Principles of effective figure making

Before we get into the meat of how to most efficiently use the ggplot2 package for plotting, it’s useful to take a moment to talk about what makes a good figure. What is it that makes a nice-looking figure, one that is suitable for publication or use in a presentation? We would argue that there are three hallmarks of a good figure:

  • Judicious use of color
  • Large clear text and labels
  • Efficient usage of plot space

It’s often useful to create multiple panels to show different aspects of our data. These fundamentals are the same whether we’re making our figures in R or not.

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