Making Graphs That Work

Seth Godin offers some advice on creating quality, legible, graphs.  Short and sweet.

  • Don’t let popular spreadsheets be in charge of the way you look.
  • Tell a story. The only 4 stories permissible:
    • Things are going great, look!
    • Things are a disaster, help!
    • Nothing much is happening.
    • We need to work together to figure out what the data means.
  • Follow some simple rules:
    • Time on the bottom, from left to right
    • Good results go up on the Y axis.
    • Don’t connect unrelated events.
    • Pie charts are spectacularly overrated.
  • Break some other rules (but not too many)

Seth’s written previously on this topic, specifically to proclaim the three laws of great graphs (one story, no bar charts, movement) and then later to defend his position on bar graphs and pie charts.

As Dan says, “It’s not exactly Tufte, but it covers the basics”.



2 responses to “Making Graphs That Work”

  1. Although I like Seth Godin the marketer, I am not so sure about Seth Godin the data visualization expert. His “three laws of great graphs” are kinda silly (Stephen Few dixit). But this post is clearly better than the previous ones.

  2. Agreed. Godin’s previous posts haven’t inspired me to post or bookmark his thoughts but this one did thanks to it’s simplicity and solid advice.

    Still, for Godin to become a thinking in the data visualisation field, he’s definitely got a long way to go.

    As I do.

    Thanks, Jorge … and I like the site.