Small Multiples- Sandra Albertson

This is my small multiple example by Andrew Gelman. The point of his graphic is to demonstrate who wants school vouchers. Found at


In this week’s reading by Edward Tufte, we learned a bit about the history of putting word and text together in a composition and how effective it can be. Tufte discussed graphics that were “data bountiful” meaning that much could be observed and learned through one collective composition. One very successful form of such a thing is a format called “small multiples“. This often includes a variety of “options” being offered at once in some kind of visual display. One theme is often repeated in multiple ways so that we see that different things are happening to the same main object. In my example, the United States is used over and over so that you can use comparison to see the difference from country to country. As Tufte said, comparisons must take place within one eyespan, or all on the same page so that the comparisons are clear. My small multiple image includes information about American support of school vouchers based on location, income, religion, and race. This is definitely a large range of data that is all encompassed into one solid graphic. It successfully uses text and image together to get the desired message across. There is nothing but white space in between each U.S. depiction, so I would say that silent methods are used. I think this is the most effective in the situation since the outline of each country and the white space is division enough. Each image of the United States is the same as the last but small changes in color, in correspondence with text, make all images of the U.S. mean something entirely different. As stated in the reading, “for a wide range of problems in data presentation, small multiples are the best design solution”. It is clear to me that small multiples were the best, and maybe the only way, to display so much information such as my voucher graphic. There are so many intersecting factors that any other form would be nearly impossible.

About Sandra

My name is Sandra Albertson and I am currently a twenty-one year old senior attending Washington State University and pursuing a major in Digital Technology and Culture.
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