an interesting recent academic paper, written by information visualization guru Chaomei Chen, discussing the Top 10 Unsolved Information Visualization Problems. 'problem 7: aesthetics. the purpose of information visualization is the insights into data that it provides, not just pretty pictures. but what makes a picture pretty? what can we learn from making a pretty picture & enhancing the representation of insights? it’s important, therefore, to understand how insights & aesthetics interact, & these two goals could sustain insightful & visually appealing information visualization.'
I am quite glad that aesthetics is becoming an accepted aspect in visualization research. but here is a question for you: is 'aesthetics' (in visualization) more than 'pretty pictures'?
[computer.org & computer.org (pdf)]