Two main principles for creating an impactful chart are:
1. Create a Descriptive Header
After deciding on the best chart form to use, create a header for your chart that reinforces your main message. The header will be in larger font and centered at the top.
2. Present a Clear Message
There are other ways to highlight your main message besides a clear header. You will want to keep in mind the viewer’s eyes go directly to the peaks, valleys, intersections, dominant colors, and outliers in a chart.
The tips below will help you emphasize your main message based on the chart format you have chosen.
Pie chart – The most important slice is in the upper right hand corner. You can even pull it out for further emphasis.
Bar chart – Use a different color for the bar that corresponds to your message.
Histogram – Insert an arrow to draw attention to a key finding.
Line chart – The most important line can be solid (rather than dotted) or shown in the brightest color
Area chart – The bottom layer should be the largest share of the graph and in the darkest color