T-61.271 Visualization project description
25. Horrible visualizations

Autumn 2004

Read the project description carefully. Questions and comments can be sent to

General information

The purpose of the project work is to get hands on experience and deeper understanding on one specific area of the course. At the same time you will be forced to think on some of the more general issues that are confronted every time a visualization method is developed or used.

To complete the project you will probably need information that has not been discussed on the lectures or in the exercises. Most of the time relevant information can be easily found on the web, course books or in some cases references to articles will be given. If you have problems finding information on the subject please contact the lecturer or the assistant for hints and guidance.

The project work will be valid for one year after the original deadline.

General requirements

specific requirements

The goal of this project is to demonstrate the difference between good and bad visualizations.

Tufte gives several rules on graphical design. To achieve the goal a set of pairs of images should be created. The first image in a pair should show the data in a way that breaks as many of Tuftes rules, as spectacularly as possible. The second image should show the same data, but now as many of Tuftes rules should be followed as possible.

You should at least create as many image pairs that you manage to break and correct the following rules. (You can break several rules in the same pair).

  1. Lie factor

  2. Data-ink ratio

  3. Chartjunk

  4. Multifunctioning graphical elements

  5. Data density and small multiples

You may also collect some examples of misleading visualizations from the Finnish media and analyze them.

Submitting the project work

The project work should be submitted by email to:


Tapani Raiko 2004-12-21