This is the third installment of our chart “fix-it” series, where we take a slide that is either off message or in need of some help and then improve it.  Last week we improved a data-chart and the week before that we improved a conceptual chart that was off message. This is something that happens in our workshops, as well, as a way of synthesizing the various design. messaging and chart selection lessons from the day.

Today’s chart improvement is almost purely aesthetic.  Take a look at today’s before sample:



It’s not horrible by any stretch:  has clear white space, a well-worded message title at the top of the page, and a fairly clear hierarchy of titles.  But, it’s pretty basic and the colors used don’t mirror the visual tone set by the lovely logo on the lower right corner of the page.  In fact, the red clashes with the logo a bit.  A deeper look at the logo shows that it’s in dark grey, not black.  It’s also in a much cleaner font than the Microsoft default of Calibri.  Some opportunities to make the page more scannable and to have the content emphasis more visibly obvious have been missed out on.

So with that in mind, here is our version:

Slide7In this version, the red boxes have been converted to the pink of the logo.  The font has been switched to Helvetica Neue, which is a bit cleaner (the Microsoft derivative is Arial).  To mirror the logo, the font colors on the page have all been switched to dark grey.  Labels have been flipped to follow along the axes of the 2×2.  The text list of Indicators have been moved along the axes they are linked to, so we could take some text out of the longer subtitles.  To make the 2×2 more scannable and to get rid of the various lines, grey boxes with round corners (which mirror the softness of the logo), have been put in, with centered titles, and are shaded according to the value of the variables on the axes.  The double high being the darkest, the double low being the lightest and the factors being a mix of a high & a low being a medium grey.  Finally, the source note was shrunk and lined up with the top title, creating a cleaner grid on the page.  The final result:  a more sophisticated looking chart.

If you’ve got a chart you’d like improved for this series, email it to