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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

7 graphic design principles for charting

When charts are designed well they are a powerful inclusion to your pitch. Charts give data meaning and without data, your pitch is just your opinion. If a chart is poorly designed it can cause more confusion than clarity or distract the user from your message entirely.

When designing and including charts in your pitch deck here are 7 graphic design principles I always stick to.

1) Clear without context – The message or meaning of the chart should be clear with little to no other context provided. If your chart needs explaining then it needs to be simplified or redesigned.

2) Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) – Your chart should always be MECE. MECE is a framework to simplify the representation of complex ideas.

3) Pyramid logic – The chart should start with the answer or key insight and then show the supporting elements.

4) Common Graphical Groupings – Groupings of objects in 3, 4, 6 or 8 are much more appealing than 5, 7 or 9.

5) Keep structures small – Limit the use of structures of 10 or more elements. If you need to use them keep them to appealing groupings.

6) Maximum 3 levels of depth – Stick to only 1 or 2 levels of depth in your charts. Anything more is too complex.

7) Maintain spacial design – The most key insights on your chart should be the most visible. We don’t read from left to right but are drawn to the objects with the most prevalence.

The design of the charts in your pitch deck is important. Following the 7 graphic design principles listed above will ensure that your charts convey the key insights you need them to.


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