I teach about data visualization a lot. And it basically comes down to two techniques: simplification and emphasis.
Here’s a default graph with fictional data:
First, simplify the graph. Remove the border. Remove the horizontal grid lines. Remove the vertical axis. Remove the legend. Remove the title. Remove the color!
Once your graph is naked, you’re done simplifying.
Second, emphasize your message with text. Add direct labels. Add a descriptive title. Add a descriptive subtitle. Make sure the text is hierarchical; the title is largest and the subtitle and labels are smaller.
Third, emphasize your message with color. Leave the software program’s default color scheme at the door. Instead, enhance branding by matching your graph’s color palette to your organization’s logo. I’m facilitating a workshop for The Evaluation Group this week, so here’s their exact shade of blue.
Simplify by removing unnecessary ink. Then, emphasize your message with text and color. That’s all, folks!
Want your company to practice the simplification and emphasis approach with your own datasets? Contact me to schedule your in-person workshop or virtual webinar.