The Glamour of Graphics

I see a lot of ugly charts. This is to be expected as I work with a lot of academics and data scientists, neither of whom have been trained in how to design attractive charts.

The Glamour of Graphics

January 30, 2020

I see a lot of ugly charts. This is to be expected as I work with a lot of academics and data scientists, neither of whom have been trained in how to design attractive charts. I myself produced many ugly charts during my years as a research scientist, when the design process basically came down to random tweaking until things "looked good". If only I could go back and tell young inexperienced me that there was a better way. In this talk, I will present that better way--a series of design principles that can take any chart from drab to fab. Rather than applying these techniques willy nilly, I will show how they form a layered "Glamour of Graphics" that is structured and can be easily applied to any chart. This Glamour of Graphics has some simple implementations in ggplot, where we will replace geoms, aesthetics, and scales with typography, color, and layout. Finally, I will discuss why looks matter when it comes to charts, and how by following the Glamour of Graphics you can design charts that are more persuasive and more accurately perceived.

About the speaker

William Chase

I'm a data analyst at the University of Pennsylvania where I specialize in data visualization. In my day job I use R every day to prepare figures for grant proposals and scientific papers. In my free time I do freelance data visualization, make generative art with R, and maintain and active blog (williamrchase.com). I also love to give presentations and teach R. I've given workshops and talks about R and data visualization at places like the PSU Anthropology department, PSU useR group, and Philly dataviz meetup.