Small Handbook of Information Design: 16 Principles for Better Data Visualizations
Posted December 15, 2013
Small Handbook of Information Design
I made this booklet of data visualization principles for my Information Design students at San Francisco State University.
You can view the booklet online here: Handbook online version and downloads. For reprints of the booklet, at the same link you can download "print-ready" PDF files for either booklet or "folded-map" format.
Every graphic is an ad hoc construction, therefore these rules can be broken depending on the context. However you should try to do the graphic by following these rules first and break them later if necessary.
The list of principles is below:
01 Use pencil and paper
02 Content is first
03 Do not draw graphs by hand
04 Do not enlarge numbers
05 Use words, not just images
06 Use small multiples
07 Do not bungle the meaning
08 Do not create op-art
09 Do not use little dots for numbers
10 Do not use colors (to be memorized)
11 Sort by value, not category
12 Equally space time intervals in timelines
13 Avoid meaningless concept maps
14 You can use small type
15 Do not screen type
16 Psychology of perception