Monday, August 3, 2015

How to Create a Powerful, Persuasive Chart: KISS

Charts and graphs are among the most persuasive of the array of visuals you have available to you to bring your case home to jurors. As old-school as they may seem, well done charts/graphs can sometimes have more impact than hi-tech options.

Here’s a great example, created by the Prison Policy Organization.  

The chart explains itself. You hardly need any words to point out the higher USA incarceration rate. It’s a brilliant visual translation of a concept (“off the chart”).

What else is right with this chart?

- It only expresses one idea; the high USA incarceration rate.

- It is uncluttered; the bars and numbers tell the story, no need for icons.

- It follows the logical order people are used to; low numbers on the bottom to high numbers on the top.

- “Bold” font is used only for the title of the chart and the numbers, so people’s eyes are drawn to what is most relevant. They don’t have to figure out what’s the pertinent information, which happens most often when too many words/numbers are bolded.

- A single color is used for the bars, which highlights the importance of the longest bar. If different colors were used for the different countries, for example, the chart would lose some of its startling clarity.