How Cutting Edge Can Your Charts Go?

Here’s graphical output I came across via Visual Capitalist. Canadians posting zeitgeist numbers as pics. Aiming to publish ‘data-driven storytelling powerful visuals’.

As I’ve written before, unusual chart styles can bring the pleasant impact of lingering longer in the audience memory. Especially where a gradual reveal allows them to feel they’ve genuinely learned something.

The above specimen may on occasion serve such purpose.

A kind of Voronoi diagram inside a piechart framing.

Yet as good as this example may look, it feels a disaster.

What is its point?

This is pretty much their first sentence;

The first and most obvious insight from our visual is just how big the U.S. economy is compared to the rest of the world.

How obvious is it? Whilst it does feel larger for sure, it is more in the centre than any other which may be close, has starker outline shape and is in the most eye-catching colour.

Worse still perhaps, is that this imagery, based on 2019 figures, has no comparative framing. It is deliberately a snapshot. Given that the top two would have both seen growth that year, what chance some way of showing such change? Either of an inner border for 2018 boundary or a shading for 2019 increase may work. But might detract too from overall cleanliness though. And comparing last year with this doesn’t really cut it.

At least the above tweet handily gives you the top ten listed. Not that you’d deduce them from the pic…

I also screamed at seeing that golden ‘rest of the world’ part. So you can’t even do a continental assessment, then.

Mixing up your charts is a tactic I heartily recommend. Whilst this type of treatment is beyond our busy selling schedules to utilise, when it comes to others just make sure the value of what you want the data to say clearly hits home.

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