Bigger is better: Maxing your axis


Last week we talked about enlarging fonts to make them more readable. This week we’re going to apply that same logic to your graph’s y-axis to ensure that any trends are easy to see. I swear this isn’t about my glasses prescription. I’m sure we’ve all made a graph in Excel where we selected our […]

Quantitative vs. Qualitative: A Study in Salmon


Broadly speaking, data comes in two flavors: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data includes numerical values (you know, like quantity). Qualitative data, on the other hand, is non-numerical – as in the quality of the information. Quantitative data is pretty straightforward. You’ve got numbers, you graph the numbers. Done and done. Qualitative data, on the other […]

Color Commentary


As the giving season approaches, your thoughts are probably turning to that frantic year-end push for donations. You know you want to show donors your impact, but that Excel color and style just isn’t cutting it – every graph looks out of place and off brand.

Anatomy of a Graph: Caught Up in Catch Shares


I’m going to take a slightly different approach in today’s post. Rather than preaching from on high (or at least doing that exclusively), I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my own graph process and show you how one of my best-received graphs came into being.

How to Fail – Fast!


Now there’s an enticing title. But before you wander off, consider this – when you start a graphing project, how often do you pull up Excel, Google Sheets, Tableau, or whatever graph-o-matic as your first step and just start clicking around? If you’re anything like me, that’s usually a recipe for disaster.