To Visualize Means to Place Information Into
Words don’t always paint the clearest picture. Raw data doesn’t ever tell the near compelling story.
The man heed is very receptive to visual information. That’s why information visualization is a powerful tool for communication.
But if “data visualization” sounds tricky and technical don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be.
This guide will explain the fundamentals of data visualization in a way that anyone can understand. Included are a ton of examples of different types of information visualizations and when to utilise them for your reports, presentations, marketing, and more than.
Table of Contents
- What is data visualization?
- What is data visualization used for?
- Types of data visualizations
- How to nowadays information visually (for businesses, marketers, nonprofits, and educational activity)
- Information visualization examples
Data visualization is used everywhere.
Businesses use data visualization for reporting, forecasting, and marketing.
Nonprofits apply data visualizations to put stories and faces to numbers.
Neb and Melinda Gates Foundation
Scholars and scientists use information visualization to illustrate concepts and reinforce their arguments.
Reporters use data visualization to testify trends and contextualize stories.
While data visualizations can brand your work more professional, they can also exist a lot of fun.
What is data visualization? A simple definition of data visualization:
Data visualization is the visual presentation of information or information. The goal of data visualization is to communicate data or data clearly and effectively to readers. Typically, information is visualized in the form of a
The field of data visualization combines both art and data science. While a data visualization can be creative and pleasing to look at, it should also be functional in its visual communication of the information.
What is data visualization used for?
Data, especially a lot of data, tin can be difficult to wrap your head around. Data visualization tin help both yous and your audience translate and sympathize data.
Data visualizations ofttimes apply elements of visual storytelling to communicate a message supported by the data.
There are many situations where you would desire to present data visually.
Data visualization can be used for:
- Making data engaging and easily digestible
- Identifying trends and outliers within a fix of information
- Telling a story establish inside the data
- Reinforcing an argument or opinion
- Highlighting the important parts of a gear up of data
Let’due south look at some examples for each use example.
1. Make information digestible and easy to understand
Often, a big set up of numbers tin can brand us go cross-eyed. Information technology can exist difficult to find the significance behind rows of data.
Information visualization allows us to frame the data differently by using illustrations, charts, descriptive text, and engaging design. Visualization too allows us to group and organize information based on categories and themes, which can make it easier to break down into understandable chunks.
Related: How to Use Data Visualization in Your Infographics
For example, this infographic breaks down the concept of neuroplasticity in an approachable way:
The same goes for complex, specialized concepts. It tin oft be hard to intermission downward the information in a manner that not-specialists will understand. But an infographic that organizes the data, with visuals, can demystify concepts for novice readers.
NEW! Introducing: Marketing Statistics Report 2022
It’s 2022 already. Marketers, are you still using information from pre-COVID times?
Don’t make decisions based on outdated data that no longer applies. Information technology’due south time you go along yourself informed of the latest marketing statistics and trends during the past ii years, and learn how COVID-19 has affected marketing efforts in different industries —
with this Costless marketing statistics report put together by Venngage and HubSpot.
The written report uses data gathered from over 100,000 customers of HubSpot CRM. In addition to that, you’ll also know about the trends in using visuals in content marketing and the impacts of the pandemic on visual content, from 200+ marketers all over the earth interviewed by Venngage.
Grab your copy at present — it’s non like whatever other marketing reports out in that location, plus it’s 100% free!
2. Identify trends and outliers
If you were to sift through raw data manually, it could accept ages to notice patterns, trends or outlying data. But past using information visualization tools like charts, you tin can sort through a lot of information quickly.
Even better, charts enable you to pick up on trends a lot quicker than you would sifting through numbers.
For case, hither’s a simple chart generated past Google Search Console that shows the change in Google searches for “toilet paper”. As you can see, in March 2020 there was a huge increase in searches for toilet paper:
How to Use SEO Data to Fuel Your Content Marketing Strategy in 2020
This chart shows an outlier in the full general trend for toilet paper-related Google searches. The reason for the outlier? The outbreak of COVID-19 in North America. With a simple data visualization, we’ve been able to highlight an outlier and hint at a story behind the information.
Uploading your data into charts, to create these kinds of visuals is easy. While working on your design in the editor, select a chart from the left panel. Open the chart and discover the green IMPORT button under the Data tab. Then upload the CSV file and your chart automatically visualizes the information.
3. Tell a story within the data
Numbers on their own don’t tend to evoke an emotional response. Just data visualization can tell a story that gives significance to the data.
Designers apply techniques similar
, illustrations, design
and visual cues to appeal to the emotions of readers, put faces to numbers, and introduce a narrative to the information.
Related: How to Tell a Story With Data (A Guide for Beginners)
For example, here’s an infographic created past World Vision. In the infographics, numbers are visualized using illustrations of cups. While comparing numbers might impress readers, reinforcing those numbers with illustrations helps to brand an even greater touch.
Meanwhile, this infographic uses data to draw attending to an frequently overlooked outcome:
Read More: The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Refugee Crunch
4. Reinforce an statement or stance
When it comes to convincing people your opinion is correct, they often accept to see it to believe it. An effective infographic or nautical chart can make your argument more robust and reinforce your creativity.
For example, you can use a
to compare sides of an argument, different theories, production/service options, pros and cons, and more than. Particularly if you’re blending data types.
five. Highlight an important bespeak in a set of data
Sometimes we use data visualizations to make it easier for readers to explore the data and come to their own conclusions. Simply oft, we use information visualizations to tell a story, make a particular argument, or encourage readers to come to a specific conclusion.
Designers use visual cues to direct the eye to unlike places on a page. Visual cues are shapes, symbols, and colors that point to a specific part of the information visualization, or that make a specific part stand out.
For example, in this data visualization, contrasting colors are used to emphasize the departure in the amount of waste sent to landfills versus recycled waste:
Here’s another example. This time, a cherry-red circle and an arrow are used to highlight points on the nautical chart where the numbers bear witness a drop:
Highlighting specific data points helps your information visualization tell a compelling story.
6. Make books, web log posts, reports and videos more engaging
At Venngage, nosotros apply data visualization to make our blog posts more engaging for readers. When nosotros write a blog mail service or share a post on social media, we similar to summarize key points from our content using infographics.
The added benefit of creating engaging visuals like infographics is that it has enabled our site to be featured in publications like
The Wall Street Periodical
The Huffington Post
That’south because data visualizations are different from a lot of other types of content people eat on a daily basis. They make your brain work. They combine concrete facts and numbers with impactful visual elements. They make complex concepts easier to grasp.
Here’s an example of an infographic we made that got a lot of media buzz:
Read the Web log Postal service:
Every Betrayal Ever in Game of Thrones
We created this infographic because a bunch of people on our team are big
Game of Thrones
fans and we wanted to create a visual that would help other fans follow the show. Because we approached a topic that a lot of people cared about in an original fashion, the infographic got picked upwards past a bunch of media sites.
Whether you’re a website looking to promote your content, a announcer looking for an original angle, or a creative building your portfolio, data visualizations can exist an effective way to get people’s attention.
Types of data visualizations
Data visualizations tin can come in many unlike forms. People are ever coming up with new and artistic means to present information visually.
By and large speaking, data visualizations usually fall under these principal categories:
An infographic is a collection of imagery, charts, and minimal text that gives an piece of cake-to-empathise overview of a topic.
While infographics can take many forms, they can typically be categorized past these infographic types:
- Statistical infographics
- Informational infographics
- Timeline infographics
- Process infographics
- Geographic infographics
- Comparing infographics
- Hierarchical infographics
- Listing infographics
- Resume infographics
Read More than:
What is an Infographic? Examples, Templates & Design Tips
In the simplest terms, a
is a graphical representation of data. Charts use visual symbols like line, bars, dots, slices, and icons to represent data points.
Some of the most mutual types of charts are:
- Bar graphs/charts
- Line charts
- Pie charts
- Bubble charts
- Stacked bar charts
- Word clouds
- Expanse charts
- Scatter plot charts
- Multi-series charts
The question that inevitably follows is: what type of chart should I utilize to visualize my data? Does it matter?
Short answer: yes, it matters. Choosing a type of nautical chart that doesn’t piece of work with your data can cease up misrepresenting and skewing your information.
For example: if you’ve been in the data viz biz for a while, then you may take heard some of the controversy surrounding pie charts. A rookie mistake that people often make is using a pie nautical chart when a bar chart would work better.
Pie charts display portions of a whole. A pie chart works when you lot desire to compare proportions that are essentially different. Like this:
But when your proportions are like, a pie chart can make it difficult to tell which piece is bigger than the other. That’due south why, in most other cases, a bar chart is a safer bet.
Here is a cheat canvass to aid you pick the correct type of chart for your data:
Desire to make meliorate charts? Brand engaging charts with Venngage’s Chart Maker.
How to Choose the Best Types of Charts For Your Information
Similar to a nautical chart, a
is a visual representation of information. Diagrams can be both two-dimensional and three-dimensional.
Some of the well-nigh mutual types of diagrams are:
- Listen maps
- Venn diagrams
- Tree diagrams
- SWOT analysis
- Fishbone diagrams
- Site maps
- Utilise case diagrams
Diagrams are used for mapping out processes, helping with decision making, identifying root causes, connecting ideas, and planning out projects.
Want to make a diagram? Create a Venn diagram and other visuals using our gratis Venn Diagram Maker.
A map is a visual representation of an area of land. Maps prove physical features of state like regions, landscapes, cities, roads, and bodies of water.
A common type of map y’all take probably come up across in your travels is a
. Choropleth maps utilise different shades and colors to indicate average quantities.
For case, a population density map uses varying shades to show the difference in population numbers from region to region:
Create your own map for costless with Venngage’s Map Maker.
How to present data visually (data visualization best practices)
While good data visualization will communicate data or data conspicuously and finer, bad data visualization volition do the opposite. Here are some practical tips for how businesses and organizations tin can utilize data visualization to communicate information more finer.
Non a designer? No problem. Venngage’due south Graph Maker volition assistance y’all create improve graphs in minutes.
1. Avoid distorting the information
This may be the about of import betoken in this whole blog postal service. While data visualizations are an opportunity to show off your creative pattern chops, function should never be sacrificed for fashion.
The chart styles, colors, shapes, and sizing you utilize all play a role in how the data is interpreted. If yous desire to nowadays your data accurately and ethically, and then you need to take care to ensure that your data visualization does not present the data falsely.
In that location are a number of different ways information tin can be distorted in a chart. Some mutual means information can be distorted are:
- Making the baselines something other than 0 to make numbers seem bigger or smaller than they are – this is called “truncating” a graph
- Compressing or expanding the calibration of the Y-axis to brand a line or bar seem bigger or smaller than it should be
- Cherry picking data so that only the data points y’all desire to include are on a graph (i.due east. only telling office of the story)
- Using the wrong type of chart, graph or diagram for your information
- Going against standard, expected data visualization conventions
Because people utilise information visualizations to reinforce their opinions, you should e’er read data visualizations with a critical eye. Frequently enough, writers may exist using data visualization to skew the data in a mode that supports their opinions, but that may not be entirely truthful.
5 Ways Writers Use Graphs To Mislead You
Desire to create an engaging line graph? Use Venngage’southward Line Graph Maker to create your ain in minutes.
2. Avoid cluttering up your design with “chartjunk”
When it comes to best practices for data visualization, we should turn to ane of the grandfather’s of data visualization: Edward Tufte. He coined the term “
”, which refers to the use of unnecessary or confusing design elements that skews or obscures the data in a chart.
Hither’s an example of a data visualization that suffers from chartjunk:
In this example, the image of the money is distracting for readers trying to interpret the information. Note how the fonts are tiny – about unreadable. Mistakes like this are mutual when a designers tries to put style before office.
Read More than
: The Worst Infographics of 2020 (With Lessons for 2021)
iii. Tell a story with your data
Data visualizations like infographics give yous the space to combine data and narrative structure in one page. Visuals like icons and bold fonts allow you highlight important statistics and facts.
For example, y’all could customize this information visualization infographic template to show the benefit of using your product or service (and mail service it on social media):
This data visualization relies heavily on text and icons to tell the story of its data:
This type of infographic is perfect for those who aren’t every bit comfortable with charts and graphs. It’southward also a great way to showcase original research, become social shares and build brand awareness.
4. Combine different types of data visualizations
While yous may choose to keep your information visualization simple, combining multiple types of charts and diagrams can assistance tell a more rounded story.
Don’t be afraid to combine charts,
and diagrams into i infographic. The result will be a data visualization infographic that is engaging and rich in visual data.
This data visualization infographic would be perfect for nonprofits to customize and include in an e-mail newsletter to increase awareness (and donations).
Or take this data visualization that also combines multiple types of charts, pictograms, and images to engage readers. It could work well in a presentation or study on client research, client service scores, quarterly performance and much more:
This infographic could work well in a presentation or study on customer research, customer service scores, quarterly operation and much more.
Make your own bar graph in minutes with our costless Bar Graph Maker.
5. Use icons to emphasize important points
are perfect for alluring the eye when scanning a page. (Call back: apply visual cues!)
If there are specific information points that you lot want readers to pay attending to, placing an icon abreast it volition make it more noticeable:
This infographic template would work well on social media to encourage shares and brand awareness.
You can besides pair icons with headers to indicate the starting time of a new section.
Meanwhile, this infographic uses icons similar bullet points to emphasize and illustrate important points.
This infographic would make a great sales piece to promote your course or other service.
vi. Use bold fonts to make text information engaging
A challenge people oftentimes face up when setting out to visualize information is knowing how much text to include. After all, the point of data visualization is that information technology presents information visually, rather than a folio of text.
Even if you take a lot of text information, you can even so create present data visually. Utilize bold, interesting fonts to brand your data exciting. Just brand sure that, above all else, your text is even so easy to read.
This data visualization uses dissimilar fonts for the headers and body text that are assuming only clear. This helps integrate the text into the design and emphasizes particular points:
Nonprofits could use this data visualization infographic in a newsletter or on social media to build awareness, but whatsoever concern could use it to explain the need for their product or service.
Equally a general rule of pollex, stick to no more than than three different font types in ane infographic.
This infographic uses ane font for headers, another font for body text, and a tertiary font for emphasis text.
How to Choose Fonts For Your Designs (With Examples)
Venngage has a library of fonts to choose from. If you can’t find the icon you’re looking for
, you tin always asking they be added. Our online editor has a chat box with 24/7 customer support.
7. Use colors strategically in your design
In design, colors are as functional as they are fashionable. You tin can apply colors to emphasize points, categorize information, testify movement or progression, and more than.
For example, this chart uses color to categorize information:
: This pie chart can actually be customized in many ways. Homo resources could provide a monthly update of people hired by department, nonprofits could bear witness a breakdown of how they spent donations and real estate agents could show the boilerplate price of homes sold by neighbourhood.
You lot can likewise use light colored text and icons on dark backgrounds to make them stand up out. Consider the mood that you desire to convey with your infographic and pick colors that will reflect that mood. You can as well apply contrasting colors from your
This infographic template uses a bold combination of pinks and purples to requite the information impact:
How to Selection Colors to Captivate Readers and Communicate Effectively
eight. Testify how parts make up a whole
It tin can be difficult to suspension a big topic downwards into smaller parts. Data visualization can make it a lot easier for people to conceptualize how parts brand upwardly a whole.
Using 1 focus visual, diagram or chart can convey parts of a whole more effectively than a text list can. Await at how this infographic neatly visualizes how marketers use blogging as part of their strategy:
Human resources could use this graphic to evidence the results of a company survey. Or consultants could promote their services past showing their success rates.
Or look at how this infographic template uses i focus visual to illustrate the nutritional makeup of a banana:
nine. Focus on i amazing statistic
If you are preparing a presentation, it’southward best not to try and cram too many visuals into one slide. Instead, focus on one awe-inspiring statistic and make that the focus of your slide.
Utilise one focus visual to requite the statistic fifty-fifty more touch. Smaller visuals like this are ideal for sharing on social media, like in this instance:
You tin can easily swap out the icon above (of Ontario, Canada) using Venngage’s elevate-and-drop online editor and its in-editor library of icons. Click on the template above to get started.
This template also focuses on one cardinal statistic and offers some supporting information in the bar on the side:
10. Optimize your data visualization for mobile
Circuitous, information-packed infographics are bang-up for spicing up reports, weblog posts, handouts, and more than. But they’re not always the best for mobile viewing.
To optimize your data visualization for mobile viewing, use one focus chart or icon and big, legible font. Y’all can
create a series of mobile-optimized infographics
to share multiple data points in a super original and attention-grabbing fashion.
For case, this infographic uses concise text and ane chart to cutting to the cadre message behind the data:
Some amazing data visualization examples
Here are some of the best information visualization examples I’ve come across in my years writing about information viz.
Evolution of Marketing Infographic
The Evolution of Marketing
Graphic Design Trends Infographic
8 Biggest Graphic Design Trends For 2020 & Beyond
Stop Shark Finning Nonprofit Infographic
Coronavirus Affect on Surroundings Data Visualization
The Coronavirus Pandemic’s Impact on the Environment
What Disney Characters Tell Us About Color Theory
Read More than:
What Disney Villains Tin Tell Us Nigh Color Psychology
World’s Deadliest Animal Infographic
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Clandestine Recipe For a Viral Creepypasta
Creepypasta Study: The Hole-and-corner Recipe For a Viral Horror Story
The Hero’southward Journey Infographic
What Your 6 Favorite Movies Have in Common
Emotional Self Care Guide Infographic
Want to expect at more astonishing information visualization? Read More:
50+ Infographic Ideas, Examples & Templates for 2020
(For Marketers, Nonprofits, Schools, Healthcare Workers, and more)
To Visualize Means to Place Information Into