Amy Balliett reviews possible solutions for the challenge, sharing visually pleasing and informative ways to enhance charts and graphs in Adobe Illustrator. She demonstrates how one of the examples was accomplished.
- [Instructor] Now that you've spent some time improving your charts and graphs, let's take a look at what I did. As you'll see, I added colors, highlights, changed the fonts for labels, and I changed the grid lines in some places. Now let me walk you through how I did one of these from beginning to end. I'm going to go ahead and show you how I did the line graph since that's an example I haven't shown from previous movies. I've put the original line graph off of the art board.
I'm going to take the redesigned line graph, move that off the art board and replace it instead with the original one, so I can show you how I started from end to end. The first step you need to take, is again, make sure everything is properly ungrouped. I'm going to ungroup the axes, and sometimes you have to do it twice, because sometimes the hash marks are linked directly to the y-axis line or the x-axis line.
So that's why you have to ungroup them twice. Now that I've done that, I'm going to create my grid lines, similar to how I've shown you in a previous movie. You don't always have to create a grid with both axis lines, but I like to do that. Sometimes though, you might decide to do just horizontal lines or just vertical lines. I definitely don't want to stop here, because all of the lines are competing with each other.
It's important to have a grid in the background of a line graph, but you want to make sure that that grid is very minimal so that it's not distracting. So I'm going to do a couple of things. First, I'm going to bring the line width down to about 0.5. Next I'm going to make it dashed. It's already set at two points from a previous video, and two points is about the size I want it to be. Finally, I think it's going to be important to change the color of this as well. So I'm going to change the grid line to a light gray.
I always prefer a light gray grid line or another light color. It provides depth, while still allowing visibility for the data at the forefront. The next thing I want to do is change the font of my labels. I'm going to change the fonts to one of my favorites, which is DIN. Now this feels a little overwhelming though, so I'm going to make the font size smaller. It's important that your labels are legible, but they shouldn't compete with the overall data visualization.
So that's why I like to make them small and off to the side. The next thing you'll see, if I zoom in, is that the bottom grid line actually is laid over the x-axis line. To fix this, I'm going to ungroup the grid lines, and then I'm going to delete the bottom grid line. But I don't like the hard lines for the y and the x-axis. So by selecting them both and then using the eyedropper tool, I'm able to make them match the rest of the grid lines and keep everything clean.
Another thing I want to change are these boxes. The reason I want to change the boxes as data points is because they feel a little novice. They're very canned. By changing these from squares to circles, I'm able to elevate the design a little bit. To do this, I'm going to first select all the squares. Now they're still grouped together so I'm able to select them all at once and then I'm going to delete them The next thing I'm going to do is grab the circle tool. And I'm going to create, holding down the shift key, a small circle.
When you hold down the shift key while creating a shape, it allows the shape to stay in perfect proportion, and that's really important with circles. Now that I have the circle, I want it to be a different color. I'm going to eyedropper the pink from a different graph. As you can see, now the circle is pink. The next step is simply to replace all of those boxes with circles. Let me zoom in while I do this. When circles are this small, it's very important to make sure that they intersect perfectly with the line intersections.
So I have the center of the circle lined up perfectly where the intersection happens with the line. Also it's important to note that as I'm making these, I'm holding down the option key, clicking, and dragging. That creates a replica of the original circle and allows me to put it wherever I want. And finally we have this tip that needs a circle as well.
There's only one more thing to make this work and that's changing the color of the line. There are a couple of ways you can do this. One is to eyedropper another similar line. For instance, maybe you have another line graph you've already created, like the one I have off the art board. If I use the eyedropper and I click on the line while having this selected, you'll see that the lines change. But what if you haven't done that yet? What if you haven't created another line of that color? Well another way you can do it, is simply select it, use the eyedropper, and eyedropper one of your circles.
Once you've done that, over on the left, you can simply transpose the colors, by clicking this multiple arrow button. As you can see, now I have a perfect line graph. There are many ways to dress up your own charts and graphs. I just provided a few. Hopefully you'll be able to dissect this challenge and find ways you can improve your future charts and graphs for new data visualizations.
To succeed in design and marketing today, one must know how to interpret and properly visualize data. This course, developed and led by Killer Infographics CEO, Amy Balliett, walks you through the ins and outs of creating accurate and compelling data visualizations. Amy focuses on best practices, not tools, although she does provide an overview of Illustrator graphing features. Using these tips, you'll learn how to stand out from the crowd and create charts and graphs that combine precision with visual appeal.
- What charts and graphs work best for different types of data
- Putting data into visual and textual context to ensure it is accurate
- Visualizing data that doesn't lend itself to imagery
- Adding visual appeal without sacrificing accuracy
- Using the Adobe Illustrator graphing tools
- Avoiding common data viz mistakes