A data visualization is not a piece of art meant to be looked at only
for its aesthetically pleasing features. Instead, its purpose is to
convey information and make a point. To reliably achieve this goal when
preparing visualizations, we have to place the data into context and
provide accompanying titles, captions, and other annotations. In this
chapter, I will discuss how to properly title and label figures. I will
also discuss how to present data in table form.
Figure Titles and Captions
One critical component of every figure is the title. Every figure
needs a title. The job of the title is to accurately convey to the
reader what the figure is about, what point it makes. However, the
figure title may not necessarily appear where you were expecting to see
it. Consider Figure 22-1. Its title is
“Corruption and human development: the most developed countries
experience the least corruption.” This title is not shown above the
figure. Instead, the title is provided as the first part of the
caption block, underneath the figure display. This is the style I am
using throughout this book. I consistently show figures without
integrated titles and with separate captions. (An exception are the
stylized plot examples in Chapter 5,
which instead have titles and no captions.)
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