Graphics lies, misleading visuals: Reflections on the challenges and pitfalls of evidence-driven visual communication

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The past two decades have witnessed an increased awareness of the power of information visualization to bring attention to relevant issues and to inform audiences. However, the mirror image of that awareness, the study of how graphs, charts, maps, and diagrams can be used to deceive, has remained within the boundaries of academic circles in statistics, cartography, and computer science. Visual journalists and information graphics designers—who we will call evidence-driven visual communicators—have been mostly absent of this debate. This has led to disastrous results in many cases, as those professions are—even in an era of shrinking news media companies—the main intermediaries between the complexity of the world and citizens of democratic nations. This present essay explains the scope of the problem and proposes tweaks in educational programs to overcome it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Challenges for Data Design
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781447165965, 9781447165958
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science(all)

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