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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Molina

Data Visualization Design Principles

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Getting data and analyzing it isn’t enough. You have to communicate your findings effectively and quickly to get the most out of your data. Here, I want to share some of the design principles I have in mind while creating charts and graphs.


  1. Our brains assume things are when they are in proximity, similar (color, shape, or size), enclosed, and connected to each other.

  2. Use color strategically.

  3. Consider cultural preferences (e.g., alignment & color)

  4. Keep it scannable (and maintain empty space)

  5. Remove the unnecessary visual elements

  6. Focus the audience's attention on the point using color, size, etc.

Ultimately data visualization can feel more like an art, but by following some of those principles you can make it easier for your audience to quickly make sense of your charts. This makes it easier for them to move on to decision-making and taking action.

I learned a lot of what I know about data visualization from Stephanie Evergreen and Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic. To start, I recommend you check out their books.


  1. Evergreen, S. D. (2019). Effective data visualization: The right chart for the right data. SAGE publications.

  2. Knaflic, C. N. (2015). Storytelling with data: A data visualization guide for business professionals. John Wiley & Sons.

Check out the other video I made about reporting data effectively:

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