Don’t Try to Be Funny (Grumpy Old Man’s Guide to Making Charts)

Did you know that turkey consumption soared after the launch of Microsoft Windows 1.0? And did you know that this growth trajectory lasted until Windows 3.0? Coincidence? I don’t think so…

I find this amusing. Sorry.

By the way, don’t try to be funny when making charts. Most of the time you’ll fail, specially if you use clip art, kitten pictures and the like. They are useless, annoying and distracting. Use them in a glossy 3D pie chart and you’ll deservedly¬†burn in hell (well, if you do use 3D pie charts you’ll bur in hell, anyway).

Clip Art as Legend Replacement

OK, there are exceptions, like replacing the chart legend, or adding a visual comment. In both cases your image must be relevant and add value. Keep them simple (use icons). If you have multiple charts, you must use those images consistently.

(Excel tip: the turkey on the chart is just a marker in a dummy data point. If the data changes, the turkey moves.)

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