1 July 2009 • 7:00 am

Divorce Rates, Voting Patterns, and Graphic Design

A Facebook post from an old friend over the weekend reminded me of the immense power of graphics to convey information. Most of those reading this are likely to use PowerPoint or other presentation software regularly; it has become a basic tool of communication in organizations everywhere. I am convinced of a universal truth; we can all stand to improve the way we communicate graphically.

But few of us have the benefit of formal training in art and design, and many rely on default settings in such programs as Excel and PowerPoint to determine how our charts and graphs appear. We simply think far less about the grammar and construction of our data than we do about our words.