Queen's Learning Commons


Learning Commons

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Stage 12: Taking care of visual details (illustrations, tables, figures, graphics, etc.)

A picture is worth a thousand words but only if that picture is well chosen or carefully created, refers the reader to information they might receive less clearly in any other manner, and is integrated into the overall presentation. In other words, simply having a visual display is not sufficient to convey your message – thoughtful selection and design of visual displays is crucial to effective communication.

Step 1: Determine what information you want to emphasize.

Step 2: Decide whether this information is best expressed in text, a table, a figure, graph or illustration.

Step 4: Label your illustration, table or graph, taking care that the labelling is both clear and consistent.

  • Design Criteria
  • Cleveland, W. S. (1994). The elements of graphing data (Rev. ed.).Murray Hill, NJ: AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Step 5: Edit your visual display.

Step 6: Check the text associated with your visual display

  • Ensure that the visual information has been referenced and that the emphasis created by the visual display is consistent with the emphasis in the text