Why can't bloggers-about-blogging do basic charts?

I follow some of the top blogs-about-blogging and they often come up with advices that I can relate to when thinking of information visualization: simplicity, consistency, go to the point, remove clutter, tell a story… Problem is, bloggers about blogging fail to follow their own advice when they attempt to graphically display the results of … Read more

Less is more, more is more

Always ask yourself: “what can I remove from this chart”? Remove Excel defaults, remove grid lines, make the chart smaller, use soft colors, remove irrelevant labels, remove the legend (by directly labeling series), remove series that you don’t really need, remove frames, remove decimal places, remove visual fluff. Then ask yourself: “what can I add … Read more

10 x 10 Tips to improve your (Excel) charts: formatting

This is the second of 10 posts where I’m listing tips for better charts. Please take a look at the first post where the project is discussed. These are my chart formatting tips: Use the right chart type for the data and the problem; Apply sound design principles; Use color strategically: mute axis and grid … Read more

Letter to the Director-General of Eurostat

Dear Mr. Hervé Carré I’ve been browsing through some of the Eurostat publications and I thought you would appreciate some constructive feedback, since it is your job to ensure that governments, businesses, media and the general public do have access in a timely manner to reliable and objective data. I’m starting with some general findings, … Read more

Design principles for better charts: relevance

The relevance principle means that every variation should carry a meaning, derived from data variation, not from design variation. If it doesn’t, it can be confusing or misleading. Suppose chart A displays population density by country. “Vary colors by point” is an option in Excel, but why should you use it? This is a design … Read more

Charting tips 004: You need guide lines

You can’t write a novel just because you can type. You can’t create a chart just because you know how to do it in Excel. First, you have to know the job, then the tool. Research for best practices in your field. Read what some authors have to say about specific formats and options. Then, … Read more