The data viz decisions they don't talk about

data viz tip May 03, 2023
A banner image with the text the data viz design decisions they don't talk about and a woman with short brown hair and glasses standing, facing the camera, and smiling.

Why do I talk about design and data viz?

You probably don’t think about it much, but when you create charts and graphs, you're actually making several design decisions.

You decide what data to show.

You decide what type of chart to use.

You decide whether or not to use color and what colors to use.

You decide how to label the axes and what to write in the title.

You might let the software you’re using make some of these decisions by using the default settings.

You might not even realize you’re making so many decisions.

Or maybe you find it exhausting to have so many things to figure out (I know I do).

This is where design comes in.

Knowing design principles for data viz makes creating charts and graphs easier.

You have guidelines to fall back on that are proven to help draw attention to the main point you’re trying to make with your data.

Design principles are based on how the human brain processes and organizes information.

By taking advantage of these automatic, rapid processing steps in the brain, you can create data viz that immediately provide key takeaways.

These principles also apply in any tool that you use to create data visualizations.

Design can be used to make good data viz regardless of whether you use Excel, Google Data Studio, R, Python, Tableau, Adobe, or some other tool to create your graphs and charts.

This is why I talk about design and data viz together, because knowing design principles means you'll always connect to your audience, create impactful data viz, and save time.

I've made some improvements to my online course, Data Viz Design Essentials, so if you want to save time, reduce your data viz decisions (freeing up your brain for more creative thinking), and immediately provide key ideas to your audience, join the course today.


This post originally appeared in my newsletter, the Studio Scoop. Want more stories and data viz tips like this? Subscribe below. 

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