics

In Edward Tufte Statements


Design isn’t crafting a beautiful, textured button with breathtaking animation. It’s figuring out if there’s a way to get rid of the button altogether. — Edward Tufte

Beautiful Evidence is about the theory and practice of analytical design. — Edward Tufte

Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information. — Edward R. Tufte

good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual Edward Tufte quote

Clutter is not a property of information. Clutter is a failure of design. — Edward Tufte

There is no such thing as information overload, just bad design. If something is cluttered and/or confusing, fix your design. — Edward Tufte

A metaphor for good information design is a map. Hold any diagram against a map and see how it compares. — Edward Tufte

Only two industries refer to their customers as ‘users’: computer design and drug dealing — Edward R. Tufte

Clutter is not an attribute of information, clutter is a failure of design…fix the design rather than stripping all the detail out of the map. — Edward Tufte

beautiful evidence is about the theory and practice of analytical design Edward Tufte quote

The goal is to provide analytical tools that will last students a lifetime. — Edward Tufte

EDWARD TUFTE Quotes Take Away

Edward Tufte is a statistics professor and information design guru who has some inspiring things to say about data visualization, communication, and making the world a better place. We’ve collected some of our favorite quotes from him, and we think they will encourage you to make data-driven decisions that can change your business for the better. If you want to learn more about how to use data visualization for your own organization or are interested in taking one of our courses on information design, please check out our website. With the right tools, you can turn complex data into beautiful insights that will help your business thrive.

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