Small Multiples

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As Edward Tufte states, small multiples refer to the principle of using fractions of information representing aspects of a single phenomenon to illustrate differences or changes in it.

They typically appear as sets of thumbnail sized graphics — using the same measures and scale — on a single page. They:

  • Depict comparison, enhance dimensionality, motion, and are good for multivariate displays
  • Invite comparison, contrasts, and show the scope of alternatives or range of options
  • Can represent motion through ghosting of multiple images
  • Are particularly useful in computers because they often permit the actual overlay of images, and rapid cycling.


External links