In this follow-up to his hugely popular The Book of Trees and Visual Complexity, Manuel Lima takes us on a lively tour through millennia of circular information design. Three hundred detailed and colorful illustrations from around the world cover an encyclopedic array of subjects—architecture, urban planning, fine art, design, fashion, technology, religion, cartography, biology, astronomy, and physics, all based on the circle, the universal symbol of unity, wholeness, infinity, enlightenment, and perfection. Clay tokens used by ancient Sumerians as a system of recording trade are juxtaposed with logos of modern retailers like Target; Venn diagrams are discussed alongside the trefoil biohazard symbol, symbols of the Christian trinity, and the Olympic rings; and a diagram revealing the characteristics of ten thousand porn stars displays structural similarities to early celestial charts placing the earth at the center of the universe.
Lima's introduction provides an authoritative history of the circle, and a preface describes his unique taxonomy of the many varieties of circle diagrams, rounding out this visual feast for infographics enthusiasts.
The humble circle gets its due in this visual study by Brazilian designer Lima (The Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge), who specializes in the visualization of data. A taxonomy of circles introduces the book's singular subject matter and provides its underlying structure. Chapters are organized around "Rings & Spirals," "Wheels & Pies," "Grids & Graticules," "Ebbs & Flows," "Shapes & Boundaries," "Maps & Blueprints," and "Nodes & Links." This scheme offers the delightful opportunity for the "juxtaposition of seemingly disparate areas and time periods," which the author correctly notes is "one of the unique aspects of this volume." For example, a blue pie chart taken from a 2008 report confronts a "Diagram of the Nature of Planets" published in 1617. The book is light on discussion, but the visual evidence certainly suggests that humans have a fundamental affinity for organizing information in circular form. Color photos.