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International Chart Day 2018

Posted by Barbara Fordyce on

Although charts have long been used to convey information, April 26, 2018 is the first time International Chart Day was officially recognized.  It is believed that the first "chart" was created in the 1700's by William Playfair, a Scottish inventor and engineer.  Prior to that, words and images were two distinct ways of communicating that rarely converged.

Representative Mark Takano, Tumblr, and the Society for News Design teamed up to bring some attention to the humble chart by promoting a resolution in congress establishing the official recognition for International Chart Day.  The goal of International Chart Day is to assist the public in becoming better consumers of data, information and news.  Good charts, organizers believe, help the public understand complex topics, and help combat fake news.

Charts and Maps Work Together

Also known as Infographics, charts are an important tool for making complex information easier to understand.  And in a world awash in information, charts are becoming more and more appreciated for their ability to simplify complex information, and convey in a way that is simpler to comprehend.

Maps are often an integral part of an infographic, helping readers appreciate  information that is geographically oriented.

Great Communication Examples on Display

Organizers of Chart Day sponsored a contest for showcasing attractive, effective charts. You can see some of the winners here, along with a brief summary of the purpose of the chart.  Judges also provide some helpful insight into important aspects of the winning chart.

Many of the winning charts contain maps. In some cases, the map is the major component of the graphic.  In others, the maps are used as supplementary graphic elements, albeit with useful context.

For example, in the European City Travel piece, the maps are not part of the nuts & bolts data (eg. travel costs, weather).  However, each map illustrates a key element of the city center, usually a river or island, and helps create the image of for potential visitors.

Maps are also used in charts offering transit routes in Austin, TX, and in a hexagram graphic that displays comparative income data for US states.

Tumblr asked users to post their own charts, which you can see on Tumblr.  Less professional, perhaps, but creative and interesting to look at.

See more at Make A Chart.


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