Chart Design Principles

Get a brief introduction to the basic rules for chart selection.

Before starting the visualization of data through different charts, let’s explore some guidelines and principles of data visualization. Data visualization comes with a set of principles and best practices that form guidelines for creating charts.

Below are the rules and guidelines for chart designing; some rules are more rigid than others, but can be broken sometimes to emphasize points or interpret data meaningfully. Let’s explore them one by one.

Design Principles

Five-second rule

The first rule of thumb when it comes to data visualization principle is the five-second rule. It means that the chart should answer the important question about the data at a glance, i.e., five seconds. If a chart is taking longer to convey the information, then there is likely a problem with the chart selection or design.

Selection of the right chart

The selection of the correct chart for specific data is crucial in data visualization. It is important to understand which information we want to convey to the audience and choose the right chart. Let’s explore the criteria for a specific chart selection.

  • Line charts display trends and can be used to display continuous data over time.
  • Bar charts are used to compare data between different groups over time.
  • Pie charts are used to show proportions of the whole data and is more intuitive when used for percentages.
  • Scatter charts are used to show the relationship between data.
  • Treemaps are used to display hierarchical data.

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