Believe it or not, the Life & Culture section of the WSJ is expounding on the virtue of data visualization for practical (communication) and aesthetic purposes:
At companies and universities, and far beyond, the goal of data-driven digital artists is clear, not cynical: convey complex concepts quickly and crisply. They want to generate not Art-with-a-capital-A, necessarily, but understanding. They take stone-cold data—units of information—and turn them into something warmly communicative. Beautiful, too.
Related, I recently watched a good TED Talk by David McCandless on the Beauty of Data Visualization:
After watching, I picked up McCandless’ Visual Miscellaneum, not because I have any interest in miscellany. Rather, I wanted to see the different mechanisms, formats and patterns used to bring that data to life.