“The current vogue for less-is-more minimalism, for ample white space, is traceable in part to Tufte, especially when it comes to a certain maker of MP3 players. In fact, when I ask him whom he’s never worked for but would like to, he leans in and says, “A-P-P-L-E! [But] they don’t need any help.â€Â

The lovefest appears to be requited. In press photos of the iPhone, the device displays a New York Times Web front page on its screen. And that page contains a tiny ad for Beautiful Evidence, one that ran on the Times site for exactly one Sunday. Tufte thinks the cameo was a lucky break. I have no doubt that it’s an anonymous Apple designer’s thank-you note.”