Tips for [Basic Plan] iCharts Users

Just because you might choose the iCharts Basic Plan,  it doesn’t means your charts are subjected to an aesthetic handicap. While you may not be able to upload your own images (see Gold or Platinum), Basic still provides simple tools to create visually appealing charts. With iCharts, free version or not, you still have full control over key ingredients like spacing, font and color to have clean and visually balanced storytelling imagery.

SPACING

  • Perhaps one of most easily overlooked Basic tools is spacing. Poor spacing decisions within charts can be one of the biggest distractions when someone is looking at it. As you begin, mentally plot out where your chart title, text box and chart area will be placed. Also map out an imaginary margin around the entire chart page that will designate where content cannot be placed. Think of it like a fresh document you’re working on with equal margins on all four sides.
  • When you fine-tune the relative positioning of the text boxes, chart titles and the chart area, ensure that the white space between them is equal.

Example:

FONTS

  • Mix and match fonts wisely. Mixing and matching fonts is a subtle way to give a sense of organization to the eye. One font style can set the main points, for example, while another font style can set the supporting points.
  • There are general rules of thumb regarding how many fonts can be used in harmony with one another in the graphic design world, but since you are working in a relatively small space within a chart, I suggest only working with two at a time. Sans serif fonts work wonderfully set against serif fonts, and vice versa. Within iCharts, Georgia and Arial or Georgia and Helvetica are the most balanced combinations.
  • And at the risk of stating the obvious, bold and italic font formatting decisions are extremely useful tools for you to draw attention to specific points, especially when they are used in tandem with color choices that echo a relationship with the chart colors (more on this in the color section below).

Example:

Chart showing increase in social media referrals

COLOR

Use color to highlight the take-aways of your chart.

  • If there is a single category or multiple categories that you want to call attention to, use a bolder, brighter color to illuminate them from the stack
  • And if you’d like to expand on the categories you’ve singled out, use the same color to emphasize your points within the text – this is a quick, and simple way to make relationships between data and analysis.

Example:

[ichart url=”http://accounts.icharts.net/portal/app?service=external&sp=SM3rTzilB&pag…“]

So, fear not. If you have a free [Basic] account, you still have an awesome set of tools within your grasp that will take charting from dull stat sharing to creative works of art.