Stop Visually Assaulting Me

It's insulting. Your data is useful! But ugly charts make me look away immediately! And get bored! People like pretty things! Get it?

1. Pick a Good Font

2. Pick a Good Color Scheme

This is awful.

This is beautiful.

3. Pick a Relevant Color Scheme

If these are your client's colors:

You should probably use these colors in your presentation:

If you are working with data on casualties, this is an appropriate color:

This is not:

4. Label Things

If you do not label things, I will have no idea what you are trying to tell me.

Seriously, no idea.

5. Don't Label Too Many Things

This looks like it was copied from that high school math book everyone hated
and therefore everyone is going to skip over it.

6. Make it Obvious at First Glance

This chart shows there is barely a difference between the number of males
and females in class.

Below is the same data. Glancing at this, I will assume in this class I am going
to be SURROUNDED by men.

Then I will be angry when I look back and notice the scale of your axis.

7. Be Concise

If the chart says it all, let the chart say it all.

If this is the chart, you do not have to tell me that the distribution is about one to one,
that women are slightly less than half of the class population with forty-nine percent,
men have slightly more than half of the class population with fifty-one percent,
and that it appears that there are not a lot more of one gender.

I mean, no sh-t, Sherlock.

8. Normalize, Normalize, Normalize

The USA is so dangerous!! Wait, maybe we should divide by total population?

A slightly different pic.

9. Be Creative, not Confusing

Chloropleth charts? Cool. Thinking it might be neat to flip the y-axis and use an area
chart for no reason? Not cool.

Did the stock gain or lose value?? Did I make money?? I don't know!!


I make a fair amount of charts in Excel. Granted, I'm using Excel 2010 which has nicer pre-formatted
options but I still NEVER USE THEM. Hideous!! Shows you care not at all!! Hideous!!


© liz fosslien