Clip Art #TBT - Moving Beyond Generic Graphs

Clip Art, A Memoir

Molly Geoghegan, Narrative Strategist

Molly Geoghegan

Aug 25, 2016

Public Service Announcement RE: Clip Art Graphs

We get it. It—™s a presentation staple—”no, a necessity—”to include a graphic representation of some kind of data in a sales deck.

After all, you have to prove exactly why what you—™re talking about matters. And what better way to convince a fellow human brain than with cold, hard numbers? However, the teensy tiny problem remaining is that a graph of the clip art variety hardly ever includes numbers, much less a realistic perspective of scale.


A graph, by dictionary definition, is —œa diagram showing the relation between variable quantities, typically of two variables.—

Quantities. Variables. Cold, hard numbers.

So if neither the X or Y axis is labelled, what exactly are these charts conveying? And don—™t get us started on the oh-so-futuristic 3D views of block graphs. This was a dark time for design, indeed.

Where is this guy even going? Oh yeah, up. *eye roll*

Here—™s a fact for you: a graph with columns moving steadily upwards doesn—™t necessarily connote a good thing. And just because every color on the color wheel is represented, doesn—™t mean it compliments your brand palette.


The year is 2016 and GhostRanch believes that we can improve. There are data designers who can help you create valuable representations of your statistics, no matter how abstract. Your research deserves better than this cross-eyed alien accompanying a slide. 

Much like these graphs—™ X-axis, we can only go up from here.

And with that, we—™re stepping off the soap box.

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About The Author

Molly Geoghegan, Narrative Strategist

Molly Geoghegan is a writer, organizer, and film school dropout. She hikes frequently with her dog, Guinness, and signs up for too many email newsletters. Having lived in Chicago, Paris, Dublin and Galway, Molly has made her way back to the Rockies and calls Denver, CO home.

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