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Old 01-10-2007, 06:29 AM   #1
Paddybhoy
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Default Interesting ways of displaying data..?

I need to put together a poster that contains 6 sets of data. This data will take to shape of bar-charts/pie-graphs etc. All very boring stuff I'm sure you agree. However, does anyone have any ideas how to make this more interesting? Has anyone come across a similar problem before?

I would be very interested and appriciative of your feedback, ideas, links to websites with examples of good design, etc.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:15 PM   #2
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How big is the poster going to be???

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Old 01-11-2007, 12:28 AM   #3
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How big is the poster going to be???

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Poster will be A3 in size.
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Old 01-11-2007, 12:58 AM   #4
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My initial thoughts would be to devise a 2x3 grid the right size for the various elelements, and then have tinted blocks behind each cell to delineate each. The spare cell can be used for intro/attributions etc, or span 2 columns/rows if you have a big item to include.
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddybhoy View Post
This data will take to shape of bar-charts/pie-graphs etc. All very boring stuff I'm sure you agree. However, does anyone have any ideas how to make this more interesting? Has anyone come across a similar problem before?
The main difficulty with charts is that clarity is more important than charm. Many “interesting-looking” charts render the data ambiguous or hard to see.

That doesn’t mean they need to be homely, but it is usually best to keep it simple but classy.

Have you seen the books or seminars by Edward Tufte? He can be a little doctrinaire at times, but he does have useful things to say about the presentation of data. One or more of his books — The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, and Visual Explanations — might be worth reading, especially if you often need to do this sort of work.

   
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:53 AM   #6
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To make it more "interesting" add some depth to the presentation.

For example, give a pie chart thickness and rotate it just enough so that you can see that it has an edge.
For example, explode the pie chart with white/empty space between the slices.
For example, add (subtle) shadows to the bars of a bar chart.
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:42 PM   #7
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this may be simplistic, but I would just throw some toned down art in the background.
For instance, if it's a pie chart showing average snowfall this time of year, put a skier shooshing down a mountain behind the charts.
(faded, of course, so it doesn't visually interfere with the graphic).

   
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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But to summarize Tufte's main message: ruthlessly eliminate what he calls "chartjunk". Take your basic bargraph that, say, Excel generates and start removing the stuff that's not essential to understanding the data (or better, the point that you're trying to make with the data).

   
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Have you seen the books or seminars by Edward Tufte? He can be a little doctrinaire at times, but he does have useful things to say about the presentation of data. One or more of his books — The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, and Visual Explanations — might be worth reading, especially if you often need to do this sort of work.
Have you noticed he now has a new book out? It's called Beautiful Evidence. It's probably less useful than his other books in terms of the question raised in this thread but an initial glance suggests it may be his best yet -- it seems to be about using art as evidence of fact.

It's getting close to the top of my waiting-to-be-read book pile along with a small Tufte book on PowerPoint.

   
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:38 AM   #10
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Have you noticed he now has a new book out? It's called Beautiful Evidence. It's probably less useful than his other books in terms of the question raised in this thread but an initial glance suggests it may be his best yet -- it seems to be about using art as evidence of fact.
I will be interested in hearing how you like it.

   
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