I was in the Cabinet War Rooms a little while ago (the bunker where Churchill ran his WWII operations – for anyone not familiar). Something that struck me was the universal use of really clear, concise and well thought out charts, graphs and maps. Here’s a shot of one:
The key on this graph is only partial as it was covered on the graph next to it.
What I like about this graph is:
- Spare use of colour (faded red pencil is used to show another data set – that’s it)
- No clutter on the graph (gridlines, logos, patterns or tick marks)
- Easy to read at a glance
I suspect that some of the graph’s economy comes from being hand-drawn in ink. The less you put on the easier and the less likely you are to make mistakes.
It shows that good dashboard and graph design has been around for a long time, we may have just got a bit lazy using default Excel chart types and have forgotten how to do simple.