the visual displays I use most

As part of a project I'm currently working on, I recently went through all the visuals I've created in the past year - for workshops, this blog, and consulting work - and categorized them. Out of the 200+ visuals that I created, there were only a dozen different types of visuals that I used (and just 7 that, together, account for more than 90% of the total visuals I created).

I thought it might be useful to share the stats with you, along with some related blog posts (some of the posts linked below focus directly on the given type of visual display, while others simply show an example of their use).

the visual displays I use most
with % of total displays created in the past year

  1. Horizontal bar graph - 27%
  2. Line graph - 16%
  3. Horizontal stacked bar graph - 14%
  4. Vertical bar graph - 10%
  5. Simple text - 8%
  6. Vertical stacked bar graph - 8%
  7. Slopegraph - 8%
  8. Heatmap* - 3%
  9. Square area graph - 2%
  10. Waterfall chart - 2%
  11. Scatterplot - 1%
  12. Table - 1%

*I seem to be lacking posts with examples of these types of visuals: I'll add over time and link here once the posts are live.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of types of visual displays of information. But in my experience, just a handful of different types of visuals will meet the majority of your everyday storytelling with data needs.