If I remember correctly he had lots of praise for the visualization and said that appart from the font it had a very contemporary look despite being from the 19th century. Tufte also showed a variant that added colored labels, but I don't remeber if he recommended it. Another thing I remeber is a sidenote about how complicated it was to get the colors right in print.
EDIT: I was wondering if Tufte's book was the inspiration for this but couldn't find a reference at first. The making-of blog post mentions Tufte's work:
> Byrne’s work was largely ignored and criticized at the time of publication but it has gained renewed interest in recent years in part due to a mention from Edward Tufte in Envisioning Information and a reproduction by Taschen.
> I can’t recall when I first learned of Byrne’s edition but it was likely from Tufte or seeing Taschen in passing.
Where the ConTeXt one falls down, aesthetically speaking, is the lettrines (which, by the way, are more usually called initials in English). They show the marks of having been procedurally generated rather than hand-drawn, for example in the way that the line width doesn't vary, and the way the curves appear to be piecewise circular arcs.
It's not possible to make beautiful organic arabesques with a few piecewise circular arcs, it just ends up looking crude and mechanical. Mathematicians are inclined to be insensitive to this problem.
Take the following invented curve, for example. The junctions between different arcs aren't smooth enough. No typographer would accept it, although it goes without saying that typeface design is not a highly complex intellectual activity comparable with math—it's about judging things by eye.
It's a shame that fragmentation of expertise means that the mathematicians and the typeface designers don't generally communicate.
My main frustration is there are many mistakes. In an effort to keep the text aligned with the original, those mistakes are in-line and the corrections are at the beginning of the book in a prefix. This makes following the proofs a bit difficult since once you get far enough along the mistakes compound. The later proofs are built on earlier proofs. There are some instances where Proof C has a mistake that relies on Proof B that has a mistake, etc. And then flipping back to the corrections and keeping track of all of them is a bit difficult.
It's not a problem if you are just enjoying the book for its aesthetics but since I was very carefully checking my understanding of the proofs it was annoying.
I still recommend the book.
font-feature-settings: "clig", "dlig", "liga", "onum"