If this messy world is becoming easier to understand, thank Edward Tufte

Christopher Bonanos in New York Magazine:

Tufte070618_198Edward Tufte is most likely the world’s only graphic designer with roadies. “We own two of everything—amplifiers, digital projectors,” other A/V gear, he says. “One set moves up and down the West Coast, and one stays in the East, to keep the FedEx charges down.” He plays 35 or so dates a year, at $380 per ticket. Today’s is in a raddled old auditorium on 34th Street, over the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Like a musician’s tour to promote an album, this one—which will hit New York again in the fall—exists partly to sell Tufte’s four design books, the newest of which is titled Beautiful Evidence. But Tufte, through his own Graphics Press, is the book’s publisher, and he doesn’t do the usual quick month of hard promotion before heading back to his desk. He keeps going on the road, selling steadily, a few gigs a month, year after year. That may be why there are 1.4 million copies of his titles in print—a staggering figure for self-publishing. (The top seller, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, has been a reliable mover since 1983.) And at these six-and-a-half-hour presentations, the audience starts cheering when he hits the floor, clamors for their books to be signed, buys posters at the table out front.

More here.