The Craft of Words is a 49-page guide by Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson (a tweed-clad duo also known as The Standardistas).

They advocate words and language – both their meaning and visual form – as the starting point in any design process, before things like colour and aesthetics. Tone and voice play a critical role in communication. When you craft words with as much care as visual elements, the effect you achieve with your design is greater than the sum of its parts.

This weekend I started working through the Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization and Statistics by Nathan Yau, the writer and data visualisation expert behind flowingdata.com.

I’ve been interested in this field for some time but haven’t invested the time to learn the new technical skills required to really push myself, partly through fear of programming. So, I sat down with the book, opened a text editor on my Mac and fired up Terminal.