Visual Complexity

Mapping Patterns of Information

Manuel Lima


This book is available in a Paperback edition

     8.5 × 10.5 in (21.6 × 26.7 cm)
272 pages
250 color illustrations, 65 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 7/19/2011
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568989365

Our ability to generate information now far exceeds our capacity to understand it. Finding patterns and making meaningful connections inside complex data networks has emerged as one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. In recent years, designers, researchers, and scientists have begun employing an innovative mix of colors, symbols, graphics, algorithms, and interactivity to clarify, and often beautify, the clutter. From representing networks of friends on Facebook to depicting interactions among proteins in a human cell, Visual Complexity presents one hundred of the most interesting examples of information-visualization by the field's leading practitioners. Author Manuel Lima has been called the "Edward Tufte of the 21st century" and nominated as one of the "50 most creative and influential minds of 2009" by Creativity magazine.

Manuel Lima is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, nominated by Creativity magazine as "one of the 50 most creative and influential minds of 2009," and is a senior user experience designer at Microsoft Bing.

Editorial Reviews


"Intellectually ambitious... the author engages this heady material with a surprisingly sharp and lucid eye."

New York Times Book Review:

"Visual Complexity is a showcase for the intersection of art, design and science... Some of the examples are indeed silly. Some are profound. Many are decidedly beautiful. And all are fascinating, given the infinite kinds of data that can be visualized."

Cool Hunting:

"Artistic analysis... tremendous potential for shaping how we understand our world... if you are the type who obsesses on Google Analytics or just feel the need to nerd out for a bit, pick up a copy."

Brain Pickings:

"A rigorously researched, beautifully designed, thoughtfully curated anthology of the world's most compelling work at the intersection of two relatively nascent yet increasingly powerful techno-cultural phenomena, network science and information visualization.... The gorgeous and thought-provoking visualizations in the book will make you look at the world in a whole new way, and the insightful essays accompanying them will vastly expand your understanding of the trends and technologies shaping our ever-evolving relationship with information."

Surface magazine:

"Manuel Lima, the New York-based founder of, works at the forefront of network science and information visualization. Appropriately, his book Visual Complexity cuts through digital clutter, using colorful examples to illustrate these fields."


"Incredibly ambitious, deeply researched, and beautifully illustrated."


"From genealogical patterns in medieval tapestries to the math behind fractals, Lima shows how designers turn complex patterns into compelling artwork."

Reader Comments


Related Titles