3.8 Graphical integrity

  • Principles of graphical integrity (Tufte 2001, Chapter 2, 77)
    • The representation of numbers, as physically measured on the surface of the graphic itself, should be directly proportional to the numerical quantities represented.
    • Clear, detailed, and thorough labeling should be used to defeat graphical distortion and ambiguity. Write out explanations of the data on the graphic itself. Label important events in the data.
    • Show data variation, not design variation.
    • In time-series displays of money, deflated and standardized units of monetary measurement are nearly always better than nominal units.
    • The number of information-carrying (variable) dimensions depicted should not exceed the number of dimensions in the data.
    • Graphics must not quote data out of context.


Tufte, Edward R. 2001. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Vol. 2. Graphics press Cheshire, CT.