IN SOME WAYS, data visualization is a terrible term. It reduces the idea of good charts to a mechanical procedure. It evokes the tools and methodology required to create rather than the creation itself. It’s like calling Moby-Dick a “word sequentialization” or Starry Night a “pigment distribution.”

It also reflects an ongoing obsession in the dataviz world with process over outcomes. Even now, most of the energy poured into teaching dataviz focuses on making sure you do it the “right” way or judging you if you do it the “wrong” way; on picking the right form; on when to use what colors. Chart crit is all about technique, how the thing was built, what it looks like.

Enough of all that. Forget right charts and wrong charts. ...

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