The Secret of Creating Beautiful Graphs

I always wondered how does one think when creating graphs, is it the user or just the task in-hand. Each graph shows data in a very distinctive manner. Although data is a very unorganised thing visualisations is definitely one of the ways to organise it.

Data visualisation is divided into 2 kinds of forms, 
1. live or dynamic data — This is normally used for graphs
2. Facts and figure of Data — This is also as we know Infographics etc..

Now how do we know what is the best way to create a graph, the answer is what task do you want the user to take because of this graph or visualisation. Like look at the car dashboard the fuel indicator is a good example, it only exists to help keep your fuel tank always full.

Fuel Indicator

Data in a dynamic form can come in interval/continuous format its important for us to know that because it determines the kind of the graph we can choose, see below for the examples.

Line grpagh

See above, It’s Continous as the run scored in a innings are all connected to the end score, so line graph

Bar Graph

This is an Interval Data, for Retail stores, both daily sales are a matter the most as they set daily targets, so using a bar graph makes more sense.

Coming back to the First kind the Dynamic Data, this comprises of Dashboard design. What are the few things you would need to remember?

  1. Always start with the decision you want the user to take.
  2. Understand the kind of data you have
  3. Maintain the consolidated view for it

4. Use Design Principles and Logic

When working on dashboards you can always take a repetitive approach, you see focusing on making the dashboard as minimal as possible is important. Here are a few tips 
1. Keeps things within a single eye view
2. Use Gestalt Principles
3. Don’t use legends, the pages are interactive
4. Avoid boxing your designs as it breaks the eye flow
5. Prioritise the task and layout your page
6. Content is more important than labels

Gestalts Principles (Quick — Look)

While building on it

2. Similarity
3. Enclosure
4. Symmetry
5. Closure
6. Continuity
7. Connection

The Data-ink ratio which was initially used to create graphs using a pen and paper is now revisited to data-pixel ratio, this helps us to simply understand how we can maintain the ratio between the Data-ink and the Non-Data ink. So what it says that the data-ink should always be more than the non-data ink.


Data-ink is all the numbers that help us create the graphs and the non-data-ink helps describe the data, what we also call labels, legends etc.

Left is Low on Data-ink and right is High on Data ink ratio

Thats all, if you liked this comment below, I will create more articles like this.