Illustrating ideas takes some practice but you can build experience by diagraming simple things. One of my favorite visualization authors is Nathan Yau who writes the Flowing Data blog
. I’ve been a fan of his work for over ten years and Nathan has great skill in data analysis, but is focused on the big ideas of data visualization. I enjoy his non-quantitative work as much as his quantitative work because he gets at the ideas. One of his best pieces of work happened recently as he wanted to provide diagrams of hope for these troubled times.
By taking classic works and turning them into simple illustrations, he was able to carry the power of the original work in a highly simplified form. For him it was a return to some of his early blog posts when he did the same thing with movies
and hit songs
. It was reminiscent of his illustrations of moves and song lyrics
So many of the discussions of data analysis are focused on the numbers. I certainly fit that description as do many of the people I work with. It is good to remember that not all visual ideas portray numbers.