3.17 ToDG: Data density and small multiples (3)

  • Tufte (2001, 2:175): "Well-designed small multiples are
    • inevitably comparative
    • deftly multivariate
    • shrunken, high-density graphics
    • usually based on a large data matrix
    • drawn almost entirely with data-ink
    • efficient in interpretation
    • often narrative in content, showing shifts in the relationship between variables as the index variable changes (thereby revealing interaction or multiplicative effects )."
  • Small multiples reflect much of the theory of data graphics:
    • For non-data-ink, less is more.
    • For data-ink, less is a bore. (Tufte 2001, 2:175)


Tufte, Edward R. 2001. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Vol. 2. Graphics press Cheshire, CT.