or, "What's the big deal? It's only a pie chart!
is simplified for reduced-size display here. Actual charts would
have more descriptive labels and visible statistical data.)
that numerical memory is limited? Ever forgotten a numerical password,
telephone number or a zip code? We are bombarded with so much
data every day that our minds simply can't recall it all on demand.
That's why marketers introduced phone numbers like 1-555-CALL-MOM
and courses like Dale Carnegie spend time teaching students to
create memorable combinations of images to help them recall names
The art of creating effective charts and graphs is far more complex
than simply understanding how to make the charting features of your
spreadsheet or graphics program "work." One
key facet of the instructional design process is the understanding
of the subtle psychology of color, of placement, and of presentation.
primary reason presenters use charts and graphs is to render complex
or abstract data more understandable and memorable. This is particularly
important when you are working with statistical data, as most people
have very limited numerical memory. **
charts can work against you, by obscuring rather than reinforcing
Simple Chart Re-Design
chart at left was created to show the relative makeup of a majority
coalition, but the prominent positioning of the minority data
(pale yellow in the original, black in the final version) delivered
a confusing message.
pastels appeared hesitant and unsure--"washed out."
At a distance, the fine lines and text were difficult to see,
original similarity in color between 2 of the slices implied other
(inaccurate, inappropriate) similarities in the data they represented
choosing bolder, high-contrast colors and by re-positioning the
chart, we've shifted the focus to the information most important
to presenter and viewer.
Questions About Color Choices
the demographics or econographics of the intended audience factors
in chart design?
the majority of your viewers are male, would you color the
most important data point in your chart red, blue, or green?
that choice change if the intended audience is predominantly
there "best" and "safest" colors? Are there
color matter if you are delivering a positive, negative, or neutral
color matter if you are trying to inspire trust, educate, or intimidate
KPD, we not only employ our understanding of the science
of color and vision for our clients, we teach them how
to use color and imagery effectively, too!
INSIGHT BY DESIGN workshops, we discuss these topics and
use of jargon, language and gestures, understanding audience
personality archetypes, and many other topics. While the
basic principles of business communication are universal,
the each workshop is customized to the needs of the client.
HERE to schedule an INSIGHT BY DESIGN seminar for
your business or organization