One of the most important points Tufte makes is that clarity and simplicity do not mean a lack of knowledge, "simple-mindedness" as he puts it. The audience often knows more than the creator of the graph/structure/etc. thinks and therefore, "chartjunk" and cosmetic decoration will not be beneficial. They will only obscure the data. Straightforward information is better.
Submitted by zzweibo on
I completely agree with this point. It is not the visual creator's responsibility to entertain the audience with decoration and flair. The objective should be to educate the audience with significant data that will help them understand the issue. Also, "chartjunk" undermines the intelligence of the audience, and can be disrespectful in a sense. People will not even want to continue to look at your visual if there's too much going on. Simplicity is the answer, so don't worry about entertaining your reader, they're not child.