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Awhile back I wrote an article called Designing Charts — Principles Every Designer Should Know that many of you found helpful. Therefore, I’d like to expand on the topic of chart design a bit with a “Part 2” of the original article.

Like I mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been designing complex charts for well over a decade (here is some of my work on Dribbble). With that, I’ve ran into just about every problem one can run into when designing charts.

In this article I’m going to share some more principles I’ve followed over the years to design charts the right way. …

Let’s talk about charts. Any designer who has worked on a project that requires some kind of data visualization knows that it can be an extremely difficult (and rewarding) design challenge.

I’ve been designing complex, data-heavy web and mobile apps for the past 15 years so I work with charts on a daily basis (see what I mean on Dribbble). Therefore, I want to share some of the design principles I use to build aesthetically pleasing and functional charts that users love.

Use a familiar chart type

As a designer it can be a fun exercise to experiment with unique and strange chart types, such as a Streamgraph, but users shouldn’t have to learn how to read the chart you just invented. In most cases you should use one of the more common charts: area, bar/column, line, or pie/donut. …

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I recently made the jump from a full time design freelancer to opening Bync, a design studio where we design UIs for data heavy web and mobile apps. I started Bync in part for the same reason that I think most freelancers decide to open a studio, and that is to continue to satisfy an ever growing number of project requests. After all, if you’re getting more requests than you can do yourself, your only options are to either open a studio and hire more people or start declining projects.

I think this is a pivotal decision that every freelancer must make. Too many freelancers are afraid of turning down projects and end up rushing into opening a business and hiring people. A better option might be to simply raise your prices. It’s important to understand that having a design studio doesn’t necessarily mean more money, especially not in the beginning. …

I’ve been using Dribbble (see, check me out) since almost the beginning. It took me awhile to weasel my way into getting an invite so I could post my work (thanks Rich) but I remember trolling the early players way back when it first launched. Back in 2009 Dribbble was much more about UI and web design than illustrations. The tide has turned in the past couple of years and it’s much more heavy in illustrations. Take a look at the Popular Page at any given time and you’ll see what I mean. I don’t know what happened.

Nonetheless, Dribbble has had a huge influence on UI design since it’s inception, so I want to specifically talk about how UI design has evolved over the years as reflected on Dribbble shots. …


Ryan Bales

I specialize in designing SaaS and Data Visualization.

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