3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 19, 2009 3:02 PM by Wade_Zimmerman

    Chart / Graph Expertise Needed Please

    maf79 Level 1

      I have a few chart questions. I posted on one of the other adobe design forum's (which I fully admit is where it should probably be) but it appears to be an inactive forum so since this has to do with making charts in Illustrator, I'm copying and pasting it here. But first I have another question, still about making charts. I would appreciate some expertise.

       

      Question 1:

      As you'll see in question 2, I can make a basic chart but I'm want to spice up charts.  I only make charts for one project a year. This year the project is a little different and I want them to stand out more than normal. There are different types of data combined and I want to ensure that I'm using the right chart. Does anyone have a good resources (maybe even with examples) showing what types of charts to use when?

       

      For example, a percentage of change for 3 variables over 5 years. Would this be a line chart or a bar chart? The person who gave me the data in excel did a quick excel line graph, but I'm leaning toward a vertical bar chart.

       

      I know this is not Illustrator-specific (but I am using Illustrator). I would appreciate help if anyone can offer some quick assistance. Thanks!

       

       

      Question 2: (copy and pasted from other forum)

      I can make a basic Illustrator chart/graph....definitely not a chart pro.  What I would like to do is spice it up! I've done massive googling.

       

      Does anyone know of any great websites that offer really good tips on spicing up charts (all types of charts preferably)? Also, probably like most of you, I am a visual person. Do you know of a "chart database" for lack of a better way of explaining it, where you can view lots of great charts for inspiration.  (note: since posting this I have found a couple truly great sites...one on flickr called "infographics", but would love to see more.)

       

      Another thing I'm looking for are use of multiple data and overlay different charts within one chart (if that makes any sense). Here are a couple examples, but I was wondering if you knew of any others (more like the one on the right so I can actually see what kind of data they used). (note: I am still lacking quality examples of charts like this)

      THANKS!

       

      http://www.componentone.com/newimages/Products/ScreenShots/StudioASPNET/C1WebChart/C1WebChart_MultipleChartTypes_lg.gif http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/ocw-chart-lrg.jpg

        • 1. Re: Chart / Graph Expertise Needed Please
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Read Prof. Edward Tufte's books, and you shall know all you need to.

           

          RE: Question 1:

           

          Scatter plot or bar chart, never a line chart. Your data density is way to low to have any releavance with regards to temporal or other multi-dimensional relations.

           

          RE: Question 2:

           

          Refrain from "spicing up". It's bad data graphics design. Any info that is not in the data, cannot be artificially introduced by adding fancy graphical elements. Either the values speak for themselves or they don't. Likewise, it is prohibitive to mix different data series that share no causal relation or do not have the same density. Both your examples are "bad" diagrams which would get shredded on Junk Charts and similar websites.

           

          All of that and much more is explained in the books (or the man himself in his lectures), so I once more recommend you do some reading.

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Chart / Graph Expertise Needed Please
            maf79 Level 1

            Thanks for your input. Re-reading my original post, admittedly it sounds like I'm wanting to put sparkles and stars all over my charts. Not the case at all.

            Refrain from "spicing up". It's bad data graphics design. Any info that is not in the data, cannot be artificially introduced by adding fancy graphical elements.

            When I say "spice up my charts," I'm not wanting to distort data or make it hard to understand and I'm not necessarily wanting to add graphic elements. I'm simply wanting to see examples for charts and infographics that others have done as the publication I'm working on has 50+ charts on about 16 pages. I was hoping to get some inspiration so I could make it a little less overwhelming (for the reader) with charts as this year's version is different from past year's -- same number of charts, but different types of charts. Perhaps "spicing up" was not the best way to explain.

            Either the values speak for themselves or they don't. Likewise, it is prohibitive to mix different data series that share no causal relation or do not have the same density.

             

            The data we are using for this specific type of chart is very much related.

             

            I'm simply wanting to see other people's work so I can see what type of data they used and for inspiration for infographics.

             

            Thanks!

            • 3. Re: Chart / Graph Expertise Needed Please
              Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

              It would be nice if Illustrator address the issue that Illustrator is an Illustration tool and it is often easy for the public to relate to chats and graphs
              when they see elements that are recognizable as opposed to spikes and low points.

               

              If it had its own 3D controls that would be helpful too but this how you can currently add art to the charts and keep them as live data.

               

              http://mysite.verizon.net/wzphoto/Graph.mov