Not every chart will do, of course. Let me outline some basic design rules of what I call a “consulting chart”:
- It shouldn’t be recognizable as a standard chart that you could create in Excel;
- It shouldn’t use popular eye-catching design elements, like 3D or textures (hire a designer if you really want those);
- It should convey an impression of complexity but make everyone feel smart because they could actually understand it;
Conventional visualization rules do not apply to this kind of charts. It lays between a proper chart and an icon or a logo. Always remember that your report may be 300 hundred pages thick, but only this chart will be shared in internal presentations, and the managers (your clients) should be proud of presenting it (money well spent).
If you don’t feel creative today, just use the chart above. Every consultant likes it. A circular chart or a radar variant is always a good bet. Each color represents a dimension, and there is a set of five indicators for each dimension. A seven-point scale is used to measure each indicator.
As an example, a dimension could be “Human Resources”, and “turnover” one of the indicators. Display two of these charts side by side to compare “We” vs. “Them” or “Today” vs “Tomorrow”.
Here is a dilemma…
Strictly speaking, a simple bar chart would do a much more efficient job at displaying the data and letting the users compare multiple series.
But let’s be completely honest here. You know your client, and you know he will happily spend 12,000 for a report with these charts. If you use a regular bar chart you can’t ask for more than 10,000. What would you do? Share your thoughts in the comments.