Review: Understanding the World – TASCHEN


understandingLearning about the world we live in begins at birth. The toys parents and family members share with children are baby’s first textbooks into how the world works. Then at school, subjects are split into categories based on how life works, from the perfect calculations in mathematics to the opinions we form when reading literature, or the creativity we unleash in art.

Understanding the World by Sandra Rendgen is an incredible insight into the world we live in. They say a picture says a thousand words, well I think INFOGRAPHICS can say a million.

A breathtaking look at the scale, diversity and detail in every element of life on Earth, the book opens your eyes to new facts and captivates your imagination.

I love the way that each new page you open you learn something unexpected, refreshing about Space, or a plant species, or a culture.

Rendgen takes us on a magical journey from the earliest bacteria on Earth, to cave paintings, and now complex charts created utilising big data to show how humans have evolved. He endeavours and succeeds if you are willing to put in the effort and time, to help us understand our planet.

This expansive visual atlas presents the most exciting, creative and inspiring ways of explaining the world in information graphics. Divided into five chapters, the book covers the environment, technology, economics, society, and culture to reveal some of the Earth’s greatest intricacies in accessible visual form. Featuring more than 280 graphics, reproduced in large scale including seven fold-out spreads, the collection focuses on the 21st century, but also includes historical masterpieces to put our current situation into perspective.

Nigel Holmes introduces the book with an exclusive infographic of his own, while Sandra Rendgen provides an illustrated historical essay to explore how we have studied and interpreted our world over the centuries. With graphics drawn from such sources as Fortune, National Geographic, and The Guardian, this is not only a showcase of outstanding data design, but also a fascinating digest of where and how we live.

Rendgen studied art history and cultural studies in Berlin and Amsterdam. Her work both as an editor and in developing concepts for media installations concentrates at the interface between image culture and technology, with a particular focus on data visualization, interactive media and the history of how information is conveyed. She is the author of TASCHEN’s Information Graphics.

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