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Like pie charts, column charts (figures 12

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Like pie charts, column charts (figures 12

Training Course for Indicator Management Service 19 20 May 2005

    Style guide proposal for graphs in EEA core set of indicators

This document contains a proposal for a guideline for graph construction in the EEA

    core set of indicators. This proposal should facilitate both people reading the graphics

    and graphic production in EEA products.

General remarks (applies to all graph)

    Data delivery: Graph and underpinning data should follow the guidelines in the

    paper: Instructions to Authors.

    Titles: The title should be as short and precise as possible and country names and

    years should be left out of the title. The title should be described in the Excel

    sheet, but outside the graph area. Titles inside the graph area will be

    removed in the publications and in the IMS uploading process anyway. (See

    figure 1)

    X- and Y axis: The y-axis explanation should be placed on the top of the axis in

    vertical direction. This is more readable instead of the Excel default horizontal

    placing. The x-axis explanation is not needed as long as it shows time series

    or country names. There is no reason to have unnecessary information in the

    picture. (See figure 1)

    Legend: Sometimes graphs are intuitive easy to read and you really don’t need a

    legend. In most cases however, a small legend without borders is convenient.

    Where it is possible the legend should be placed inside the graph. If the

    space is too tight, the legend should be placed below the graph (in one or two

    rows) or to the right of the graph. If the legend is placed to the left or on top of

    the graph the first thing the reader will see is the legend. The graph itself will

    then become secondary. (See figure 1)

    Background colors: All background colors should be white. It goes for the graph

    itself and the canvas behind the graph. In this way the graph is much more

    readable printed on a black and white printer. (See figure 1)

    Text: The text size in Excel-sheets is normally scalable and resizes every time the

    graph resizes. It would be preferable if the graph contains text sizes in three

    levels e.g. Arial bold (12) for titles, Arial (12) for axis description and Arial

    (11) for values on axis and for explanations. (See figure 1)

    Country names: The use of country names in graphs is preferred instead of the

    use of country codes. For the reader it can be difficult to detect a country

    code. For the right conversion from country codes to country names use this

    link to the ISO-organisation: http://www.iso.org/iso/en/prods-services/iso3166ma/02iso-3166-

    code-lists/list-en1.html. If there are many names on the X-axis it can be convenient

    to orientate the names horizontal, 45 or 90 degrees. (See figure 1 and 4)

    Style guide proposal Page 1 of 7

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    Training Course for Indicator Management Service 19 20 May 2005

Column charts and bar charts (figure 4 and 5) are applicable to grouped data.

    The correct use of column and bar charts is controlled by certain guidelines:

    ? They should be used for discrete, grouped data of ordinal or nominal scale.

    ? The column (vertical) chart should be used for data which have some

    natural sequence' in the categories, such as a time series or a series

    indicating ‘rank’:

    January February March

    1987 1988 1989

    0-10 11-20 21-30

    ? It is reasonable to use a logarithmic scale for the y-axis (count scale) if the

    range of values in the counts is greater than two orders of magnitude (e.g.

    0-200).

    ? The bar (horizontal) chart can be used but should be avoided.

    ? Avoid using values in the graph area.

     Total consumption of sugar in espressos Yes No between different phases Total consumption of sugar in expressos between phase 1 to phase 3 for ug N/l different employes

    Phase 1-5700Phase 6-10 Phase 11-15600ug N/lPhase 1-5500700654Phase 6-10 Phase 11-15600400

    500300432393379 4002003423213032933002591002352192132112071921791801711692000156 14714713012111499919082797672717110054504847363027Spain201714160France SIDKFIPLESSEPTDEBEBGFREEGRCZITFinlandSloveniaDenmark SwedenFigure 5. The title is a part of the graph and it Figure 4. The title is left out of the graph area Portugalmakes it difficult for the publishers. The data Greeceand the data has been ordered by the values is presented in a random way and the reader Belgiumin ‘Phase 1-5’. The graph is easy to read in Polandwill have to search for the highest and lowest this way and it gives a quick overview. The Bulgariavalues. The use of values in the picture Estoniacountry names are turned 45 degrees and Italyshould be avoided in this case and the use there are no legend borders. Both the canvas Germanyof country codes might confuse the readers. Czech Republicand the graph background are white.

Style guide proposal Page 4 of 7

    Training Course for Indicator Management Service 19 20 May 2005

Line charts (figure 6 and 7) are often used to present measurements on two (or more)

    variables. The values are a sample from a (presumed) continuous series, such

    as temperature, pressure etc. We may display several dependent variables on

    the same graph but avoid using the double axis graphs. It is difficult for a reader

    to get the immediate meaning.

    Average coffee consumption pr year Average coffee consumption pr year Yes No

    Peter (l / employe / y)180180 160160Greta 140140120 120100Slobodan100 80(l/employe/y)80604060Kim 204001990199519961997199819992000200120 PeterGretaSlobodanKim019901995199619971998199920002001

    Figure 6. The background color is white Figure 7. The Y-axis description is turned and the line color and thickness has 90 degrees and therefore difficult to read.

    been changed from the default Excel The dark background may cover for the

    settings. The white background and the lines printed on a black and white printer.

    thicker lines and the different types of The default Excel legend order differs from

    dots makes the graph more readable the graph order and may confuse the

    especially printed on a black and white reader. In this case the legend should be

    printer. placed below the graph. Style guide proposal Page 5 of 7

Training Course for Indicator Management Service 19 20 May 2005

Area charts (figure 8 and 9) are similar to line charts, but are used for continuous data

    where there is one (continuous) independent series, and several dependent

    series. The latter together have a constant sum, such as the proportions of

    exports from a country that fall into different categories.

     Final energy consumption by sector (EU25) Final energy consumption by sector (EU25) No Yes

    1200Million tonnes of oil equivalent11001000 1000Services,14.9%agriculture and 900800other sectors80025.5% Households600700600 40050028.3%Industry 400200300 20031.3%Transport0 100199519961997199819992000200120020 IndustryTransportHouseholdsServices, agriculture and other sectors19951996199719981999200020012002

     Figure 8. The choice of colors gives a Figure 9. The default Excel colors are natural flow and a good overview. The sometimes discussable. The reader will

     legend colors follow the graph colors and have to search for the color information

     it gives sense to place it to the right of and it might provide confusion for the

    reader. the graph.

References:

    European Environment Agency

    Presentation of Statistics A guide to Best Practice for Environment Agency

    Staff, 1998

    European Environment Agency stStyle Guide for graphs, 1 version 2005

    Instructions to Authors, 2005 scroll down and choose the link:

    Instructions to Authors at EEA Dataservice: http://dataservice.eea.eu.int/atlas/introduction.asp

Style guide proposal Page 6 of 7

Training Course for Indicator Management Service 19 20 May 2005

Style guide proposal Page 7 of 7

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