The art of contaminating data

June 5, 2017

(This article was originally published at Junk Charts, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)


This is one of those innocent-looking charts that could have been a poster child for artistic embellishment. The straightforward time-series chart is deemed too boring. The designer shows admirable constraint in inserting “information-free” content, such as the dense gridlines (graph paper) and the 3D effect (ticker).

Seem harmless but not really.

Here I turn off the color.


After the 3D effect is applied, the reader no longer knows whether to look at the top or bottom edge of the ticker.

This view makes this point even clearer.


The art contaminates the data.

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