Chart Design

It's time, my educator friends, to put an end to poorly designed (and thus, uninformative) charts. But it's up to you to set a good example...and not be a horrible warning.

These posts and resources provide guidance on effective communication with your charts and graphs. Don't forget to have a look at some of the resources on the Books and Links page for additional support.

Raw Ingredients
Get your data set whipped into shape. Accurate and clean data are basic necessities for a well-told tale.

Tell the Story
Got data? Not sure where to start, which chart(s) to select, how to choose colors, and other basic design pieces? Try these posts and resources.

Show the Data
When we summarize data, either through descriptive statistics or through basic visuals like bar and line charts, we can miss some of the nuance present within the data. There are ways, however, for you to represent the full data set in one chart. Here are three ways to get started.
  • Use bump(s) charts with multiple lines to show change between individuals, instead of a summary line chart.
  • Cluster charts organize data sets to reveal trends across multiple variables.
  • Instead of bar charts, try scatter plots that show the full distribution of data points. These points can be coded to represent different attributes.

When Excel Gives You Lemons
Transform default charts in Excel with just a few clicks. Each post has a reference sheet you can download.

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