Design

204 posts
Defining color palettes for all your charts

Selecting a color palette for a single chart can be tricky, which is why we see so many charts that just go with defaults. Selecting a color palette for all your charts is a bigger challenge. For Datawrapper, Lisa Charlotte Muth has you covered with a detailed guide that describes the important bits, existing color palettes in the wild, and consideration for your readers. You’ll want to save this for...

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Funnel is just for fun

This is part 2 of a review of a recent video released by NASA. Part 1 is here. The NASA video that starts with the spiral chart showing changes in average global temperature takes a long time (about 1 minute) to run through 14 decades of data, and for those who are patient, the chart then undergoes a dramatic transformation. With a sleight of hand, the chart went from a...

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Multicultural, multicolor, manufactured outrage

Twitter users were incensed by this chart: It's being slammed as one of the most outrageous charts ever. *** An image search reveals this chart form has international appeal. In Kazakh: In Turkish: In Arabic, but the image source is a Spanish company: In English, from an Indian source: In Russian: *** Some people are calling this a pie chart. But it isn't a pie chart since the slices clearly...

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The envelope of one’s data

This post is the second post in response to a blog post at StackOverflow (link) in which the author discusses the "harm" of "aggregating away the signal" in your dataset. The first post appears on my book blog earlier this week (link). One stop in their exploratory data analysis journey was the following chart: This chart plots all the raw data, all 8,760 values of electricity consumption in California in...

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Easy breezy bar charts, perhaps

I came across the following bar chart (link), which presents the results of a survey of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) on their attitudes toward data analytics. Responses are tabulated to the question about the most significant hurdle(s) against the increasing use of data and analytics for marketing. Eleven answers were presented, in addition to the catchall "Other" response. I'm unable to divine the rule used by the designer to sequence...

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Visualizing composite ratings

A twitter reader submitted the following chart from Autoevolution (link): This is not a successful chart for the simple reason that readers want to look away from it. It's too busy. There is so much going on that one doesn't know where to look. The underlying dataset is quite common in the marketing world. Through surveys, people are asked to rate some product along a number of dimensions (here, seven)....

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Visual design is hard, brought to you by NYC subway

This poster showed up in a NY subway train recently. Visual design is hard! What is the message? The intention is, of course, to say Rootine is better than others. (That's the Q corner, if you're following the Trifecta Checkup.) What is the visual telling us (V corner)? It says Rootine is yellow while Others are purple. What do these color mean? There is no legend to help decipher it....

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To explain or to eliminate, that is the question

Today, I take a look at another project from Ray Vella's class at NYU. (The above image is a honeypot for "smart" algorithms that don't know how to handle image dimensions which don't fit their shadow "requirement". Human beings should proceed to the full image below.) As explained in this post, the students visualized data about regional average incomes in a selection of countries. It turns out that remarkable differences...

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The gift of small edits and subtraction

While making the chart on fertility rates (link), I came across a problem that pops up quite often, and is  ignored by most software programs. Here is an earlier version of the chart I later discarded: Compare this to the version I published in the blog post: Aside from adding the chart title, there is one major change. I removed the empty plots from the grid. This is a visualization...

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Visualizing fertility rates around the globe

The following chart dropped on my Twitter feed. It's an ambitious chart that tries to do a lot. The underlying data set contains fertility rate data from over 200 countries over 20 years. The basic chart form is a column chart that is curled up into a ball. The column chart is given colors that map to continents. All countries are grouped into five continents. The column chart can only...

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